How to Treat Low Blood Sugar: First Aid Treatment

Diabetes is a common medical condition that causes elevated blood sugar levels in the body. In the previous section, we looked at the symptoms and treatment of elevated blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). In this section, we'll discuss what happens when blood sugar levels fall too low. Why might this happen? The main treatment for type 1 diabetes is the administration of insulin, via either regular injections or a continuous pump, and the regular monitoring of blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes may also be treated with insulin, often in combination with oral medications. People who administer insulin for diabetes (either type 1 or type 2) are at risk of developing low blood sugar levels. This can occur if too much insulin is administered or the person misses a meal after taking his or her insulin.

Medical Terminology

Hypoglycemia is the term for low blood sugar.

Testing Blood Sugar Levels

People with diabetes may carry a portable blood sugar monitoring kit. This allows them to check their blood sugar levels and can detect hyper- and hypoglycemia.

Signs and Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar

◾ Change in behavior (for example, irritability and aggression); these symptoms can mimic alcohol intoxication

◾ Confusion

◾ Excessive sweating

◾ Headache

◾ Reduced level of consciousness

◾ Seizures

First Aid Treatment for Low Blood Sugar

1. If the victim is conscious and able to swallow, give sugar by mouth using glucose tablets or a sugary drink.

2. Monitor the victim for ten to fifteen minutes; the symptoms should gradually resolve.

3. Encourage the victim to test his own blood sugar levels if he is able to do so.

4. If the symptoms do not resolve, or the victim deteriorates, call EMS.

Do not give sugar to a victim who is not fully conscious, or who is unable to swallow. There is a risk of the victim choking in this situation. Instead, immediately call EMS and be prepared to place the victim in the recovery position