How To Recognise Hypoglycemia Symptoms

Jen C

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Whether you're diabetic or you live or work with someone who has diabetes, it's helpful to recognise the symptoms of hypoglycemia.

What is Hypoglycemia ?

This describes the condition of having a low blood sugar level. It's also known as a “hypo".

It can be caused by lack of food, too much exercise or insulin, alcohol, stress or hot weather, to name a few.

Whilst symptoms vary from person to person, these are the symtoms that are commonly experienced:-

  • appearing drunk, laughing or feeling confused
  • feeling very hungry
  • feeling shaky or trembling
  • aggression or temper
  • headache
  • poor concentration

How do I treat a Hypo ?

A hypo, or low blood sugar level, should be treated immediately with

  • glucose tablets (Dextro or Lucozade tablets)
  • sugar lumps or teaspoons of sugar
  • sweetened drink (NOT the diet version!)

Once the trembling and confusion stops, it's usual to have a snack to further help recovery.

Diabetics should always carry glucose tablets and snacks, even on short journeys or a trip to the shop.

Severe Hypos

If a diabetic you know has become unconscious, you need to:-

  • phone immediately for an ambulance
  • place them in the recovery position
  • inject them with Glucagon if they have it with them

Do not give them anything to eat or drink - not even sugar - as they may choke.

If you don't know what the recovery position is, it may be worth taking one of the short courses available on First Aid that will help you with life-saving skills.

If you're a diabetic, it helps to let your work colleagues know where you keep your sugar and snacks.

If you have a friend or work colleague with diabetes, being aware of these symptoms can help them to recognise a hypo and treat it quickly and effectively.

Jen Carter runs the Diabetia website where you can read Jen's diabetes blog .
Jen & her daughter, Alissa, share their favourite diabetic recipes too.


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