Hypoglycemia: What it is, symptoms and how to treat?

Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when blood sugar (glycemia) decreases below normal values, usually the body maintains stable blood sugar concentrations between 70 and 110 mg / dL, below this the individual may have some symptoms such as cold sweats, dizziness, nausea and weakness.

This occurs because glucose, in normal physiological situations, is the main fuel of the brain and the cells of the central nervous system, so when glycemia is very low there may be alterations in the functioning of these cells, since these they require a stable and constant amount of glucose to function properly.

For this reason, hypoglycemia should be treated as soon as possible, mainly through the ingestion of rapidly absorbed carbohydrates such as juices, candies or sweets, for example.

Main symptoms
The signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia tend to arise rapidly, and may vary from one person to another, the most common include:

Nausea and dizziness;
Cold sweating;
Tremors;
Weakness and lack of energy;
Headache;
Blurred or blurred vision;
Confusion;
Skin paleness;
Heart palpitations
In addition to these symptoms, hunger, numbness, headache, irritability, nightmares at night and tingling of the lips, tongue or cheeks may also occur. Usually these symptoms arise when blood glucose is below 70 mg / dL, however some people may tolerate lower values, while other people may present them with higher values.

What can cause hypoglycemia
The most common cause of hypoglycemia is the misuse of medications to treat diabetes, usually when the individual is placed a higher dose of insulin than was due, is wrong in the type of insulin to be used or the injected directly into the muscle, causing excessive decrease in blood sugar levels.

Hypoglycemia can also occur due to excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, the use of certain medications, after surgery, prolonged jejunum, hormonal deficiencies, infections, liver, kidney or heart disease. In addition to this, physical activity could also lower blood sugar, of course this will depend on the person, intensity, duration and type of exercise.

How the treatment is performed
The treatment for hypoglycemia depends on the severity of the symptoms and whether the person has diabetes or not. In general, it is advised that only the first symptoms of hypoglycemia arise, whether foods or sweet drinks rich in carbohydrates are absorbed quickly, as long as the person is conscious.

When you have a hypoglycemic crisis, the person should:

Ingest about 15 g of carbohydrate preferably in liquid form, so that it is absorbed more quickly such as 100 to 150 mL of natural orange juice or a cola-based soda. In case the carbohydrate source is not liquid, it is possible to consume some food such as 1 tsp of honey, a caramel, 1 sachet of sugar or gummies, for example. In case of suffering from constant hypoglycemia it is always good to carry a carbohydrate source so that it can be consumed in cases of emergency;
Measure glucose after 15 minutes after ingestion of the carbohydrate portion. In case it is verified that the glycemia continues below 70 mg / dL, it is recommended that the person eat again about 15 grams more of carbohydrates, until the glucose value is normalized;
Carry a snack rich in carbohydrates, when it is verified through glucose measurement that the values are within normal range. Some snack options include bread, toast or cookies. This causes the levels to remain stable in the blood.
Many people tend to want to eat as much as they can until they feel better, but this can cause blood sugar to rise violently, so it is ideal to use the technique mentioned above. The amount of carbohydrates in the case of children can vary between 6 to 10 grams, depending on age, so in these cases it is best to consult the pediatrician to determine what is the right amount for him.
In the case of diabetic people, the treatment can also be performed through the use of injectable glucagon that must be purchased with a prescription and administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously, depending on the doctor’s indication. Glucagon is a hormone produced by the pancreas that counteracts the action of insulin, causing glucose to remain circulating in the blood. This injection should be used when the above indications do not work.

However, in cases where symptoms such as drowsiness, fainting or seizure arise, it is necessary to call your country’s emergency number and request medical help and an ambulance. Usually in these situations, the treatment is done by placing glucose directly intravenously. You should not for any reason inject the person with insulin, or give him liquids or food.

How to prevent hypoglycemia
Some of the general recommendations to avoid new episodes of hypoglycemia, especially in diabetics are:

Reduce the consumption of white sugar and foods that contain it;
Make in 3 main meals and 2 to 3 snacks;
Include fruits and vegetables in at least 3 or 4 meals;
Do not skip meals;
Go to a nutritionist to make a nutritional plan tailored to your needs;
Avoid the consumption of alcoholic drinks;
Perform physical activity on a regular and moderate basis;
Perform entertainment activities that allow you to reduce daily stress;
Be careful not to miss the dose of hypoglycemic drugs, as it can greatly reduce your blood glucose level causing hypoglycemia.
It is also recommended that people with diabetes have devices that measure blood glucose, so that it is much easier to control.

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