You find your fasting blood sugar level 45-69 mg/dL (2.5-3.3 mmol/L) including each numbers 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58. Then, you may ask: "Should I be worried about Hypoglycemia?". Here, I should stop and try to figure out your actual health concerns.
Since this is fasting hypoglycemia, it means that you supposed to have measured your blood sugar levels:
- after fasting for overnight
- after a physical activity
- or between meals
Since the beginning of this series of articles regarding blood sugar level 45-69 mg/dL (2.5-3.3 mmol/L), I will try to explain why such glucose oscillations for TWO main patient categories : I. Diabetics II. Healthy persons.
I. Most common causes of fasting blood sugar level 45-69 mg/dL (2.5-3.3 mmol/L) in diabetics involve:
a. Hypoglycemiant medications used to treat diabetes, especially if the dose of their meds is not balanced with diet and physical activity a diabetic has.
b. skipping meals
c. eating less food than usually
d. delaying the meals
e. increase physical activity
f. taking more drugs than usual
g. changing the time when the drug are being taken
2. In healthy people, without diabetes, we should look for following common causes of hypoglycemia:
a. Drinking a lot of alcoholic beverages, especially if no food is consumed
b. Diseases/conditions that damage the function of pancreas, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands or other organs
c. stomach surgeries
d. genetic metabolism disorders
e. critical diseases.
Depending on drops of fasting blood sugar level 45-69 mg/dL (2.5-3.3 mmol/L), the symptoms are divided into THREE main stages:
I. Mild (fasting blood sugar 55, 56, 57 ,58, 59 mg/dL): Tachycardia (increased heart beats); nervousness, unusual shakiness or sweating, tingling/numbness of fingertips/lips.
II. Moderate (fasting blood sugar 54, 53, 52, 51, 50, 49, 48, 47, 46, 45 mg/dL): The greater the blood glucose will fall, the more the nervous system is involved. So, symptoms are more related to affected nervous system like: headache, blurred vision, confusion, not able to concentrate or coordinate, drowsiness/weakness/fatigue.
As soon as you feel the symptoms of fasting hypoglycemia, you should take something sugary include:
- 3 or 4 sugar cubes
- a quarter cup of orange juice
- one third of cup with apple juice
- a quarter cup of raisins
- one tablespoon of molasses, corn syrup, or honey. I usually recommend my diabetic patients to bring sugar cubes or sugar candies with them and eat when they feel they go hypoglycemic. If at home, I always advise to take one tablespoon of honey.
After consuming something sugary, wait for 15 minutes to measure your blood sugar again. If still low, should get another sugar food/drink. If still low, then, medical advice is required.
I also advise my diabetic patients to wear bracelets with Diabetes sign or warn other people they live/work with about the symptoms of Hypoglycemia (explain the symptoms they might get and how the relatives/coworkers can help).
This is how to treat an acute episode of Fasting Hypoglycemia. The most important thing is to treat the underlying factor (illness or bad diet habits) that can cause blood sugar to drop.
To prevent future Fasting blood sugar to drop to 55, 54, 53, 52, 51, 50, 49, 48, 47, 46, 45 mg/dL, I recommend my diabetic patients to:
- always keep checking their blood sugar levels especially if they get unusual symptoms
- learn hypoglycemia symptoms
- teach the relatives and coworkers what they can do if they fall unconscious
- Work with your doctor to design the diet menu and physical activities to follow in balance with hypoglycemiant medications you are taking
While, non diabetic patients should get further tests done to understand what causes their blood sugar to get hypoglycemic and get treated adequately.
Thank you for following. Any suggestion/query is welcome.
Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc
Medically reviewed by Dr.Ruden Cakoni, MD, Endocrinologist