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Diabetes-Related High and Low Blood Sugar Levels (cont.)

Home Treatment

When you have diabetes, whether it is type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes, one of the most important skills you will learn is how to manage your blood sugar level. Following your doctor's instructions on the use of insulin or diabetes medicines, diet, and exercise will help you avoid blood sugar problems. You will learn to recognize the symptoms and distinguish between high and low blood sugar levels. It may be hard for a parent of a young child to distinguish the difference between high and low blood sugar symptoms in a child.

Learn the symptoms of high and low blood sugar levels.

When you have learned to recognize high or low blood sugar levels, you can take the appropriate steps to bring your blood sugar level back to your target blood sugar levels.

People who keep their blood sugar levels under control with diet, exercise, or oral diabetes medicines are less likely to have problems with high or low blood sugar levels. Do not drink alcohol if you have problems recognizing the early signs of low blood sugar.

Learn how to deal with high blood sugar levels

Be sure to know how fast your insulin medicine will work to bring your blood sugar down. Some insulins work very fast while regular insulin takes a little longer to bring the sugar level down. Knowing how fast your insulin works will keep you from using too much too quickly.

Learn how to deal with low blood sugar levels

Because you have diabetes and can have low blood sugar levels, you need to keep some type of food with you at all times that can quickly raise your blood sugar level. These should be quick-sugar foods (about 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrate) that puts glucose into your bloodstream in about 5 minutes. Any quick-sugar food on this list will raise your blood sugar about 30 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) in about 15 to 20 minutes. Be sure to check your blood sugar level again 15 minutes after eating a quick-sugar (carbohydrate) food to make sure your level is getting back to your target range. When your blood sugar gets to 70 mg/dL or higher, you can eat your normal meals and snacks.

Quick-sugar foods
Food Amount

Table sugar

1 tablespoon

Fruit juice or regular soda pop

½ cup

Fat-free milk

1 cup

Honey or corn syrup

1 tablespoon

Jam

2 tablespoons

Raisins

2 tablespoons

Gumdrops

7 small

Life Savers candy

8 pieces

Hard candy

3 pieces

Glucose tablets

3 tablets

Glucose gel

½ tube

It is important to know that sugar foods like a candy bar or ice cream do not help raise low blood sugar levels quickly, because these foods also have fat and protein. So the body can't use the sugar (carbohydrate) in these foods quickly to raise the blood sugar level.

Click here to view an Actionset.Diabetes in Children: Preventing Low Blood Sugar
Click here to view an Actionset.Diabetes in Children: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar
Click here to view an Actionset.Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar From Insulin
Click here to view an Actionset.Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar From Medicines
Click here to view an Actionset.Gestational Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar

Since low blood sugar levels can quickly become a medical emergency, be sure to wear medical identification, such as a medical alert braceletClick here to see an illustration., to let people know you have diabetes so they can get help for you.

If you have severe symptoms of low blood sugar, someone else may need to give you a shot of glucagonClick here to see an illustration.. If this occurs, be sure to call your doctor immediately to let him or her know this has happened.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

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