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Instant glucose is a form of treatment for those with a condition called hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar, or blood glucose, is abnormally low. It may be most prevalent among people who have diabetes. However, there are other conditions that cause episodes of hypoglycemia as well, though such conditions are rare, and some people experience hypoglycemia without being diagnosed with an underlying condition. Instant glucose is a product that provides a person with the glucose she needs to bring her blood sugar back up to a normal level within about 10 minutes of taking it.
When a person is in the throes of hypoglycemia, she may experience a range of symptoms; she may feel very hungry and anxious. She may also sweat profusely, have tremors, or experience heart palpitations. Other symptoms include confusion, changes in vision and behavioral changes. Some people may even faint or have seizures, though this symptom is less common. Instant glucose is used as a short-term fix for low blood sugar, relieving its symptoms, but other treatments may be necessary to manage the underlying cause of hypoglycemia.
Since someone with low blood sugar needs a fast boost of blood sugar, any sugary food may help. For example, drinking orange juice is a common fix for a hypoglycemic episode, as is eating candy. However, having a source of sugar on hand at all times, in case of a drop in blood sugar, may be difficult for some, and certain types of candy may not deliver enough glucose to help the person feel better quickly. Instead, some people choose to carry instant glucose products to have a ready and reliable source on hand at all times.
Instant glucose comes in many different forms. Some people opt to carry chewable glucose tablets, which are often fruit flavored. Glucose tablets may contain about 3 to 5 grams (.11 to .18 ounces) or more of glucose per tablet, depending on the particular brand. Life Savers® candy, on the other hand, contains about 2 grams (.07 ounces) per piece of candy. Another brand of candy called SweeTarts® contain about 12 grams (.42 ounces) in one eight-candy dose.
Some people buy instant glucose that is sold in gel form, and this type typically delivers a significant amount of glucose. Depending on the brand, a glucose gel may provide about 15 to 24 grams (.53 to .85 ounces) in each dose. These gels are often fruit flavored and sold in plastic tubes or bottles. Besides providing more glucose per dose than candy or tablets, these gels also offer another advantage. They can be used for those who are having severe episodes and can’t or won’t chew a tablet, as another person can help by rubbing the gel on the person’s cheeks and gums.