DIABETES type 1 sufferers sometimes need to maintain their blood sugar levels to avoid health problems. A slight fall in these levels is concerning but not life threatening, whereas an extreme reduction could be life threatening. Try eating this to maintain blood sugar levels.
Diabetes type 1 sufferers must immediately act to raise their blood sugar levels if they fall too low.
If blood sugar falls to “severe” low levels it could result in life-threatening seizures and nervous system damage.
Dr David Cavan, a diabetes consultant with 20 years experience, called on sufferers to eat 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate whenever their blood sugar levels dip below normal.
Writing in his book ‘Take Control of Type 1 Diabetes’, Dr Cavan said: “In order to increase the low blood sugar levels as soon as possible, the ideal option is a sugar-rich food or drink.
“It is recommended to eat a 15 gram fast-acting carbohydrate and then wait 10 – 15 minutes, re-test and if the sugar level is still below four mmol/l, treat again with a further 15 gram carbohydrate.”
Eating four jelly babies, three large marshmallows or six fruit pastilles could all provide enough carbohydrate to raise blood sugar, added Dr Cavan.
“Following this immediate treatment, if you are about to eat, then you should take your normal (or a slightly reduced) dose of insulin and eat straight away.
“If the hypo occurred between meals, it is advisable to have a small snack such as a piece of fruit for a sandwich, with no additional insulin.
“Once you have treated the hypo, try and identify what caused it.
He further said the only reason you have a hypoglycaemic moment, or hypo, is because there is too much insulin in the blood stream.
Common reasons for low blood sugar include taking too much insulin at mealtimes, having too much basal insulin or being more active than usual.
The NHS said low blood sugar can be “dangerous” if not treated promptly.
“It causes different symptoms for everybody. You’ll learn how it makes you feel if you keep getting it, although your symptoms may change over time.”
Early symptoms of the condition include feeling hungry, sweating and tingling lips.
“Hypos can also occur while sleeping, which may wake you up during the night or cause headaches, tiredness or damp sheets (from sweating) in the morning,” continued the NHS.
For diabetes type 1 sufferers, it could be possible to monitor blood sugar levels from their phone, using a continuous glucose monitoring device (CGM).
The dexcom G6 is one device that lets this happen through a “slim” sensor inserted beneath the skin, which transmits data to a mobile phone.
“The sensor is smaller than the tip of your knuckle,” said Karen Baxter, Senior UK director of Dexcom.
“It is stuck on with an adhesive plaster,” she added. “There’s a small insertion wound but it won’t leave any mark. In a study we did the majority of testers said this was painless and really easy to use.”
Although it is possible to get this device on the NHS, it isn’t recommended because there “isn’t enough evidence to show continuous blood glucose monitoring devices are cost-effective,” said NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.