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How to avoid hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) during treatment for diabetes with insulin?
HYPOGLYCAEMIA occurs when your blood sugar drops below 70 mg/dL. Accompanying symptoms include trembling hands, sudden hunger, sweating, weakness, anxiety, problems with vision, palpitations, numbness around the mouth, speech difficulties, impaired concentration, irrational and erratic behaviour and even aggression.
4 things to keep in mind about insulin dosage that will help you reduce the risk of hypoglycaemia
ADJUST THE DOSE OF INSULIN TO THE SIZE OFTHE MEALS YOU CONSUME
When you have a lower appetite and consume less food per meal, reduce the amount of insulin administered before the meal by 20-30%.
MONITOR YOUR SUGAR LEVEL DURING PHYSICAL EXERTION
Take blood sugar level measurements every 30 minutes.
If you have had hypoglycaemia after exercise, reduce the amount of insulin administered before the activity by 20-30%.
For unplanned activities, remember to eat e.g. 1⁄2 banana or 1 apple or 1 slice of Graham bread every 30 min.
REDUCE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
Limit your alcohol consumption to one glass of dry wine.
If you take part in an event during which you drink alcohol, dance and eat, reduce the dose of insulin administered just before the event as well as administering a dose of basal insulin at 21.00 or 22.00. You can reduce the dose by approx. 20-30%.
OBSERVE THE REACTIONS OF YOUR BODY AND PLAN FOR INSULINE DOSES
Reduce the amount of insulin before the kind of meal which often results in hypoglycaemia, even if your doctor has recommended a different dose.
Increase the amount of insulin administered at high blood sugar levels based on an exactly calculated dose of insulin (after consulting your doctor how much 1 unit of insulin lowers blood sugar).
Make sure that the breaks you take between doses of insulin given to reduce high blood sugar levels are not too short.
Do not increase your evening (basal) insulin dose, even if your blood sugar is too high before bedtime. You should then administer a fixed dose of evening insulin and the appropriate amount of short-acting insulin.
If before the evening (basal) administration of insulin your blood glucose (sugar) is less than 100 mg/dL, have a small snack before bedtime (e.g. a slice of Graham bread).
How to deal with hypoglycaemia?
IMMEDIATELY CONSUME ONE OF THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTS IN THE RECOMMENDED QUANTITY:
a sweet drink (e.g. 1⁄2 cup Coca Cola/Pepsi Cola or juice) 2 hard candies (e.g. 2 Nimm candies) 2 teaspoons of sugar dissolved in water ready glucose gels or glucose tablets (2 glucose gels or 4 glucose tablets) that you can buy at the pharmacy
AVOID ANY PHYSICAL EXERTION!
CHECK THE SUGAR LEVEL 15 MINUTES AFTER CONSUMING THE SWEET PRODUCT.
Do not eat any more sugars if your glucose has increased by at least 30-40 mg/dL!
Dr Dominika Rokicka, M.D., PhD. and prof. Krzysztof Strojek, M.D., dr hab.