Gestational Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar
What is an Actionset?
Women who take insulin shots or take the medicine glyburide are at risk for low blood sugar levels. Most women with gestational diabetes do not have problems with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). If your blood sugar (glucose) drops very low, make sure to get treated immediately so that neither you nor your baby is harmed.
Low blood sugar means that the level of sugar in your blood has dropped below what your body needs to function normally.
Most women with gestational diabetes do not have problems with low blood sugar. But if your blood sugar does drop, it can do so quickly (within 10 to 15 minutes). This usually happens 1 to 2 hours after you have had a shot of fast-acting insulin. Low blood sugar can occur if you:
Even if your blood sugar level reading is normal, you may have symptoms of low blood sugar if your level is suddenly lower than usual. For example, if your blood sugar level has been more than 200 mg/dL for a week and the level drops suddenly to 70 mg/dL, you may have symptoms of low blood sugar.
Test Your Knowledge
Low blood sugar means that the level of sugar in the blood has dropped below what the body needs to function normally.
Low blood sugar can develop because I have:
Exercised more than usual, not eaten enough food, or taken too much insulin.
Not slept enough, eaten too much candy, or watched TV all day.
There are three types of low blood sugar: mild, moderate, and severe. If your blood sugar level falls below 55 mg/dL, your body reacts in the same way it does when you feel very afraid, angry, or anxious. These symptoms of mild low blood sugar often last for only a short time if you eat food that contains sugar, which causes the blood sugar level to rise. An emergency is not likely to develop, and you and your baby will not have any long-lasting effects.
Do not drive a car or operate other machinery if you think that your blood sugar is low. You could harm yourself or someone else. Check your blood sugar before driving. Do not drive if your blood sugar level is less than 70 mg/dL.
If your blood sugar continues to drop (below 40 mg/dL), your brain may receive too little sugar to work well. Problems with judgment and muscle coordination are symptoms of moderate low blood sugar.
If your blood sugar drops below 20 mg/dL (severe low blood sugar), you could have a seizure or stop breathing, possibly harming your baby. You could also fall into a coma, have a stroke, or possibly die.
Test Your Knowledge
If my blood sugar level drops very low (below 20 mg/dL):
I can fall into a coma and possibly die.
I will act like I am okay.
I will be able to eat or drink something to raise it.
Here are some ways you can prevent and manage low blood sugar emergencies.
Although most women with gestational diabetes do not have problems with low blood sugar, you should always be prepared for the possibility.
Treat low blood sugar early
Treat low blood sugar levels as soon as the symptoms are noticed, whether by you or by someone else.
Test Your Knowledge
To be prepared for a low blood sugar emergency, I need to carry:
Some quick-sugar foods.
A protein bar.
If my blood sugar level is 50 mg/dL, I need to:
Call my doctor immediately.
Go to sleep and rest.
Follow the steps for dealing with low blood sugar.
Now that you have read this information, you are ready to prevent and treat low blood sugar levels effectively.
Talk with your doctor
If you have questions about this information, take it with you when you visit your doctor.
More information about diabetes can be found in these topics:
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