Hypoglycaemia (hypos) in type 1 diabetes

Sometimes, because of too much medication, eating too little, a missed or late meal, too much exercise, or drinking alcohol on an empty stomach, your blood glucose levels can drop too low. This is called hypoglycaemia, or often just a 'hypo'. You may feel faint, dizzy, or hungry, and can develop a rapid heartbeat and sweating.

This is a dangerous situation if your blood glucose falls too low for too long. The cells and tissues of your body won't get the glucose they need to function and you may lose consciousness and go into a coma, possibly resulting in brain damage or death.

Anyone with a hypo must have sugar immediately. Most people with diabetes carry sweets, glucose tablets or a glucose drink with them at all times. Frequent episodes of hypoglycaemia may mean that your diet, exercise plan and/or diabetes medicine (injected insulin) need to be changed.

If you have diabetes, it's a good idea to wear or carry an identification card, bracelet or neck tag in case you become unconscious due to hypoglycaemia. That way, you can be recognised in an emergency as having diabetes and treated with an injection of glucagon, a hormone that raises blood glucose levels.


Register with the National Diabetes Services Scheme

The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) can provide diabetes-related blood glucose monitoring equipment at subsidised prices, and provides information and support on a range of topics. Registration is free. Ring them on 1300 136 588 or visit www.ndss.com.au.

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