Insulin Reaction: What You Should Know

Insulin is used to reduce the amount of sugar in your blood. However, if your sugar level drops too low, you’ll develop the symptoms of hypoglycemia, a potentially serious condition that is most common among insulin-dependent diabetics. The problem is often called an insulin reaction. Fortunately, prompt treatment will cure it.

Causes

You can drive down your blood sugar too far by missing a meal, eating too little, eating late, or exercising more vigorously than usual without eating extra food. Hypoglycemia can also be triggered by an infection, excessive doses of insulin, alcohol, and certain medicines.

Signs/Symptoms

Mild signs include headache, hunger, sweating, nervousness, problems staying focused, mood changes, and weakness. Moderate signs Include heavy sweating, increasing weakness, heart palpitations, memory loss, double vision, problems walking, and numbness in the area of the mouth and (possibly) the fingers. Severe signs include Seizures, fainting, muscle twitching, and passing urine unexpectedly.

Care

For mild hypoglycemia, you should drink a small glass of fruit juice, eat hard candy, or take a sugar tablet. A severe attack is an emergency. Make sure your family and friends know the signs and will get you to an emergency room if an attack occurs. They should call 911 or 0 (operator) for help.

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What You Should Do

  • If you have been treated at a hospital or doctor’s office, a friend or relative will need to drive you home.
  • In the future, check your blood sugar before driving.
  • Make sure to keep your blood sugar at the level recommended by your doctor. If your blood sugar drops below this level, you must eat immediately. Call your doctor if you need more information on monitoring your blood sugar at home.
  • Take orange or apple juice, sugar, or candies if you have any symptoms of low blood sugar. If you have time, check your blood sugar first.
  • Keep sugar (such as candies) and glucagon in your car and home.
  • Warn friends and family not to make you swallow anything if you pass out.
  • Check with your doctor before you resume exercise.
  • Eat regular meals and snacks using the diet suggested by your doctor.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol may lower your blood sugar.

Call Your Doctor If…

  • Your symptoms are not relieved by eating.
  • You have repeated attacks of low blood sugar.

Seek Care Immediately If…

  1. You cannot get something to eat and you feel you are going to pass out. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!

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