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Diabetes Management: Management of Low Blood Glucose (Hypoglycemia)

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What is Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycaemia is known as "low blood glucose (sugar)" and occurs when your blood glucose level is less than 4mmol/L.

What Causes Hypoglycemia?

  • Poor appetite
  • Skipping or delaying a meal
  • Doing more intense activities than usual
  • Taking wrong doses of diabetic medications
  • Drinking excessive alcohol
  • Worsening kidney or liver function

What are the Symptoms of Hypoglycemia?

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Everyone may experience different symptoms. Therefore , it is important to understand your body and do a blood glucose check when you have symptoms or feel unwell.

When you have hypoglycemia symptoms, it is important to take note of:

  • Glucose readings
  • Frequency of symptoms
  • Time of day

What to do when You have Hypoglycemia?

Step 1: Check your blood glucose level

  • Check your blood glucose immediately if you experience symptoms of low blood glucose or feeling unwell

Step 2: If it is less than 4mmol/L, take one of the following immediately

  • Chew 3 to 4 sweets/ glucose tablets or

  • Take 2 to 4 teaspoons of sugar/ glucose/ honey or

  • Drink half a glass of juice/ regular soft drinks

Step 3: Re-check your blood glucose level after 15 minutes

  • If your blood glucose level is less than 4mmol/L, REPEAT STEP 2.

  • Otherwise, proceed to step 4.

Step 4: Have a meal

  • Have your breakfast / lunch / dinner if it is due

  • If you next meal is more than 1 hour away, take 1 slice of bread or 3 pieces of biscuit with cheese.

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Avoid the Following Foods

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(Sugary foods - cakes, donuts, ice cream, Milo, cupcakes)

What is Severe Hypoglycemia?

Severe hypoglycemia happens when blood glucose levels are so low that it requires assistance from another person to treat. It is a diabetic emergency and if not treated immediately, can cause you to faint or go into a fit. In serious cases, it leads to coma or death.

What Should Others do if You Faint or Become Unconscious

  • Your family members, friends or colleagues should be aware of the 4 steps on hypoglycemia treatment.

  • Do a glucose check (if possible).

  • Call an ambulance immediately.

  • Do not feed you any food or liquid if you are unconscious.

  • Apply sweet syrup or honey on the insides of your cheeks and gums. Continue applying till you regain consciousness.

  • Give you a glass of sugary drink and a snack if you are able to eat.

Important: Call your Diabetes Nurse Educator or doctor if you have frequent low blood glucose symptoms and/or level.

Prevention of Low Blood Glucose

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