Over the past 25 years, diabetes has been on the rise, and many patients with diabetes face the risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Although most drops in blood sugar levels are minor and easily corrected, when left untreated, the condition can cause loss of consciousness and/or seizures, requiring emergency care. The best way to avoid such episodes is through education and lifestyle modifications. Below are listed some of the symptoms and warning signs of hypoglycemia, along with suggestions for lifestyle changes that help control blood sugar levels.
What are the Causes?
* Irregular eating habits, such as skipping meals or not eating enough.
* Too much insulin or incorrect doses of diabetic medication.
* Excessive activity or exercise.
* Drinking too much alcohol.
What are the Common Symptoms?
* Tremors or shakiness
* Nervousness or anxiety
What is the Best Prevention?
* Eating regular, nutritious meals.
* Always carrying a carbohydrate snack or beverage.
* Consistent monitoring of insulin levels.
* Taking the correct amount of diabetic medications.
* Avoiding excessive exercise.
* Limiting alcohol consumption.
Education is the key to prevention, and knowing and implementing these suggestions can help prevent serious complications. Ask your doctor about this information, and he or she can work with you to establish a successful prevention plan.
* Taken in part from "Physiological and Behavioral Aspects of Glycemic Control and Hypoglycemia" and "Management of Diabetes-related Hypoglycemia." By Dr. Patrick J. Boyle and Dr. John Zrebiec. Southern Medical Journal. February 2007.
RELATED ARTICLE: Diabetes Out of Control?
If you or a loved one are having difficulty managing type 2 diabetes, you should speak to your physician about insulin therapy--and the sooner the better. Recent studies have shown that starting insulin therapy earlier rather than later could prevent some of the difficulties many patients face when trying to control their diabetes. Many people are hesitant because they are uncomfortable with needles, but when diabetes gets out of control, serious complications can result, including amputation and/or death. So talk to your doctor and find out if insulin therapy may be the answer to managing your diabetes.
Taken in part from "Why and How to Use Insulin Therapy Earlier in the Management of Type 2 Diabetes." By Dr. Luigi Meneghini. Southern Medical Journal. February 2007.
Bridget Garland, MA