Having significantly low levels of blood sugar is a condition classified as hypoglycemia, but is also commonly called low blood glucose, insulin reaction or insulin shock. Although individuals with diabetes are more at risk for this medical condition, having the knowledge to intervene if it happens to you or someone close to you can determine if that person lives to see another day. Critical steps for on-the-spot treatment include recognizing hypoglycemia and administering a dose of either sugar or glucagon, a medical alternative.
Recognizing when one’s blood sugar plummets
According to the American Diabetes Association and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the most characteristic features of hyperglycemia include:
- Excessive perspiration, ranging from a cold sweat to warm clamminess
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Nervousness or anxiousness
- Irritation or agitation
- Feeling lightheaded, faint or weak
- Difficulties with coordination
- Confusion or delirium
- Impaired vision
- Tingling or numbness in or around one’s mouth
Any amounts under 70 mg/dl qualify a person for any of these symptoms, but exceptions also exist depending on the individualistic factors. For example, a subset of those with hypoglycemia does not exhibit any symptoms, also known as hypoglycemia unawareness. People with this condition usually experience more frequent hypoglycemic episodes or have a history with diabetes. To avoid more extreme symptoms such as seizures or coma, emergency experts recommend that those at risk check their blood sugar often.
Two interventions for hypoglycemia: dietary and injection
The medical resources also list a number of alternative actions when preventive strategies fail. Depending on the stage of an individual’s episode, different options should be employed.
For mild or more regular cases of low blood sugar, clinical professionals suggest ingesting between 15 to 20 mg of simple carbohydrates or other sources of glucose. Then after waiting approximately 15 minutes, check for any changes in blood sugar. If no changes occur, continue eating. Common consumable choices consist of one tablespoon of sugar or honey, a half cup of juice or soda, two tablespoons of raisins, assorted candies or eight ounces of nonfat or 1 percent milk. Other dietary options include glucose supplements of various forms.
For more extreme instances, a person should use glucagon, a hormone that stimulates the body to release stored amounts of glucose. Medical kits are available with a prescription and allow a person or a loved one to inject glucagon directly into the body. Directions are included for instructing individuals to administer the injection to the victim’s buttock, arm or thigh and to be prepared for subsequent sensations of nausea or vomiting.
In general, experiencing a medical emergency is an overwhelming crisis to deal with, especially in conjunction with a coexisting mental condition or drug addiction. By contacting the California Dual Diagnosis Helpline, those battling their respective problems can find and access effective solutions via residential treatment in California or dual diagnosis treatment centers California. Talk to a consultant online or call us to get assitance.