What do you do if you have a diabetes episode? A diabetes episode occurs when blood sugar levels fall too low. This could lead to very serious complications such as a seizure, coma, or even death. It is important, therefore, that diabetics keep high-carbohydrate snacks around all of the time. It is also important that those generally around the diabetic know what to do if a diabetes episode occurs.

One of the most important things to know about diabetes are the signs and symptoms that a diabetes episode is about to occur. According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • Hunger
  • Shakiness
  • Nervousness
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness


A diabetes episode may also happen while a person is a sleep. People who experience this report symptoms of crying out or having nightmares, finding their pajamas or sheets damp due to perspiration, and feeling confused, tired, or irritable after waking. A diabetes episode is most likely to occur when a diabetic skips or delays meals or snacks. Eating meals or snacks that are too small could also lead to hypoglycemia. Anytime a person exercises or is overly physically active, a diabetes episode is likely to occur. Alcoholic beverages can lead to a diabetes episode as well.


Preventing a Diabetes Episode


A diabetic must follow their diabetes treatments plans carefully in order to prevent a diabetes episode from occurring. You should understand which medications may cause hypoglycemia. Be sure that your health care provider that prescribes the medications explains to you how to take the medications properly, when to take the medications, and how to adjust the medications to fit your schedule and routines.

It is also a very good idea to meet with a dietitian to formulate a meal plan that fits your lifestyle. You should be careful to eat meals and snacks on schedule each day and to eat enough at each meal. Eating snacks before going to sleep or exercising is also important. In addition, when exercising or being physically active you should always adjust your medication properly and check your blood glucose levels beforehand, during, and after the activity.

Furthermore, you should never drink alcohol if you haven’t eaten. Heavy drinking is dangerous for people who take insulin or other medications that increase insulin production.  Drinking heavily can even cause you to have a diabetes episode a day or two later. If you are going to drink, you should always consume the alcohol along with a snack or meal. Your health care provider can assist you in knowing the best ways to include alcohol in your meal plan.


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