First Aid Treatment for Hypoglycemia - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

First Aid Treatment for Hypoglycemia

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 18 Feb 2016 - 10:25


Hypoglycemia is a temporary condition caused by low blood sugar/ glucose levels resulting from a poor diet or production of excessive insulin. It can occur even in diabetic patients. Blood glucose helps provide the body with energy and its main source is food, especially carbohydrates.

Carbs gets stored in the body for use between meals, necessary for the body to function. Hypoglycemia is particularly common in diabetic people who cannot store and use glucose efficiently. Doctors usually suggest that diabetic people should have five short meals with short intervals throughout the day, in order to keep blood sugar levels even.

When blood glucose level drops below normal levels (80 – 100mg/dl or 4.4 – 5.5 mmol/l), the pancreas releases glucagon hormone, which mobilizes glycogen stores to break down into glucose for maintaining blood glucose levels. However, these stores have a limited capacity and can maintain blood glucose only for couple of hours. When they are exhausted blood glucose levels start to drop again, and when it drops below 40mg/dl (2.5mmol/l) the person will experience hypoglycemia symptoms indicating the need for external energy supply. If this warning is not addressed, blood glucose will further fall depriving brain cells of energy, ultimately leading to permanent damage and cell death. Hypoglycemia incidence is common condition and can be encountered every day life. Therefore, recognizing the condition and managing it with proper first aid is crucial to saving the life of the person.

Hypoglycemia Symptoms: Signs of hypoglycemia range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Extreme Hunger
  • Shaking and coldness
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Sudden loss of energy
  • Nervousness
  • Sleepiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Paralysis
  • Light headache
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Depression and fatigue
  • Loss of consciousness

First aid for Treating Hypoglycemia:

  1. Firstly, hypoglycemia can be managed by elevating the level of blood glucose. It can be achieved by giving oral sugar/ glucose, but as a first aid measure focus on supplying via oral route.
  2. Assure the patient and make him/her sit or lie on a comfortable position and a posture.
  3. Give him/ her either a cup of fruit juice or 5 hard candies or 3-4 teaspoons of sugar/glucose dissolved in water. This helps rejuvenate the balance of blood glucose in the system.
  4. Then follow with more substantial foods like sandwich, pastry, cake etc that provides protein, fat and complex carbohydrates.
  5. If the patient is unconscious, call emergency services immediately.
  6. If a non-diabetic patient is suffering from recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia, medical intervention is necessary. See the health care provider for further investigation.
  7. If the patient is diabetic, he may have glucometer with him/her. Check and monitor blood glucose levels to get idea about the prognosis and need for further management.

Causes for Hypoglycemia: The most common causes include:

  • Severe infections
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Fasting or skipping meals
  • Liver failure
  • Cancer
  • Kidney failure
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Stress
  • Insulin secreting tumor
  • Hepatoma
  • Infants with diabetic mothers
  • Excess secretion of insulin (Congenital hyper-insulinism)


Diabetic patients need to follow basic principles below, to prevent hypoglycemic episodes and promptly treat such an event.

  • Get an idea about the early warning signs of hypoglycemia such as hunger, sweating and shakiness.
  • Keep some chocolates, toffee, glucose pack or sweet tablets with you, whenever you step out of the house.
  • Avoid skipping your regular meals.
  • Try to avoid mental stress.

A balanced diet for low blood sugar: Hypoglycemia individuals should include foods rich in:

  • Chromium: Good amount of chromium is found in peas, oysters, potatoes, whole wheat bread, wheat germ and breakfast cereal.
  • Magnesium:  Broccoli, soybean, oat bran, prune juice, milk, yoghurt, tuna, dry figs, almond, pumpkin seeds and beans are a good source of magnesium
  • Vitamin B3: Foods rich in vitamin B3 include salmon, asparagus, mushroom and chicken breast that have been found beneficial in modifying blood sugar levels in hypoglycemia individuals.
  • Dietary fibers: Apple pectin, ground flax seed and psyllium are rich in fiber that helps regulate glucose in the blood. Hypoglycemia people should ingest about 25 to 40 grams of dietary fiber every day
  • Proteins: Proteins can be found in canned fish like tuna and salmon and also in nuts as well as cheese. Hypoglycemia patients should incorporate good amount of proteins in their regular diet.






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