How to Recognize and Treat Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a common concern for individuals with diabetes. In this third article of our “Diabetes Health and Wellness” series, we will discuss the signs of hypoglycemia, potential causes, and appropriate treatment options. Please note that this information is not intended as medical advice, and you should consult with your healthcare provider for personalized treatment recommendations.

Recognizing the Signs of Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels drop below the normal range, typically below 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L)[1]. Symptoms can vary, but common signs include:
• Shakiness
• Dizziness
• Sweating
• Hunger
• Irritability or moodiness
• Rapid heartbeat
• Confusion or difficulty concentrating
• Blurred vision
• Headache
• Weakness or fatigue[2]

Causes of Hypoglycemia
Several factors can contribute to hypoglycemia in people with diabetes, including:
• Insufficient food intake, especially carbohydrates
• Delayed or skipped meals
• Excessive physical activity without adjusting carbohydrate intake or medication
• Taking too much insulin or other glucose-lowering medications[3]

Treating Hypoglycemia
If you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia, follow the “15-15 Rule” as a general guideline:
Consume 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates, such as:
• 4 glucose tablets
• 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey
• 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of fruit juice or regular soda (not diet)
• 8 ounces of nonfat or 1% milk
Wait 15 minutes, then check your blood sugar level.

If your blood sugar remains below 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L), consume another 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and recheck your blood sugar after another 15 minutes.
Repeat these steps until your blood sugar reaches a safe level[4].
Once your blood sugar has stabilized, consume a small snack or meal containing carbohydrates and protein to prevent another drop in blood sugar[5].

Preventing Hypoglycemia
To minimize the risk of hypoglycemia, consider the following strategies:
• Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly as recommended by your healthcare provider.
• Follow a consistent meal and snack schedule, ensuring adequate carbohydrate intake.
• Adjust insulin or medication doses as needed, under the guidance of your healthcare provider.
Be mindful of physical activity levels and adjust carbohydrate intake or medication as needed[6].

Recognizing and treating hypoglycemia is essential for individuals with diabetes. By understanding the signs and causes of low blood sugar, you can take appropriate action and prevent potential complications. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice and treatment options.


[1] American Diabetes Association. (2019). Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Retrieved from
[2] Mayo Clinic. (2020). Hypoglycemia. Retrieved from
[3] Cryer, P. E. (2007). Hypoglycemia, functional brain failure, and brain death. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 117(4), 868-870.
[4] American Diabetes Association. (2018). Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes-2018 Abridged for Primary Care Providers. Clinical Diabetes, 36(1), 14-37.
[5] Seaquist, E. R., Anderson, J., Childs, B., Cryer, P., Dagogo-Jack, S., Fish, L., … & Rizza, R. A. (2013). Hypoglycemia and diabetes: a report of a workgroup of the American Diabetes Association and the Endocrine Society. Diabetes Care, 36(5), 1384-1395.
[6] Yale, J. F., Dulude, H., Ebeling, P., et al. (2018). Hypoglycemia. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 42, S104-S108.

Legal Disclaimer:
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment. The information provided in this article is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the publication date but is subject to change as new research and developments occur. UtR Biotech and the author are not liable for any actions taken based on the information provided in this article.