What are Glucose Tablets?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Glucose tablets are one way to manage the occasional bouts of hypoglycemia or low sugar levels that are most experienced by people who take insulin for Type II diabetes. These tablets are easily available in many drug stores and online, and they contain almost 100% glucose, which is the most efficient sugar to use when the body hits a low sugar period. Since glucose isn’t any form of controlled or dangerous substance, any more than table sugar or sucrose, people can buy a wide variety of glucose tablets without a prescription.

Glucose tablets are commonly used to treat hypoglycemia.
Glucose tablets are commonly used to treat hypoglycemia.

Even if glucose tablets are widely available, it doesn’t necessarily mean people with diabetes should simply take any one they want. Complex formulas determine which strength tabs to take. People don’t want to accidentally jump from hypoglycemia to hyperglycemia and suddenly have high levels of blood sugar. To avoid this and to strive for better balance, it’s highly recommended that people follow doctor’s advice on the appropriate strength to take, and why signs glucose should be used. This may sometimes mean splitting a tablet in half or taking more than one.

Consuming peanuts on a regular basis can help regulate blood sugar.
Consuming peanuts on a regular basis can help regulate blood sugar.

Many people are surprised to find out that, upon receiving a diagnosis of diabetes Type II, they’ll need to take anything other than insulin. For most people, it’s quite often the case that insulin, whether oral or injected, ends up being paired with glucose tablets. As people learn to manage their condition and get better control over sugar levels, it may be that some folks will not have to take glucose tablets often. Doctors are quick to point out that they shouldn’t avoid taking glucose if needed. Low sugar levels may be just as dangerous as high sugar levels.

Prolonged high blood sugar may cause vision problems in diabetics.
Prolonged high blood sugar may cause vision problems in diabetics.

There are alternatives to taking glucose tablets that may be recommended. Doctors occasionally prescribe oral glucose to take in lieu of tablets. This is usually on a preference basis, and may have to do with people’s either like or dislike of tablet taste. Tablets do taste sweet, and a number of them are fruit flavored. The sugar taste has been described as empty and not as satisfying as table sugar, though it is sweeter.

Confusion and heart palpitations are common symptoms of hypoglycemia.
Confusion and heart palpitations are common symptoms of hypoglycemia.

A few folks regulate glucose with glucose candies or a variety of snack bars and cookies instead of using glucose tablets. Inappropriate substitutions include candies, bars or the like that contain sucrose or fructose instead, though these might be used in emergency settings. Sucrose and fructose substitutes don’t contain anywhere near the amount of blood sugar that plain glucose does, and the body must work hard to convert these sugars when they are ingested.

Changes in blood glucose levels may cause diabetic patients to experience fatigue.
Changes in blood glucose levels may cause diabetic patients to experience fatigue.
A person should follow a doctor's advice when it comes to the strength of the glucose tablets they take.
A person should follow a doctor's advice when it comes to the strength of the glucose tablets they take.
Glucose tablets may be used when a diabetic has low blood sugar despite eating a healthy diet and taking the correct dosage of insulin.
Glucose tablets may be used when a diabetic has low blood sugar despite eating a healthy diet and taking the correct dosage of insulin.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

anon1001841

How many carbs are in one tablet and how does that translate in insulin? Thanks.

mandydances

I eat regular meals and light snacks, but I have to use glucose tablets for hypoglycemia. My sugar dips for no reason during the day. Even though I am doing everything right, my blood sugar still bottoms out. The tablets are a real life saver for me, and are better than eating a candy bar and work faster.

Vaclav

My mom always carries glucose tablets because sometimes she has low blood sugar. She skips meals all the time, which makes it worse. I have told her to eat three regular meals with light snacks in between to keep her blood sugar level. This is advice from her own doctor. I guess she would rather just depend on the glucose tablets.

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