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Symptoms of low blood sugar: how it feels to go low

Let’s talk about low blood sugar: the symptoms of low blood sugar, what it feels like, and what to do if you or someone you love experiences low blood sugar. Many diabetics will tell you that going low is the worst!

symptoms of low blood sugar

What is low blood sugar?

Here are 10 fast facts about hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). A hypo, as episodes of low blood sugar are known, is when your blood sugar is lower than 3.9mmol/l. It can make you feel strange, and it means you need to eat or drink something sugary very quickly to bring your blood sugar up. If you don’t treat low blood sugar it can lead to a diabetes emergency. You need to know how to test your blood sugar properly in order to get an accurate reading.

What are the symptoms of low blood sugar?

Everyone is different, but here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Feeling nervous
  • Sweating
  • Hunger
  • Trembling
  • Weakness
  • Heart beating very fast

As you can see from this post on Diabetic South Africans, everyone has different symptoms of low blood sugar.

Some other symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Can’t see properly
  • Can’t talk properly
  • Can’t think properly
  • Numb tongue
  • Dizzy
  • Hot and shivery

What to do to correct low blood sugar

It’s important to act fast to avoid a diabetes emergency. If your blood sugar is under 3.9mmol/l, eat a sugary snack.

  • A few sweets
  • 2 tablespoons of raisins
  • A tablespoon of honey
  • Half a cup of fruit juice
  • 5 Super C sweets

Wait for 10 minutes and test again. If your blood glucose readings are not above 5mmol/l then repeat and wait another 10 minutes until your blood sugar is over 5mmol/l. Here are some more tips on snacking to prevent low blood sugar.

If you have too many lows, it’s possible to develop hypoglycemic unawareness – where there are no signs of low blood sugar. If this happens, discuss your blood sugar control with your doctor. You may be running too low, and need to adjust your insulin with your doctor.

Join Diabetic South Africans

The most important thing to recognise is that you’re not alone in dealing with diabetes. Join our Facebook community, Diabetic South Africans, to meet other people with diabetes struggling with exactly the same things. We’re all in this together!

What to read next?

What is normal blood sugar? An explanation of what the normal range of blood sugar is, and what people with diabetes can do to achieve those numbers.

Symptoms of high blood sugar: Here’s what high blood sugar feels like, and some of the common symptoms.

10 fast facts about hypoglycemia: A quick guide to the medical facts of low blood sugar.

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

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  1. […] Most people eat their last meal of the day around 8pm and then fast through the night and morning until 1pm. You could also make this 7pm to 12pm (noon), or even have dinner at 6pm and then eat again at 11am. To burn fat, some people choose to exercise around 11am or noon – but people with diabetes need to be on the alert for low blood sugar. […]

  2. […] The goal for people with diabetes is 4mmol/l to 7mmol/l. Lower than 4mmol/l (and particularly lower than 3mmol/l) is low (hypoglycemia) which is immediately dangerous and can lead to an emergency situation where you lose consciousness (pass out). Here’s what low blood sugar feels like. […]

  3. […] animal won’t eat until their blood sugar is very low, and that very low blood sugar stimulates adrenalin, which makes you irritable, edgy, pessimistic, moody and hungry. And now you […]

  4. […] quite challenging. I have got it wrong in the past where I have underestimated and had a horrible hypo and also where I have eaten too many carbs to prevent a hypo and ended up sitting at 18 mmol/l by […]

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.