Experiencing hypoglycaemia can be frightening, and can result in a real fear of further hypoglycaemic events.
Hypoglycaemia can occur for a variety of reasons and is usually the result of excessive insulin in the body. This causes low glucose levels in the blood stream, taking away the critical source of energy that the body and brain need to function.
What causes a low?
Some of the main factors that can lead to hypoglycaemia are:
- Delayed or skipped meals
- Low carbohydrate meals or overestimation of meal carb content
- High fat meals
- Over bolusing (taking too much insulin)
- Alcohol consumption
- Inappropriate basal insulin dose
"Now I wear an insulin pump all the time and have almost forgotten what hypos are."
MILD AND SEVERE HYPOGLYCAEMIA
Hypoglycaemia (“hypos”) refers to when the blood glucose levels fall below 3.5 mmol/L, although the exact figure can vary between individuals. Hypoglycaemia can be mild or severe.
Mild hypoglycaemia: where the symptom can be felt and action can be taken to prevent it becoming worse by eating or drinking something containing carbohydrates.
Severe hypoglycaemia: requires assistance from another person and may need hospital treatment.
The fear of having lower blood glucose and the risk of hypoglycaemia can result in some people with Type 1 deliberately keeping glucose levels high to avoid going too low. However, over long periods of time, this self-induced hyperglycaemia can lead to complications. Better control of glucose levels, will help avoid both highs and lows.