Hypoglycemia: Care Instructions

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Hypoglycemia means that your blood sugar is low and your body isn’t getting enough fuel. Low blood sugar can be caused by too much insulin or certain medicines. Some people get low blood sugar from missing a meal or exercising too hard without eating enough food.

Know your signs of low blood sugar. They're different for everyone. Common early signs include nausea; hunger; and feeling nervous, irritable, or shaky.

It can help to check your blood sugar levels often. Take your insulin or other medicine as prescribed.

How can you care for yourself?

Use the "rule of 15" to treat low blood sugar.

Eat 15 grams of carbohydrate from a quick-sugar food (such as 3 or 4 glucose tablets or 1/2 cup of juice). Wait 15 minutes and check your blood sugar. Repeat if your blood sugar is still below 70 mg/dL.

Eat after your blood sugar is in a safe range.

A snack or meal can reduce symptoms and prevent low blood sugar from coming back.

Tell friends, family, and coworkers how they can help you.

Make sure that they know the symptoms of low blood sugar and how to help you get your sugar levels up.

If you have glucagon, keep it with you.

Make sure that your friends, family, and coworkers know how to use it.

When should you call for help?

Call 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?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter R955 in the search box to learn more about "Hypoglycemia: Care Instructions".

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.