If you have diabetes, you know that feeling. The shaky, cold-sweating, butterflies-in-your-tummy feeling of low blood glucose. Symptoms of low blood sugar may vary from person to person. Maybe you become nauseated. Maybe you get dizzy. Either way, usually you know. Severe hypoglycemia is just one of the dangers of diabetes. Keep reading to learn how to help avoid this and other hazards.
Hypoglycemia is defined as a blood glucose level of 70 or below. Severe hypoglycemia is defined as having a blood glucose level that is so low, you need help from someone else to treat it.
When you have severe hypoglycemia, you will need someone to give you a glucagon injection to help you recover. Glucagon is available with a prescription. It is a hormone that causes your liver to release stored glucose into the blood stream.
When injected, the glucagon will help bring your blood glucose level back to normal and help you recover. Check out the image to the left for instructions on how to prepare and give the glucagon injection. Your family, friends, and co-workers should all know how to administer the injection in case of an emergency.
Another danger of diabetes is the body’s inability to heal. When your blood sugar levels are out of control, you could have poor circulation. With poor circulation, the body has a more difficult time healing. Cuts can get infected and lead to illness.
If you have a cut on the bottom of your foot or somewhere where you cannot feel it and it gets infected, you could lose your foot.
Diabetic Retinopathy is a disease of the eyes. This happens when the tiny blood vessels of the retina burst, causing hemorrhages (bleeding) in the eyes.
If not treated or controlled (by controlling your blood glucose levels), this can cause vision loss or blindness.
Nerve damage caused by high blood glucose levels is called diabetic neuropathy. Symptoms include pain, numbness, tingling, and/or loss of feeling. This usually effects the legs, feet, and hands.
This can be prevented if you maintain control of your blood glucose levels.
Kidney damage can happen when the small blood vessels of the kidneys can no longer filter out waste from the blood. This occurs with uncontrolled blood sugars over time.
Eventually you could require kidney dialysis to filter your blood through a machine. You can prevent this, again, by keeping your blood glucose levels under control.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
CHF is when the heart is weakened and doesn’t pump as much blood as it should around the body. If the left side of the heart is affected, fluid will build up in your heart and lungs. If the right side is affected, fluid will build up in your legs and feet.
According to Diabetes Self-Management magazine (here), this can cause coughing, fluid retention, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and weight gain. The good news is, with exercise and good blood glucose control, you can reverse congestive heart failure!
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)
Perhaps the most dangerous hazard for diabetic patients is DKA. Severe hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) causes this condition. When this happens, rapid fat loss occurs in the body.
While this may sound great to some people, the danger comes from the byproduct of the fat breaking down. As the fat breaks down, it releases fatty acids which the body converts into ketones. These ketones are highly toxic in large doses.
Symptoms of DKA can include hyperventilation, dehydration, nausea, and pneumonia-like symptoms. Eventually it can lead to death if it goes untreated.
You can prevent these conditions with good blood glucose control. Part of being diabetic is learning how to regulate your blood sugar levels using medications, food, and exercise.
You have to learn how food affects your blood sugar, because it’s slightly different for everyone. It is imperative to learn how to count carbohydrates if you take insulin.
You also need to get a good idea of your level of insulin resistance. This will help you know how much insulin you may need to control your blood glucose for the amount of carbs you are eating.
For more detailed information on diabetes and treatment options, check out my blogs HERE and HERE. Diabetes is a serious disease that you cannot ignore. It will not go away, but you can control it with care and knowledge.
If you’re looking for a little something to boost your blood sugar control, try Bioterra Herbs’ Blood Glucose supplement. It’s all-natural and full of herbal goodness! Click the image to the right for a link to purchase the product!