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Understanding Hypoglycemia in Diabetes

Hypoglycemia is a clinical state with low glucose concentration in the blood, usually associated with giddiness, weakness, anxiety, irritability, hunger, palpitation, blurred vision, headache, inability to concentrate, loss of memory, and in severe cases, paralysis, seizures or coma. Patients with diabetes start getting symptoms of hypoglycemia when the sugar levels drop below 70 mg/dl but this can vary widely from person to person. Hypoglycemia usually occurs when a meal is missed or delayed, following unaccustomed heavy exercise or when too high a dose of insulin or diabetes tablets is taken in error.

Management of hypoglycemia is important and the patients are advised to carry an ID card stating that they have diabetes to avail help in case of any emergencies. If the patient is conscious, oral glucose (20-30g) in the form of sugar, candy or orange juice can be given. If the patient is unconscious, medical help should be sought immediately.

Prevention of hypoglycemia is vital and the following strategies can be adopted

Maintain regularity in diet, insulin or diabetes tablets and exercise. Adhere to a five-meal pattern every day. Do regular blood glucose monitoring. Always carry sugar, candy etc. wherever you go.
If advised by your doctor, keep glucagon available at home for use in case of emergency. When you are going out, always carry an identification card.

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