Hypos can occur if you are taking tablets, (but not Metformin) insulin or both it is also possible for your blood glucose to fall below normal levels. If your blood glucose falls too low below 4mmols/l you are at risk of having a hypo.
A hypo can occur quite quickly if you have:
How to tell if you are having a hypo, look out for the following symptoms:
Others may notice that you are:
If there is a regular pattern of hypos, your insulin or tablet dose may need to be reduced.
If these symptoms are not treated then this may lead to unconsciousness
If you or someone who is with you is not sure if it is a “hypo” TAKE SOME GLUCOSE/ SUGAR - it will not harm you and will act within minutes to raise your blood glucose.
Within a few minutes these will raise your blood glucose levels
Sit down and wait 5 minutes
If you don’t feel better take more sugar
When you start to feel better eat your next meal early or have a good snack eat some starchy carbohydrate either as a snack or meal. eg. a sandwich, cereal bar, biscuit, yogurt, chapattis, rice, biscuits, bread or fruit to stop your sugar falling again.
If the hypo happens before a meal or snack, take the sugary drink or tablets and have your meal as soon as possible.
If you do not act on the symptoms quickly enough you may become confused / drowsy and need help to treat hypos. It is important that your family and friends know how to recognise your hypos and act immediately by giving you sugar. If this is not possible they could use the following:
If your blood glucose has dropped very quickly (if you missed some warning signs or did not take sugar quickly enough) then you may need help to treat your hypo.
“Glucogel” formerly known as Hypo Stop a thick glucose gel which is squirted into the side of the mouth. It is quickly absorbed through the lining of the cheek and can easily be administered by a relative or friend. It is available on prescription or can be bought from the chemist.
What to do, Use 2 tubes of Glucogel Hypo Stop. Put this inside of your cheeks and gently massage them from the outside
Glucogel is not available honey or treacle can be squirted between your teeth and cheek (make sure you rub your cheeks) it will raise your blood glucose and when you are able to swallow you should eat a snack or a meal.
Download the information leaflet about Glucogel at the bottom of the page.
N. B. DO NOT USE ON AN UNCONSCIOUS PERSON
If a person has a severe hypo and is unconscious, you must not give anything by mouth and if possible should put the person into the recovery position.
Some people who experience severe and unexpected hypos may be prescribed GLUCAGON to be given in an emergency.
If unconscious an injection of GLUCAGON should be given this helps to raise glucose levels by releasing glucose from stores in the liver. It can be obtained free on prescription and your diabetes specialist nurse will show a friend or relative how to give the injection and give advice and training.
The Glucagon injection takes about 15 minutes to work but only raises your blood glucose for a short time, so as soon as you are able, it is extremely important to replace blood glucose by drinking sugary drinks and eating starchy food- see the list above
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE GLUCAGON AT HOME OR IF GLUCAGON DOES NOT HELP CALL YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY OR RING 999 FOR AN AMBULANCE AND PARAMEDICS TO COME OUT