A low blood sugar — hypoglycemia — can pose an immediate threat to our life. Defined as a reading below 70 mg/dl, low blood sugar levels need to be treated effectively and quickly.
Hi, everybody, Toby Smithson here with Diabetes Everyday. I just wanted to have a chat, a conversation with you in today’s video, because I see this as one of those Diabetes Everyday moments. What I wanted to talk to you about was lows, having low blood sugars, which is blood sugar of 70 or below. I’ve heard this a lot from my patients and it was an aha moment when I had a low just this morning. I wanted to present this information to you.
What is your low go-to treatment? Chocolate? Juice? Honey? or Sugar?
What I hear from my patients a lot is that they’ll grab things like really delicious favorite foods like Baby Ruth bars or a snack size of Three Musketeers, some kind of chocolate bar when they’re having a low. I know personally from experiencing lows that this is an opportunity that you want to have something really tasty. But we know that having something like a milk chocolate bar or chocolate will not raise your blood sugars quickly enough. It’s going to take a while because of the fat content in there. It’s going to take a while and then you’re going to start getting on a vicious cycle because then your blood sugars will probably be elevated and then you’re going to be fighting higher readings.
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That’s why we always say specifics. Half a cup of juice or a tablespoon of honey or a tablespoon of sugar. One of the little tricks is to try to have things that you’re not like dying to have, wanting to have really badly like chocolate. I got tired of having glucose tabs, so I started with something else that was in between, Smarties. What I know because of checking before and after having lows is that two of these little packs are 12 grams of straight carbohydrate. There’s no fat in here, so it will raise my blood sugar to the appropriate level, a safe level, above 70 when I’m having a low.
I know that that works for me. But I too started getting bored of, “Ugh, I’m low. I have to have that same old Smarties or whatever.” I thought, “Ooh, let me try something else.” I went with marshmallows because that spoke to me that, “Ooh, that’s really good.” I haven’t had marshmallows in a really long time and looking at the ingredients, I could treat a low with the marshmallows. What I found out is that if I used what the label says for a 15-gram portion, my blood sugars skyrocketed. They did go up, but too high.
The Trial and Error
What I found out from trial and error is that one marshmallow, which is only six grams of carbohydrate, according to the label, will raise my blood sugar. Sometimes, the six-gram carbohydrate portion of a marshmallow may raise it too high.
My message to you here with trial and error: Make sure you’re checking before and 15 minutes after, 20 minutes after to see how your blood sugar is affected by the treatment for a low.
A Tip For That Quick Grab
Something else that I did to help me out because you know when you’re low, that your mind isn’t really connecting. I could feel that it’s not connecting and it’s like a fright/flight theory that you’re just like rushing, “What can I have to bring my blood sugar up because it feels so uncomfortable?”
I actually put together in my pantry a little bin with things to treat my low so that I don’t have to put any extra thought into the process that I go right to this bin and I know that I could find things to treat my low. These are also non-perishable items that I put in here so I could also go to this bin for when I’m packing for a trip or when I’m going out and about. For my purse, I’m always carrying something to treat a low just in case.
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Just wanted to give you that message and hope this helps out.
Cheers to your health.
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