Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
If you think that your blood sugar may be dipping too low, check your blood sugar level with a blood glucose meter. Then eat or drink something that's mostly sugar or carbohydrates to raise your blood sugar level quickly. Foods with a lot of fat, such as chocolate, don't work as well. Examples of foods that will raise your blood sugar level quickly include:
- Five to six pieces of hard candy
- Four ounces (118 milliliters) of fruit juice or regular — not diet — soda
- One tablespoon (15 milliliters) of sugar, jelly or honey
- Three glucose tablets (available without a prescription at most pharmacies)
If you experience symptoms of low blood sugar but can't check your blood sugar level right away, treat yourself as though you have hypoglycemia. In fact, you might want to carry at least one sugary item with you at all times. It's also a good idea to wear a bracelet that identifies you as someone who has diabetes.
Check your blood sugar level again 15 to 20 minutes later. If it's still too low, eat or drink something sugary. When you feel better, be sure to eat meals and snacks as usual.
Some people may still experience frequent and severe hypoglycemia despite medication adjustments .In these circumstances, your doctor may prescribe glucagon, a hormone that causes blood glucose to rise.
Glucagon is available by prescription only and comes in an emergency syringe kit. It contains one dose that has to be mixed before being injected. Store the glucagon at room temperature and be aware of the expiration date. Because vomiting can occur after an injection, you must be turned on your side to prevent choking if you're unconscious.
In 15 minutes you should be alert and able to swallow. You then need to eat. If you don't respond within 15 minutes, medical assistance should be called immediately.
- Cryer PE. Hypoglycemia. In: Kronenberg HM, et al. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191205553-3/0/1555/0.html#. Accessed Jan. 19, 2012.
- Cryer PE. Management of hypoglycemia during treatment of diabetes mellitus. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 17, 2012.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/hypoglycemia-low-blood.html. Accessed Jan. 17, 2012.
- Hypoglycemia. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/hypoglycemia/index.aspx. Accessed Jan. 17, 2012.
- Yakubovich N, et al. Serious cardiovascular outcomes in diabetes: The role of hypoglycemia. Circulation. 2011;123:342.
- Fowler MJ. The diabetes treatment trap: Hypoglycemia. Clinical Diabetes. 2011;29:36.
- Collazo-Clavell ML (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 24, 2012.