5 ways to treat low blood sugar
There are many ways I have treated a low blood glucose (BG) over the 10 plus years I have lived with type 1 diabetes, and I’ve determined how quickly my body reacts to particular items. Depending on my low, I use a different item to treat it, but always aim for 15 grams of fast acting carbohydrates. For example, if my blood sugar is beginning to trend low, then I will treat with candy, but if my blood sugar is already low (below 70 mg/dL for myself), I will treat with juice. However, I always try to be prepared and have either candy, juice, or glucose tabs with me at all times.
Below are five different ways I treat a low blood sugar.
1. Hard Candy
When I receive a Low Predicted Alert from my MiniMed 530G that my blood sugar is beginning to trend low, I will grab hard candy, such as a bag of Skittles, and eat about 15 pieces. Over my 10+ years of living with type 1 diabetes, I have been able to estimate the amount of Skittles needed to raise my blood sugar to my desired levels. I prefer using hard candy to help treat a low because they are easy to carry and store. For example, my wife always carries a small ziplock bag full of them in her purse. That way, no matter where we are, if a low blood sugar hits, I am prepared. I also take a small bag with me whenever I travel, golf, attend meetings, etc.
Juice is my preferred method of treating a low when my blood sugar levels have gone below 70 mg/dL and are trending low. I prefer this method because it is fast acting for me. For example, in the middle of the night, if I have a low blood sugar and wake up from the Threshold Suspend alarm, I know I need glucose fast, so will drink a half cup of orange juice, apple juice, or any other type of juice we have in the house at that particular time. Also, if I am going to be in a long meeting, playing a round of golf, or even on a plane, I will be sure to have some sort of access to juice.
I use regular soda to treat a low similar to how I use juice. If soda is available instead of juice, then I just switch the two out. However, there is a more specific time I use regular soda to treat a low blood sugar. For example, if I am heading to a restaurant and I’m going low and I don’t feel like I have enough time until the food comes, I will order a regular soda. And since there are so many different options of regular soda than diet, I also treat this as an opportunity to indulge in the flavors of soda I don’t usually have the pleasures of enjoying.
4. Glucose Tabs
I carry glucose tabs with me everywhere I go; they’re easy to carry and store. As with all of these different ways to treat a low, I use glucose tabs for specific situations. If my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) shows I am at the very bottom of my low range, but I know I am not going to be eating for a while or will be doing some form of activity, then I test my BG and then eat a few glucose tabs. The amount is based on my 10 years of personal experience of how my body reacts to glucose tabs.
5. Glucose Gel Packs
I don’t frequently use glucose gel packs, but they are an effective way to treat a low blood sugar. I have used this in the past in a situation where my blood sugar was at an extreme low, and I did not have the strength to chew hard candy or drink juice. These can also be carried and stored pretty easily like glucose tabs.
What are some of the ways or special indulgences that you use to treat a low blood sugar? Whichever way you chose to raise your BG level, try to not overtreat, as it could leave you with high BG levels.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems. MiniMed 530G with Enlite is intended for the delivery of insulin and continuous glucose monitoring for the management of diabetes mellitus by persons 16 years of age or older who require insulin.
Pump therapy is not recommended for people who are unwilling or unable to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day. Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to making adjustments to diabetes therapy. MiniMed 530G with Enlite is not intended to be used directly for preventing or treating hypoglycemia but to suspend insulin delivery when the user is unable to respond to the Threshold Suspend alarm and take measures to prevent or treat hypoglycemia themselves.
Please visit MedtronicDiabetes.com/isi for more details.
WARNING: The Threshold Suspend feature will cause the pump to temporarily suspend insulin delivery for two hours when the sensor glucose reaches a set threshold. Under some conditions of use the pump can suspend again resulting in very limited insulin delivery. Prolonged suspension can increase the risk of serious hyperglycemia, ketosis, and ketoacidosis. Before using the Threshold Suspend feature, it is important to read the Threshold Suspend information in the MiniMed 530G System User Guide and discuss proper use of the Threshold Suspend feature with your healthcare provider.