Severe diabetic ketoacidosis can cause difficulty
breathing, brain swelling (cerebral edema), coma, or death. But by taking your
insulin regularly and keeping your blood sugar levels in your target range, you
can avoid DKA.
The main symptoms of low blood sugar from diabetes
- Sweating (almost always present).
- Nervousness, shakiness, and weakness.
Dizziness and headache.
- Confusion and irritability.
- Slurred speech.
Low blood sugar occurs when the sugar (glucose) level in
your blood drops below what your body needs to function normally. Not eating
enough food or skipping meals, taking too much medicine (insulin), exercising
more than usual, or taking certain medicines that lower blood sugar can cause
your blood sugar to drop rapidly.
If your blood sugar level drops
very low (usually below 20 mg/dL), you may
lose consciousness or have a
seizure. Eating or drinking something that contains
sugar usually can bring your blood sugar back up to a safe level. But if you
have symptoms of severe low blood sugar, you need medical care
What tests do I need for diabetes?
You need to
test your blood sugar 3 or more times a day to make sure it falls within the
target range you and your doctor set. You use a home glucose monitor to do
At first, you will keep in close touch with your
doctor while finding the right dose of insulin that best keeps your blood sugar
levels within your target range. When your blood sugar levels are staying
within this range, you will see your doctor about every 3 to 6
months. During these checkups, your doctor will look at your treatment to see
how well it is controlling your diabetes. If your treatment isn't working very
well, your doctor may have you try different things. You will also start having
a A1c test to find out what your average blood sugar level was
during the 2 to 3 months before your visit. This test checks your long-term
blood sugar control.
You also need to have regular tests to check
blood pressure and
cholesterol levels, because high levels increase your
risk of diabetes complications.
How is it treated?
You will take insulin
injections daily or use an
insulin pump. Treatment for type 1 diabetes focuses on
keeping your blood sugar levels within your target range. This is called
tight control. It is the best way to reduce your risk of diabetes
complications. But some people-such as those whose blood sugar drops too low
with tight control-may need to set a different target range with their
A target range for blood sugar is 70 mg/dL to
130 mg/dL before eating or less than 180 mg/dL 1 to 2 hours after eating. It
also may be measured as an A1c of less than 7%. This is a test of your blood sugar control for the past 2 to 3 months.