Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar): If you think you have hypoglycemia (symptoms include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, sweating, headache, confusion, jerky movements, mood swings, tingling around the mouth, pale skin color, or seizure), check your glucose levels with your meter and treat it with some form of
*If you pass out the treatment changes, so make sure your family and friends - your diabetes team - knows this. If you pass out, do not have foods or fluids, and do not inject insulin. Instead, inject glucagon and seek immediate medical assistance.
Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar): This happens when the body has too little insulin, or isn't using the insulin properly. It can be caused by not giving yourself enough insulin (type 1), your body not using its insulin properly (type 2), eating more or exercising less than planned, stress, or illness like the flu. If you think you have hyperglycemia (symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, high sugar levels in urine, or high glucose levels), check your glucose levels with your meter and treat it by exercising a bit to lower them. However, if your glucose levels are very high (above 240 mg/dl), check your urine for ketones (see below) and do not exercise, as this may make your glucose levels go even higher. As a preventative measure, if you are often hyperglycemic, try decreasing your portions at mealtime. If these measures don't work, consult with your dietician and doctor to see if you should change the timing or amount of medication you are using.
Keep an eye out for other risks: When you see your physician always make sure that they check your urine for ketones, a sign that your body is using fat rather than glucose for energy. See this page for more information on how to perform this test yourself. Ketones appear in your urine if your body is not using glucose for fuel, and instead starts breaking down fats in your body. Your body cannot tolerate a large quantity of ketones, and the buildup can lead to the ketoacidosis - a life-threatening diabetic coma. Consult your physician if you are suffering from frequent hyperglycemia, as this puts you at high risk for ketoacidosis.!
Want to learn more? Stay tuned for yummy recipes in Healthy Munching with Willow tomorrow, and more exciting developments next week!