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What is Hypoglycemia?

Recognition & Management of Hypoglycaemia

As your treatment plan becomes more effective in bringing your blood sugar within its target ranges, you may occasionally experience hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar reactions). These reactions occur because there is too much insulin in your blood stream and not enough sugar going to your brain and
muscles to help them function. Drug-induced hypoglycaemia is a major obstacle for individuals trying to achieve glycaemic targets.

A low blood sugar reaction can happen when:

  • You take your medication, but don't eat on time.
  • You don't eat enough for the medication that you have taken. 
  • You skip a meal.
  • You exercise more than usual.

Early warning signs and symptoms:








Irritability or moodiness


Anxiety or nervousness




Night-time symptoms

Diabetic hypoglycaemia can also occur while you sleep. Signs and symptoms, which can awaken you, include:

  • Damp sheets or bedclothes due to perspiration
  • Nightmares
  • Tiredness, irritability or confusion upon waking


Severe symptoms

If diabetic hypoglycaemia goes untreated, signs and symptoms of severe hypoglycaemia can occur. These include:

  • Clumsiness or jerky movements
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death

Take your symptoms seriously. Diabetic hypoglycaemia can increase the risk of serious — even deadly — accidents.

Identifying and correcting the factors contributing to hypoglycaemia, such as medications you take or irregular mealtimes, can prevent serious complications.

Hypoglycaemia can leave you confused or even unconscious, which requires emergency care.
Make sure your family, friends and co-workers know what to do.

Management of Hypoglycemia

If you think your blood sugar may be dipping too low, check your blood sugar level with a blood glucose meter. Then eat or drink something that's mostly sugar or carbohydrates to raise your blood sugar level quickly. Examples of foods that will raise your blood sugar level quickly include:

Five to six pieces of hard candy


Four ounces (120 milliliters) of fruit juice or regular — not diet — soda


One tablespoon (15 milliliters) of sugar, jelly or honey


Four glucose tablets (available without a prescription at most pharmacies)


A serving of glucose gel (read the label for amount)


Check your blood sugar level 15 to 20 minutes after eating or drinking something to raise your blood sugar. If it's still too low, eat or drink something sugary. When you feel better, eat meals and snacks as usual.



  1. Hypoglycemia [online]. Accessed on URL: [As accessed on 20th October 2020]

  2. Hypoglycemia (Low blood sugar) [online]. Accessed on URL: [As accessed on 20th October 2020]

  3. Diabetic hypoglycaemia [online]. Accessed on URL: [As accessed on 20th October 2020]

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