Thanks to the help of her diabetes educator, Erma can outsmart sugar dips all day, every day.
The turning point for Erma Marshall was the night she woke up sweaty and shaky and had to lean on the walls just to reach the kitchen. “My blood sugar was so low, I was about to collapse,” the 59-year-old Aurora, CO, resident recalls. “Thank God for walls!” Because it wasn’t a moment she wanted to repeat, Erma turned to her diabetes educator, Jenny Madrid, for help.
Jenny advised Erma to keep a regular soda by her bed: “Eating or drinking something that contains sugar, like 4 oz. of soda, will raise your blood sugar quickly if you start to feel shaky, sweaty or grumpy—signs of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). You should then follow the rapid-acting snack with a more long-lasting food, such as a sandwich.”
Following Jenny’s advice has given Erma peace of mind—and tools she can use all day, every day, not just for while she’s sleeping. “My sugar once dropped while I was driving, so I now keep cranberry juice in my car with me. I learned that you need to have something with you at all times.”
What is hypoglycemia?
A drop in blood sugar.
What are the triggers?
Common causes include not eating enough, exercising on an empty stomach and taking too much insulin.
What are the warning signs?
Symptoms may include confusion, shakiness, cold sweats, blurry vision, pounding heart, headache and hunger.
Symptoms can lead to loss of consciousness, coma, brain damage and even death.
What if it happens?
You need 15+ grams of carbs—fast! Take 3 or 4 glucose tablets or drink 4 to 6 oz. of fruit juice.
Can I prevent it?
Ask about the right insulin dose for you, check your blood sugar levels often, eat regular meals and, if necessary, snack before physical activity.