What does it mean when your blood sugar is low?

If you’re reading this, chances are you have a slight fear of hypoglycemia – or as I like to call it, the “sugar crash”. While it’s not exactly something to celebrate, there’s no need to panic. With a little bit of information and preparation, you can keep your blood sugar from plummeting into dangerous territory.

The Basics

First thing first. Let’s define what low blood sugar means. Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood glucose levels drop below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). For those wondering how that translates in terms they can understand: that’s approximately half an ice cream sandwich or two Reese’s peanut butter cups.

While most people associate low blood sugar with diabetes (and for good reason), other factors such as medication side-effects and alcohol consumption may also result in this condition.

Know Your Numbers

To better manage your symptoms and prevent complications related to hypoglycemia (loss of consciousness, seizures), make sure you know what normal fasting blood sugar levels look like. Here are some general guidelines:

Fasting Glucose Level Interpretation
Less than 100 mg/dL Normal
Between 100-125 mg/dL Pre-diabetes
126 mg/dL or higher Diabetes

Note that these numbers vary slightly depending on the laboratory doing the tests so always refer to your doctor for clarification.

Symptoms

Now is when things get interesting—well maybe not ‘entire-article’ interesting—but close enough! So here’s the biggie: How do you recognize if your body has gone into full-on sugar-crash mode?

Hypoglycemia symptoms usually occur quickly — within minutes or hours — and consist mostly of physical sensations coupled with a quick change in how hangry you feel.

Here are some symptoms to keep an eye on:

Physical Symptoms

  • Shakiness.
  • Sweating, such as your body’s way of telling you “all-na-ta sugar” (I mean shut off a couple of kgs).
  • Dizziness and headaches—#because why not achieve the whole shebang?
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating (we’ve all been there with stats homework)
  • Hunger which quickly turns into hanger + grumpiness: one that can break bonds but they’ll heal eventually.

Treating Low Blood Sugar

Now we get down to the nitty-gritty. What do I do? How can I save myself from this tragedy?!

Don’t worry – it’s relatively simple! Here are some strategies tried-and-tested by thousands — if not millions — of hypo patients worldwide:

Pure Glucose/Sugar Products

Sugar treats work like magic for hypoglycemia management because glucose is fast-absorbing so you’ll start feeling better almost instantly after taking any high-sugar food/drink item. Think fruit juice, flavored yoghurt things, dried fruits or even Skittles!

The amount varies depending on your current blood sugar level and body size; thankfully there’s no need for measuring cups – instead go-to items include pure glucose gel tubes/packets/strips available over-the-counter.

This last mix though sounds more daunting than endearing: concentrated orange flavour mixed with purified water containing dextrose monohydrate-gelling agent-de-bittering agent-potassium sorbate-methylparaben-propylparaben-proprionaldehyde-water. But hey-ho It does work wonders! They come in tiny packs too!

Other options include regular soda drinks – think Coke/Pepsi/7up/Mountain Dew > Soda lovers have valid reasons for loving the bubbly wonder – it’s a delicious, quick and easy option for dealing with hypoglycemia.

Protein Power

While glucose is great to give you an instant boost, it’s important to maintain your sugar levels. A complex carbohydrate (read: protein) can help in this onvert long-lasting energy promises. Eating something high in protein will basically slow down digestion giving you sustained energy.

Foods like cheese sticks or hard-boiled eggs are good sources of protein that don’t require much prep time or effort if you’re out and about when symptoms hit.

Feeling fancy? Try some almond butter-based sauces/spreads/dips with veggies chips/fruit slices/toast as sweet & savory options.

Prevention

Let’s be real; avoiding the scenario altogether would be preferable over treating it every time! right?

Here are practical steps to reduce possible future occurrences-:

Eat Purposefully

When eating always remember “what goes up must come down’. That slice of cake/sandwich sounds tempting but what do they contain — simple carbohydrates?
Sure, those dishes have their place but even non-diabetics should balance simpler carbs alongside more substantial fibre-rich foods drawn from vegetables/grains/fruits/proteins – this way blood sugars gradually increase/decrease keeping us sane along the way.

The goal is to stay hydrated too – which means opt for less sugary juices or plain water instead.

Don’t Delay.

We may tend to get lost in work-mode impeding our need to take snack breaks> This could lead towards productive hours indeed but #DANGERZONE y’all!
15-20 minutes break involving nutrient-intake eases tension while giving your body fuel stops problems such as low energy/cravings knocking at your door!

Be sure snacks near-by include dried nuts(seeds), whole-grain crackers/hummus packs/muffin/popcorn packets/trail mix /energy bars/fruit cups etc.

Fitness Finesse.

Exercise also plays a significant role in hypo management. And yes, this means keeping active + healthy is perfect when dealing with hypoglycemia i.e., moderate exercise improves insulin sensitivity which accordingly leads to reduced sugar swings.

Just remember to keep monitoring your sugar levels and listen intently (ha ha) to your body—it will always give you cues on what it needs!

The Takeaway

Tackling the issue of hypoglycemia may sound daunting but it shouldn’t necessarily send one into panic-mode.
By knowing the basics/symptoms/treatment/prevention measures works wonders—simply put: consume pure glucose products for immediate recovery, snack on protein-rich foods for support//drink plenty of water/eat substantive carbohydrates(fiber rich food!) work as preventative methods!

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