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What is Hypoglycaemia?

What is a Hypo: Hypo Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

 A hypo occurs when blood sugar falls below 70 mg/dl.

A hypo (hypoglycaemia) is triggered when blood sugar levels fall under 70 mg/dl.

Too much insulin or too little food can spark a hypo.

This guide details what hypoglycaemia is, how to recognise hypo symptoms, and what to do when you or your child is suffering from a hypo (hypoglycaemia).

What are the symptoms of hypo?

Symptoms of hypoglycaemia vary from person to person, but people with diabetes should learn to recognise their own signs to treat the hypo as quickly as possible.

Some of the most common symptoms of a hypo include:

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling hungry
  • A change in mood
  • Feeling sweaty
  • Trembling
  • Finding it hard to concentrate

What to do if you think you/your child is having a hypo?

If you, or your child, may be having a hypo, it’s often worth checking blood sugar levels as soon as the symptoms are noticed.

However, if testing could delay treating the hypo by more than a minute or two, it is better to treat the hypo immediately and test as soon after as you can.

Someone I know is having a hypo, what should I do?

If someone with diabetes is having a hypo and is conscious, they should initially treat a hypo with 15-20g of fast acting sugary food or drink, such as:

  • 5 glucose tablets
  • 150 to 200ml of a sugary fizzy drink (eg full sugar cola or lemonade)
  • 4 to 5 sugar lumps or teaspoons of sugar
  • 150 to 200ml of fruit juice

The priority is to bring blood glucose levels back up to normal as quickly as possible.

Chocolate can be used if little else is available. However, note that the fat in chocolate slows down how quickly the sugar gets broken down, so use sugary foods without fat in where possible.

If someone is unconscious or has a seizure this is a severe hypo.


Author- Preeti Jain (Dietician & Diabetes educator)  


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