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Treating Low Blood Sugar
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: This video will teach you how to manage and treat low blood sugar. Please watch the entire video before treating your low blood sugar, or if this is an emergency, start treating your low blood sugar as the video shows you what to do. After you eat food that contains carbohydrates, your body breaks it down into a sugar called glucose. The cells in your body use the sugar to produce the energy they need to function properly. Low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, happens when the glucose or sugar in your blood drops below normal levels or below the target range set by your doctor. Hypoglycemia may be caused by taking too much insulin or taking too much medication that raises your insulin levels, not eating enough food or waiting too long between meals, exercising too much, or drinking too much alcohol. Each person's reaction to low blood sugar is different. You need to know your own signs and symptoms. Common symptoms of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar include feeling shaky or dizzy, feeling moody or nervous, sweating, hunger, headache, anxiety, confusion, blurred vision, and weakness. If your hypoglycemia is not treated, your blood sugar may drop to a dangerously low level, requiring immediate emergency care. Managing and treating hypoglycemia involves checking your blood sugar and getting it back into your target range with some form of high sugar food or medicine. You will need a blood glucose meter, along with its associated materials and one fast-acting food source, containing 15 to 20 grams of sugar or carbohydrates, such as three or four glucose tablets. If you don't have glucose tablets, you can substitute one of these food sources-- four ounces of juice, a cup of milk, four ounces of regular soda, a tablespoon of sugar, or five small pieces of candy. Step 1. Check your blood sugar level using your glucose meter. Step 2. If your blood sugar is lower than 70 or lower than your target range, eat or drink one fast-acting source of sugar or carbohydrates. Step 3. Wait 15 minutes then check your blood sugar again. Step 4. If your blood sugar is still too low, repeat step 2 and step 3. Then check your blood sugar again. Step 5. After your blood sugar returns to your target range, if you have to wait 30 minutes or more before eating your next meal, eat a snack that contains protein and carbohydrates, such as crackers and peanut butter or half of a ham or turkey sandwich. Otherwise, be sure to follow your normal eating habits or meal plan. If you have treated your low blood sugar twice and your blood sugar remains below 70, call your health care provider right away. You can help prevent hypoglycemia by regularly checking your blood sugar, following your normal meal plan, not skipping meals, keeping a source of fast-acting sugar with you at all times, taking your diabetes medication as prescribed by your doctor, exercising regularly, and carrying and unexpired glucagon emergency kit if prescribed.