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The first signs of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, typically include a feeling of hunger, damp or clammy skin, and slight shaking, among others. These symptoms will continue to worsen as blood sugar drops, and mood changes or confusion may occur. When blood sugar becomes dangerously low, some of the most severe signs can include fainting, seizures, or even a coma, which can lead to permanent brain damage.
Low blood sugar can be fairly common if one has missed a meal or is prone to experiencing low blood sugar. It is typically not dangerous, and blood sugar levels will come back up if one has a snack or a meal. It is important to recognize the signs of low blood sugar, however, to prevent it from worsening and potentially becoming dangerous. The first signs of low blood sugar include trembling and sometimes a feeling of chills or nausea, in addition to those mentioned above. Heartbeat irregularities may occur as well, which can lead to a feeling of nervousness.
As blood sugar continues to drop, moderate signs of low blood sugar will appear. These may include things such as a feeling of tiredness or weakness over the body, mood changes and irritability, feeling faint or dizzy, and the loss of the ability to concentrate on the task at hand. These symptoms will generally appear in addition to the minor symptoms above, and those may worsen; for example, anxiety may become much more pronounced, or the heartbeat will feel like it is skipping beats.
At any of these points, it is important to immediately treat the low blood sugar by having something to eat or drinking something that contains sugar, such as juice. Some people find that eating a piece of candy is helpful, though it is best to try to eat a balanced meal. To prevent spikes and dips in blood sugar, which can lead to all of these symptoms, it is best to eat at least three larger meals per day or five smaller meals to keep blood sugar levels stable. Eat a variety of healthy foods, being sure to get vegetables, whole grains and protein.
When blood sugar gets extremely low, the signs of low blood sugar become medically dangerous, potentially causing brain damage. The body temperature will drop, fainting will often occur, and many people experience seizures. This can also lead to a coma, which can be fatal. Anyone experiencing these symptoms needs emergency medical treatment.
@Scrbblchick -- And sometimes, diabetics do other, really strange things when they go low, or "hypo." A friend from church has been diabetic since he was about four. He had been to the gym and was getting into the car to drive home. He did not check his sugar before he left.
The next thing he knew, someone was tapping on his window. It was the coach at a high school in the next county, about 25 miles in the opposite direction from where he lived!
The coach had some candy in his truck and called an ambulance. They were in a rural area and it took them about 15 minutes to respond. My friend ate the candy bar, but when
the EMT checked his sugar, it was about 40. And that's after the candy bar. No telling what it was before! The coach thought my friend was drunk, until he saw his medical alert bracelet, and that clued him in.
My friend has no recollection at all of driving from the gym to the high school. He said he checks his sugar before he gets behind the wheel now.
For diabetics who have had a lot of low blood sugar episodes, the symptoms may be lessened, and they have to depend on others who know them to tell them they're having an episode. Frequently, the main symptom is extreme irritability.
A friend of mine was dating a woman who had a young daughter. He was really snappish and his girlfriend told him he needed to eat something, but he just growled at her. The daughter finally climbed into his lap, took his face in her hands and said, "Danny! You need a candy bar!" She was about four. It was a very funny incident, but does underline how careful diabetics need to be.
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