Finding the sweet spot between blood sugar highs and lows
Do you ever worry about low blood sugar? If you're nodding, you're in good company. According to a recent survey by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), a pretty hefty majority of people with diabetes get stressed out about the possibility of going low.1
We get it—lows are scary. So scary that some people let their blood sugar run high to avoid them.2
But that's not a solution either. Deep down, you know that risking long-term health problems by running high isn't the answer to avoiding low blood glucose today.
So what can you do? Talk about the anxiety—to your doctor, your educator, your loved ones. It's real and it's not easy. And take charge of your levels—check your blood glucose often and be prepared to act if you start to dip.
Turns out, that AADE survey we mentioned above also found that a surprising number of people with diabetes aren't really sure what to do about low blood sugar.1 So here's a quick refresher on what you need to know:
- Know your level. See what a fingertip test tells you. Checking your blood glucose may not always be the convenient answer, but there's no better way to be sure.
- Know the symptoms. (According to the survey, many people don't.) So if you're feeling shaky, dizzy, anxious, confused, uncoordinated—anything weird—check.3
- Know what to do next. Keep glucose tabs or gel handy. Drink a half-cup of juice or not-diet soda. Take a tablespoon of honey. Eat enough hard candy to give you 15 grams of carbohydrates. Fight the temptation to overtreat—eat something, wait 15 minutes and test your blood sugar again. Still low? Treat it again.3
- Know how much insulin to take. If you use an insulin pump or take injections at mealtimes, accurate carb counting and an automated bolus calculator can help ensure that you get enough insulin to cover your carbs without sending you low.4 The Accu-Chek Connect system has this technology incorporated into the app. You may want to check it out.
1AADE. Survey shows many people living with diabetes are uncertain about how to properly manage hypoglycemia. Available at: https://www.diabeteseducator.org/news-and-publications/press-releases/pr.... Accessed April 28, 2016.
2Diabetes Self-Management. Managing hyperglycemia. Available at: http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/blood-glucose-ma.... Accessed April 28, 2016.
3American Diabetes Association. Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-gl.... Accessed April 28, 2016.
4Barnard K, Parkin C, Young A, Ashraf M. Use of an automated bolus calculator reduces fear of hypoglycemia and improves confidence in dosage accuracy in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus treated with multiple daily insulin injections. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2012;6(1):144-149.