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5 Things You Need to Know About Hypoglycemic Attacks


Don't Panic

Although the symptoms of a hypoglycemic attack can be very painful and include shaking, sweating and extreme hunger, you can reverse them. Attacks don't typically cause any long-term damage, unless the hypoglycemia goes untreated for long periods of time. Simple steps like knowing your target blood glucose levels and the proper foods to eat will help you manage an attack. Paying attention to your body will also help you sense when an attack is first coming on--before it gets to a serious stage.

Rebound With Easily Absorbed Sugar

A quick sugar fix can reduce symptoms in the short-term, but it's best to prevent attacks with a well-balanced meal of protein and unrefined carbohydrates before they start. When you feel a hypoglycemic attack coming on, put down the cake, cookies and brownies--it takes too long for your body to absorb the sugar in those sweets. Instead, drink soda or juice. A tbsp. of sugar and hard candy like Lifesavers can also do the trick. Try taking 10 to 15 grams of glucose first (half can of soda and juice or about seven Lifesavers) and you should see improvements after about 10 minutes. If there is no response try a second and then third time if needed. If you don't see improvements after the third try, then call an ambulance.

Know Your Disease

Understanding how hypoglycemia works will make you better equipped to handle an attack. Low blood glucose occurs when the body doesn't have enough sugar in the cells, which it needs for energy. Typically people with diabetes or those with pancreas problems suffer from hypoglycemia because too much insulin (either administered as medication or produced by the pancreas). There are two types of symptoms that you may experience: Neurogenic and Neuroglycopenic. The first is characterized by anxiety and sweating due the release of stress hormones like epinephrine. The second are more severe and can include blurred vision, seizure and loss of consciousness.

Take Precautions Before the Attack

Eating a well-balanced diet and keeping your blood glucose levels in check is the best way to prevent a hypoglycemic attack. Checking your levels regularly will let you know if your blood glucose is reaching low levels before you start to feel symptoms. Keep food nearby so you don't have to worry about finding it while you are having an attack. Finally, wearing proper identification that tells doctors if you are diabetic or have pancreas problems can be a lifesaver, especially if your symptoms progress to the point that you are unable to tell the doctor yourself. Keep your diabetes bracelet and ID card on you.

Have a Buddy

If you are going to exercise, which lowers blood sugar, go with a friend and tell people when you are expected back. In the midst of a hypoglycemic attack it may be difficult to reach the food you have nearby. Having a buddy to get food, call a doctor or talk to medical professionals on the scene can be a stress reliever and help you overcome the attack faster. Make sure your friends are aware of your condition and know what to do in the event of an attack.

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