Treating Hypoglycemia

by Cassandra Merkling
(last updated September 8, 2009)

Hypoglycemia is different for many people and what works as a good treatment for some may not work so well for others. Generally, low blood glucose levels (also known as hypoglycemia) can be resolved with a quick fix treatment. This includes some kind of sugar. Some examples of different things that can help an individual who is hypoglycemic are:

  • Five or six pieces of hard candy
  • Glucose gel (one serving) or three or four glucose tablets
  • Eight ounces (or one cup) of milk
  • Four ounces (or a half a cup) of fruit juice or non-diet soda
  • A tablespoon of sugar or honey

Be sure to treat the hypoglycemia with a sugar or carbohydrate that is paired with very little fat and protein. Otherwise, the treatment will work too slowly to do any good. The best thing to do if you think you are having a problem with low blood glucose is to check it by taking a small blood sample and testing it with a meter. The goal is to get the blood glucose to at least 70 mg/dL.

Sometimes, it is too late for a quick-fix food to correct the problem because the person has passed out and/or is having a seizure and has a blood glucose that is much too low and may cause death. When this happens, there is an injection the passed out person can be given, which is called glucagon. This works even faster than quick-fix foods and can help an unconscious person suffering from hypoglycemia to regain consciousness. If there are paramedics nearby, the person who has hypoglycemia may receive an IV with Dextrose in it.

After the treatment has been applied (in whatever form that may take), the person who has hypoglycemia must be given something that is a longer-acting complex carbohydrate. Most people find that this amounts to something like half a sandwich.

It is important to make sure that hypoglycemia interferes with life as rarely as possible, so if you are experiencing low blood sugar often, you may find a benefit in changing the dosage of any medication or insulin you may be taking. Once you figure out the cause of the problem, you should be able to find a way to correct it.

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