September 23, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

What happens when your blood sugar is usually low?

-- Anonymous

Via the blog

This is known as hypoglycemia, which many people with diabetes can experience if their blood glucose levels are not appropriately managed.

Whereas a fasting (remember, that's at least 8 hours of no food or drink, other than water) glucose of 125 mg/dL points to diabetes, anything below 50 mg/dL is a sign of hypoglycemia.

Symptoms can include dizziness, paleness of the skin, general confusion, and shakiness.

If the symptoms are detected early enough into a hypoglycemic episode, the situation can usually be remedied by consuming a predetermined amount of carbohydrate.

If, however, one of these episodes goes untreated, fainting will occur.

In this case, the only viable step is to inject glucagon (an enzyme that, like insulin, is also secreted by the pancreas but, unlike insulin, RAISES blood glucose levels.)

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