The Importance of Preventing Hypoglycemia
Preventing hypoglycemia is a very important factor for avoiding serious problems that can occur when we have low blood sugar and don’t treat it on time.
If you have Diabetes and use insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents, the most important thing is for you to know what to do and to be well prepared to counter any Hypoglycemia quickly. Due to this, you’ll need to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, especially if you exercise.
Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar can occur when, you inject too much insulin or use too many doses of your medicine, eat fewer carbohydrates than you should or skip any established meal or snack, don’t follow your prescribed food or exercise schedule or exercise more than usual. In this regard, it’s imperative for you, to meet your schedule and medication (insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents) doses, not to skip any meals or snacks, comply strictly with the determined amounts and times of your eating plan, and don’t exercise more than usual, to reduce the risk of having a hypoglycemic episode.
If you exercise, it’s important to check your blood sugar levels before, during and after performing any physical activity to prevent a possible hypoglycemia, and carry with you fast absorption glucose sources to quickly counteract in case it occurs.
When people perform very intense or prolonged exercises, cells first use the liver’s (glucagon) and muscles (glycogen) glucose reserves, and the bloodstream glucose. Later, after completing the exercise, checking the glycemia and ingesting food, glucose levels will increase. However, the body will have to restore the liver and muscles’ (glucagon and glycogen) glucose reserves used up during intense or prolonged exercise, which is why an unexpected episode of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar could occur. This process could take up to 24 hours after exercising and, because of this, it’s vital to check your blood glucose levels for up to 24 hours after exercising.
Another important point to consider if you use insulin and will perform a physical activity or exercise, is to not do it when insulin is peaking or producing its most powerful action, because the risk of a hypoglycemia or low blood sugar episode increases significantly.
When you suffer a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) episode you need to ingest a rapidly absorbed glucose source (candy, glucose tablets and gels, sweets and sugary drinks, etc.) as soon as possible, so your blood glucose levels can rise back to normal values, solving the situation. Due to this, it’s very important to always carry a fast absorption glucose source with you (in your pocket, purse, briefcase, office, home and school).
If for any reason Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar can’t be counteracted in time, it can become a very dangerous situation because glucose levels will continue to decline rapidly and the person may become unconscious, get severe neurological damage and even die. Fortunately, this can be avoided if you follow all of these recommendations, which can prevent or easily counter any hypoglycemia episodes that may arise.
In case of Hypoglycemia the help of friends can be invaluable.
In some cases, if for any reason hypoglycemia symptoms aren’t detected or can’t be reversed quickly, it can turn into a serious situation that could soon lead to unconsciousness. Therefore, it’s very important, if you use insulin or oral hypoglycemic pills, to follow these recommendations:
- Inform all your relatives, friends or colleagues, about your Diabetes, explain what Hypoglycemia means and what to do in case of an emergency.
- Keep a card in your wallet with your Diabetes condition, and that if you’re unconscious it may be due to hypoglycemia, which will require medical attention so you can get a Glucagon shot.
- Always keep a glucagon kit at home and at the office, and teach your family, friends and colleagues, how to inject it if you’re unconscious.
- If you fall unconscious due to hypoglycemia, your friends may also help you recover by smearing a bit of syrup with their fingers in the inner folds of your mouth, but never with sugary drinks or other quickly absorbed glucose sources if unconscious, as it could lead to choking.
- Make sure all your family, friends and colleagues know how to act in case of Hypoglycemia and to have your doctor’s phone numbers (office, home, mobile or pager) at hand.
By following these recommendations, people with Diabetes can rest calmer and reassured about falling unconscious as they’ll have support from their relatives, acquaintances or friends, who can help them counteract the problem and prevent any serious neurological damage and even death.
Remember that Hypoglycemia is a situation easy to resolve, but if we don’t take all necessary measures on time, it can become a very risky condition within minutes. It’s very important for everyone to follow these recommendations to minimize the risk of hypoglycemia and if it occur, to counter it easily and quickly.
At Diabetes Up to Date, we are strongly committed to provide you with all the knowledge you need, to prevent or avoid problems that may arise in the management and control of you blood sugar levels, so it doesn’t affect your quality of life.