Death by Insulin

Strategies to minimize the risk of hypoglycemia

We addressed the patient risks of severe hypoglycemia in the first part of our blog series and followed it with the clinical consequences of severe hypoglycemia in last week’s blog. After looking at both scenarios, you may be thinking, ‘how can hypoglycemia be treated?’ and ‘what can be done to minimize the risk of hypoglycemia?’

The treatment for hypoglycemia is as follows:

  • 10-15 grams of carbohydrate for mild hypoglycemia
  • 15-30 grams of carbohydrate for moderate hypoglycemia
  • Severe hypoglycemia is treated the quickest with 25-50 grams of IV dextrose

Even though the above information offers treatment, the best treatment of hypoglycemia is prevention. Be prepared with the following:

  • Become familiar of signs and symptoms
  • Have scheduled meal and snack times
  • Always carry treatment
  • Wear a diabetes ID tag or Medic Alert tag
  • Monitor blood glucose regularly

If you experience unexplained or recurrent hypoglycemia, you should contact your healthcare team. Hypoglycemia can occur in patients with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or patients with no history of diabetes.  In these scenarios, insulin can be a lifesaver, however, if it is used incorrectly, it can be the killer.