Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) treatment depends on the cause of your low blood sugar. There are two types of hypoglycemia: those caused by diabetes and those not caused by diabetes, as explained in the article on causes.
Hypoglycemia associated with diabetes
If your hypoglycemia is caused by the use of certain diabetes medications, your healthcare professional may recommend a variety of options to help you deal with it when it occurs. He or she may also recommend changes to your diabetes treatment plan in order to avoid hypoglycemia.
He or she may recommend:
- Dose adjustment for medications (such as insulin or certain oral medications) may also entail altering the timing of administration.
- Having a dietitian help you design or modify your meal strategy: A dietitian can help you create a meal plan that keeps carbohydrate intake constant throughout the day. Additionally, a dietitian can assist you in learning how to count grammes of carbohydrates so that you can better plan your medication and/or insulin dosages.
- Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels should be increased or followed more closely: In order to avoid going low, it is important to know your blood glucose levels throughout the day.
- Reduce alcohol intake: If you’re already prone to hypoglycemia, you should limit your intake of alcoholic beverages because of the potential impact on glucose metabolism.
- Make sure you always have glucose tablets (dextrose) or hard candy on hand, as directed by your healthcare provider. You can keep them in your car, office, classroom, briefcase, or purse. You should recheck your blood sugar levels 15 minutes after consuming the tablets or candy. In the event that your blood sugar level has not returned to normal, you will need to administer glucose to yourself. Contact your doctor if you are having difficulty bringing your blood sugar levels back to normal.
Adults (with the advice of a healthcare professional) can eat one of the following to help bring their blood sugar levels back to normal:
- a half-cup of fruit juices
- Coca-Cola or other soft-drink cola (not sugar-free variety)
- 1 glass of milk
Make sure others know you have diabetes by wearing medical identification (such as a bracelet or necklace). Those around you will be better equipped to assist you if you do fall into a hypoglycemic state as a result.
Discuss any changes in your health or questions you have with your endocrinologist or other healthcare professional.
Not Diabetes-Induced Hypoglycemia
If you have hypoglycemia on a regular basis but don’t have diabetes, your doctor will investigate what might be causing your blood glucose levels to drop so low. He or she will be in a better position to make treatment recommendations now that they are armed with this information.
Lifestyle changes may be part of your treatment plan to help you avoid hypoglycemia. When hypoglycemia first manifests, you’ll need to know how to handle it quickly.
Treatments for hypoglycemia can include:
If you have a lot of episodes of hypoglycemia, your doctor may recommend that you check your blood glucose level throughout the day for a while, at least until your hypoglycemia is well controlled. This is something that people with diabetes do. What causes your blood glucose level to drop? Self-monitoring should help you figure that out.
Create a meal plan by consulting a dietician: Blood glucose levels are greatly influenced by the foods you consume. With the help of a dietitian, you can learn how to eat a diet that will help you maintain an acceptable blood glucose level.
Keep glucose (dextrose) tablets, hard candy, and other snacks on hand: Make sure you have glucose tablets or hard candy with you at all times, as per your doctor’s advice. You can keep them in your car, office, classroom, briefcase, or purse. Snacks, such as cheese or peanut butter crackers, are a good idea to have on hand.