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Hypoglycemia: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Hypoglycemia means that your blood sugar is low and your body is not getting enough fuel. Some people get low blood sugar from not eating often enough. Some medicines to treat diabetes can cause low blood sugar. People who have had surgery on their stomachs or intestines may get hypoglycemia. Problems with the pancreas, kidneys, or liver also can cause low blood sugar.

A snack or drink with sugar in it will raise your blood sugar and should ease your symptoms right away.

Your doctor may recommend that you change or stop your medicines until you can get your blood sugar levels under control. In the long run, you may need to change your diet and eating habits so that you get enough fuel for your body throughout the day.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Learn to recognize the early signs of low blood sugar. Signs include:
    • Nausea.
    • Hunger.
    • Feeling nervous, irritable, or shaky.
    • Cold, clammy, wet skin.
    • Sweating (when you are not exercising).
    • A fast heartbeat.
    • Numbness or tingling of the fingertips or lips.
  • If you feel an episode of low blood sugar coming on, eat or drink a quick-sugar food. Some examples of quick-sugar foods are glucose tablets, table sugar, hard candy (such as Life Savers), fruit juice, and regular (not diet) soda.
  • Eat small, frequent meals so that you do not get too hungry between meals.
  • Balance extra exercise with eating more.
  • Keep a written record of your low blood sugar episodes, including when you last ate and what you ate, so that you can learn what causes your blood sugar to drop.
  • Make sure your family, friends, and co-workers know the symptoms of low blood sugar and know what to do to get your sugar level up.
  • Wear medical alert jewellery that lists your condition.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You are confused or cannot think clearly.
  • Your blood sugar is very high or very low.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your blood sugar stays outside the level your doctor set for you.
  • You have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.