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Low Blood Sugar

A glucose monitor is available for people to check their own blood sugars in the comfort and privacy of their own home.

Usually this entails sticking yourself in the finger with a tiny needle called a lancet to get a drop of blood.

The blood is transferred to a special strip of paper that is then placed into the glucose meter, or glucometer, which analyzes the blood.  This gives a numeric reading that corresponds to the blood glucose level.

If you find someone who has the symptoms of low blood sugar, look for clues that explain the symptoms.

If the person has diabetes and still has his or her insulin and a recently disposed needle, you can presume that a change in their level of consciousness may be due to low blood sugar (they have accidentally taken too much insulin).
  • If the person is awake enough to drink something, you can give them a cup of orange juice with sugar.  If low blood sugar was the cause of their confusion, they will improve after a few minutes.
  • Then, the person should eat something with protein to prevent the low blood sugar from returning.
  • Elderly people on long acting diabetes medicine may need observation in the hospital as the low blood sugar may be persistent.

Medical Treatment

Treatment, either in the hospital or at your doctor's office, usually includes IV glucose or glucagon injections given into your muscle.

People without diabetes can also develop hypoglycemia -- called reactive hypoglycemia.  For these people, a special diet is prescribed to prevent low blood sugar episodes.

Rarely, tumors can cause recurrent hypoglycemia.

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