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Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

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Lesson #3

Low blood sugar: What you need to know

If your blood sugar drops below 70, it's too low and you could have a low blood sugar reaction, called hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can come on fast. It is caused by a number of factors including:

  • taking too much insulin
  • missing a meal
  • delaying a meal
  • exercising too much
  • drinking too much alcohol

Sometimes, medicines you take for other health problems can cause your blood sugar to drop.

If you have hypoglycemic reaction, your body will tell you. You may experience a number of symptoms that mean it's time to treat the problem, now.

A low blood sugar reaction may make you:

  • shaky
  • mixed up
  • unhappy
  • hungry
  • tired
  • sweat a lot
  • have a headache

If your blood sugar drops even lower, you may:

  • get very confused
  • feel sleepy
  • become irritable
  • pass out
  • have a seizure

What should you do if have a low blood sugar reaction?

At the first sign of low blood sugar, it's time to take action. You can treat low blood sugar quickly by eating or drinking something that has sugar in it.

If your blood sugar drops too low, eat or drink one of the following:

  • hard candy
  • sugar-sweetened soda
  • orange juice
  • a glass of milk

Special tablets or gel made of glucose (a form of sugar) can also be used to treat low blood sugar. You can buy these in a drug store.

It is important to keep sugary snacks on hand at all times, at home and when you go out, just in case.

After treating a low blood sugar reaction, eat a small snack like half a sandwich, a glass of milk, or some crackers if your next meal is more than 30 minutes away.

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