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Living with Diabetes? Recognize the symptoms and patterns of hypoglycemia

November 2017 Share with   facebook   twitter

If you live with diabetes, even when you do your best to manage your blood glucose, you can experience unexpected ‘lows,’ or episodes of hypoglycemia. Frequent occurrences can be dangerous if you don’t act quickly as your normal responses to hypoglycemia can slowly decrease, causing you to stop sensing the early warning signs of hypoglycemia, resulting in hypoglycemia unawareness.

Did you know? Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) happens when your blood glucose goes below 4 mmol/L.

Hypoglycemia can happen for different reasons, including:1

  • More physical activity than usual
  • Not eating on time
  • Eating less than you should have
  • Taking too much diabetes medication
  • Drinking alcohol

There are common signs of hypoglycemia to be aware of. You may feel:1

  • Shaky, light-headed, upset stomach
  • Nervous, irritable, anxious
  • Confused, or unable to concentrate
  • Hungry
  • A fast heart rate
  • Sweaty, headachy
  • Weak, drowsy
  • A numbness or tingling in your tongue or lips

It’s important to know these symptoms so you can recognize them and take action right away. If you are hypoglycemic, Diabetes Canada recommends you eat or drink a fast-acting sugar, such as:1

  • 15 mL (3 teaspoons) of sugar dissolved in water
  • 15 mL (1 tablespoon) of honey
  • 15 g of glucose tablets
  • 175 mL (3/4 cup) of juice or non-diet soft drink

Afterwards, wait 15 minutes and then check your blood glucose again. If your glucose is still below 4 mmol/L, try one of the above methods again, and do another glucose test. If your next meal is more than one hour away, have a snack with both carbohydrates and protein. If you keep having periods of hypoglycemia, talk to your healthcare professional.

Understanding your blood glucose results and being aware of low patterns can help you determine what action you may need to take to avoid hypoglycemia. If you use the OneTouch Verio Flex™ meter, you can wirelessly connect and transfer data to the OneTouch Reveal® app, which automatically identifies patterns of highs and lows so you can take action. Get a free meter offer and download the app at no charge today!




1 Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee. Canadian Diabetes Association 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada. Can J Diabetes 2013;37(suppl 1):S1-S212.

A Low Pattern message appears when your app detects a minimum of 2 readings within a 5-day period that are below the Low limit set in your app. Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional about the low and high range limits that are right for you.


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