Diabetes ABCs: H

November 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Diabetes ABCs | 7 Comments
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Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia
By Paula Cerqueira, Dietetic Intern

H

Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar.  It occurs when the pancreas produces too little insulin, or when the body becomes resistant to insulin.  Hyperglycemia happens every now and then to all people living with diabetes.  If your blood glucose values are consistently running higher than the norm, talk with your healthcare provider.

Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar (< 70 mg/dL) and results from too much insulin and too little sugar in the blood. If blood glucose drops below 50 mg/dL, this could result in unconsciousness, a condition sometimes called insulin shock or coma.  Hypoglycemia can be caused by skipping or delaying meals, eating too few carbohydrates, exercising longer or more strenuously than normal, taking too much insulin and drinking alcohol.  It’s important to learn to identify the symptoms of hypoglycemia so you can treat it quickly.  Symptoms include: shakiness, dizziness, sweating, hunger, headache, pale skin color, sudden moodiness, seizure, and confusion.  Hypoglycemia can be treated by following the 15/15 guideline to raise blood glucose above 70 mg/dL – test blood sugar, consume 15 g of carbohydrate and test blood sugar in 15 minutes.  If blood sugar remains low, consume an additional 15 g of carbohydrate and test blood glucose in 15 minutes and then in 60 minutes. Once normal, consume a regular meal.  Fifteen grams of carbohydrate is about 4 oz of juice, 6 oz of soft drink, 5 hard candies, 4 glucose tablets, or 1 tablespoon sugar.

(Post reviewed by Debra Powers, MS, RD, CDE, LDN, Senior Clinical Nutritionist)

7 Comments »

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  1. […] hungry, agitated, or experiencing blurry vision. If blood sugar reading is less than 70 mg/dL the recommendation is to have some fast acting carbohydrate like orange juice or glucose tablets at once and check […]

  2. […] Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) has also been indicated as a possible cause of decreased mental functioning. Glucose is the main source of energy for the brain. When you have a low blood sugar, there isn’t enough available to fuel the brain which causes decreased brain function. There is also the possibility that frequent and prolonged hypoglycemia may cause some brain damage to the cerebral cortex (the outermost covering of the brain) and the hippocampus (area responsible for memory). […]

  3. […] processed grains with whole grains, or eating a piece of fruit instead drinking fruit juice (unless treating a low) are other things to consider. One final note: it’s best to increase your fiber intake gradually […]

  4. […] physical symptoms to avoid dehydration and hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is technically defined as glucose levels below 70mg/dl, and can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, hunger, and disorientation. This state should be treated […]

  5. […] hipoglucemia (baja concentración de azúcar en la sangre) también ha sido señalada como causa posible del […]

  6. […] agitado o con visión borrosa. Si la lectura de azúcar en la sangre es inferior a 70 mg/dl, la recomendación es ingerir enseguida algún carbohidrato de acción rápida, como jugo de naranja o comprimidos de […]

  7. […] the goals for blood sugar management need to be directed to be sure that the acute complications of hyperglycemia, such as poor wound healing, dehydration, and coma, are avoided. It’s also important for health […]


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