Why is my blood sugar so low?
The topic last week was high blood glucose. Now I am going to talk about a condition called low blood glucose, low sugar or AKA hypoglycemia. If left untreated, low blood sugar can be life threatening. Low blood sugar can be caused by several reasons:
1. Your diabetes medication dose may be too high.
Insulin and some oral diabetes medications such as Glipizide if taken improperly can cause low blood sugar.
Solution: It is important to follow the instructions on your label to make sure you are taking your diabetes at the right time and using the right dose. Talk to your doctor, diabetes educator or pharmacist if you need help.
2. You did not eat enough carbohydrates before you exercised.
Exercising is essential to managing your diabetes. Exercise helps your muscles metabolize extra sugar, fight stress and promotes weight loss. However, if you are unprepared you are at risk of low blood glucose.
Solution: You can prevent low blood sugar by eating a good meal and drinking plenty of water BEFORE you exercise. Also, bring at 15 gram carbohydrate snack and keep your blood glucose close by in case of emergency. Always stay proactive (literally).
3. You drank too much alcohol.
Alcohol intake is associated with hypoglycemia AKA low blood sugar. Alcohol inhibits the liver from release sugar causing low blood glucose,
Solution: The best time to drink alcohol is during a meal. Drinking on an empty stomach is not recommended. Women should limit their alcohol to one drink per day and men should drink no more than two drinks per day. One drink is equal to 12 ounce of beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1 1 1/2 ounce of distilled spirits such as vodka, brandy or gin.
Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar includes sweating, shakiness, nausea and vomiting. Check your blood sugar and if it too low eat 15 grams of carbohydrates . 4 ounce juice or regular soda, four to six pieces of regular hard candy, 8 ounce of skim milk and 1 tablespoon of honey equals 15 grams of carbohydrates. Pharmacy sell glucose tablets and glucose gel if you do not want to carry around food.
If you would like to learn more about preventing low blood glucose fill out the information below so we take steps to schedule an appointment.
Allison L Boyd, RDN, CYT, CDE