Health Care

Hypoglycemia: A Common Concern for People with Type 1 Diabetes

Choose the health content that’s right for you, and get it delivered right in your inbox.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin helps glucose, the body's primary source of energy, move from the bloodstream into the cells. However, without enough insulin, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream leading to high blood sugar levels and other health problems. But what happens when the blood sugar levels drop too low? That's when people with type 1 diabetes experience hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 5% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes and 30-50% of people with type 1 diabetes experience hypoglycemia. Skipping meals, taking too much insulin, increased physical activity, and alcohol consumption are some of the causes of hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia can bring on various symptoms, such as sweating, shakiness, hunger, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion, and irritability. If left untreated, hypoglycemia can progress to more serious symptoms like unconsciousness and seizures. That's why it's crucial for people with type 1 diabetes to know how to recognize the symptoms and how to treat low blood sugar levels.

Symptoms include:

• Sweating
• Shakiness
• Hunger
• Rapid heartbeat
• Dizziness
• Confusion
• Irritability

If you don't treat low blood sugar, it can lead to more severe symptoms, like unconsciousness and seizures.

The treatment for hypoglycemia can be as simple as consuming sugary foods or drinks, such as fruit juice, candy, or regular soda, taking glucose tablets or gels, or eating a small snack such as crackers or a granola bar can quickly raise blood sugar levels.

To prevent hypoglycemia, people with type 1 diabetes should:

• Monitor their blood sugar levels regularly
• Balance insulin doses with meals and physical activity
• Always carry fast-acting sugar sources with them
• Limit alcohol consumption or avoid it altogether

And remember, it's important to work closely with your healthcare team to manage your blood sugar levels and prevent hypoglycemia. This might mean adjusting your insulin doses, meal plans, and physical activity.

Recent Blogs

a photo of pam sain
Pam Sain | Daughter, Caregiver, Cancer Fighter
A woman researcher using a microscope.
FINE-ONE: New Hope for CKD and Type 1 Diabetes
Meet the Team | Kory Grench: Avid Health Champion
a photo of Dena Jalbert
Welcome Executive Board Member, Dena Jalbert
Volunteer of the Month | Sandra Hemstead
View More Articles