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Hypoglycemia In Youth With Diabetes

Source: American Diabetes Association

Hypoglycemia In Youth With Diabetes

When you and/or your parent checks your blood glucose, it’s important to know what to do if your results are outside of your target range. When your blood glucose is below your target range, you are probably experiencing hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia (also known as an “insulin reaction,” or just “low blood glucose”) occurs when blood glucose goes too low. Hypoglycemia can be caused by many things: too much insulin, not enough food, too much exercise, eating late, or eating too little carbohydrate. In short, it happens when insulin and blood glucose are out of balance.

People without diabetes usually don’t get hypoglycemia. Their body can tell when it has enough insulin and stops releasing it automatically. But people with diabetes have to figure out how much insulin their body will need. Once the insulin is injected, it keeps working until it’s gone, even if the blood glucose goes too low.

Mild or moderate (average) hypoglycemia is pretty common for children and adults who take insulin. But it can be dangerous if it’s not treated right away. Mild or moderate hypoglycemia can get dangerously low pretty quickly.

Each person reacts to hypoglycemia differently. You may only have a few symptoms. It’s important for you and your parents to observe what symptoms are unique to you. That way, you can recognize it sooner, and treat it before it becomes serious.

  • Shakiness

  • Nervousness

  • Sweating

  • Irritability, sadness, or anger

  • Impatience

  • Chills and cold sweats

  • Fast heartbeat

  • Light-headedness or dizziness

  • Drowsiness

  • Hunger

  • Stubbornness or combativeness

  • Lack of coordination

  • Blurred vision

  • Nausea

  • Tingling or numbness of lips or tongue

  • Nightmares or crying out during sleep

  • Headaches

  • Strange behavior

  • Confusion

  • Personality change

  • Passing out

  • Treating Mild Hypoglycemia

    When you or your parents notice symptoms of hypoglycemia, it’s important to treat it right away. If you’re feeling a little “off” but not too bad, you or your parent should do a blood glucose check first. Your doctor or diabetes educator can tell you which blood glucose levels mean you have hypoglycemia. But if you feel fairly sick or don’t have your meter, go ahead and treat for hypoglycemia. Here’s how.

    Step 1
    Eat or drink something with 10 to 15 grams of carbohydrate.

    Step 2
    Wait 15 minutes, then check your blood glucose.

    Step 3
    If your blood glucose is still too low (or you don’t feel better), take another dose of 10-15 grams of carbohydrate and check again after 15 minutes.

    Step 4
    Once your blood glucose begins returning to your normal range, eat a snack containing carbohydrate and protein. (Crackers with cheese or peanut butter is a good choice.)

    If your blood glucose stays too low even after treatment, your parents may need to take you to a doctor or hospital.

    Don’t Go Overboard

    Don’t use hypoglycemia as an excuse to pig out on sweet stuff. You’ll only have the opposite problem – high blood glucose – later in the day. Also, stick to sugary foods that don’t have a lot of fat. Fat slows down the movement of sugar into your blood. So candy bars and cookies are not the best choices for treating hypoglycemia, unless they’re the only high-carb foods nearby.