Even if you are very careful, hypoglycemia is not always preventable. Early recognition and treatment are needed to prevent an emergency.Low Blood Sugar Reading

Possible Causes

  • Too much insulin
  • Too little food or delayed meal or snack (which can occur in a school setting fairly easily)
  • Unplanned physical activity (i.e. playing another game of tag or chasing a friend)
  • Illness
  • Certain medications


The symptoms of low blood glucose range from mild to severe.

Mild Moderate Severe
Hunger Confusion  Seizures 
Weakness Restlessness  Coma
Becoming Pale Yawning  
Blurry Vision  Irritability   
Fast Heart Rate Fatigue   
Sweating  Sudden Crying   
Dilated Pupils     
Difficulty Swallowing     


Treatment for Mild or Moderate Cases

If you suspect hypoglycemia, verify the blood glucose level with a test if possible. If in doubt, always treat. If no blood glucose meter is available, treat immediately.

Consume a fast-acting carbohydrate.

Test the blood glucose 10-15 minutes after treatment, if possible.

Repeat the treatment if the blood glucose remains low.

Fast-acting carbohydrates have 15 grams of carbohydrates:

  • 4 oz sweetened fruit juice
  • 3 or 4 glucose tablets
  • 1 tube of glucose gel
  • 4-6 small hard candies
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey or table sugar
  • 6 oz of regular soda (about half a can) – don’t use diet

Treatment may need to be repeated at 15-minute intervals. Be careful not to overdose on treatment, as the glucose levels will be too high later on.

Preventing Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is best prevented by the careful balance of food, activity, and medication. Timing is very important in all aspects of diabetes management. This can be challenging, but you can do it!