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Manage low blood sugar with the ‘Rule of 15’

"An increased blood sugar level is dangerous. But, did you know that a lower blood sugar level (than normal) is even more dangerous?" asked the expert

low blood sugarLow blood sugar? Try the 'Rule of 15' (Source: Pixabay)

People with high glucose levels tend to cut down on carbs in a bid to manage their diabetes. However, this puts one at risk of hypoglycemia — a condition in which the body’s blood sugar level is lower than the standard range — according to dietitian Garima. Speaking about the same, the expert said on Instagram, “An increased blood sugar level is dangerous. But, did you know that a lower blood sugar level (than normal) is even more dangerous?”

In hypoglycemia, the blood sugar level declines to 6-70 mg/dl, she said, adding that, in some cases, it is even lower. “If it is less than 40, a patient can go into a coma.”

 

Why does it happen?

According to the dietitian, the condition occurs if you are not eating enough, taking too much insulin, are excessively physically active, or drink too much alcohol. “The patient may sweat a lot, experience chills and headache, crave savoury food items and, in many cases, lose consciousness,” she added, describing the possible symptoms of hypoglycemia.

Rule of 15

Garima suggested following the ‘Rule of 15’ if your blood sugar has declined below the standard range. Wondering what is it? She described it as follows.

*Check your blood sugar levels.
*If sugar is less than 70 mg/dl, follow the rule of 15 which means “eating 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates that can be 3 tsp of sugar, glucose or honey, half cup of non-diet coke, or 3 toffees”.

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*Wait for 15 minutes.
*Recheck your sugar levels. If it’s not better, repeat the rule of 15 till blood glucose is more than 100 mg/dl.

According to Dr KS Brar, Endocrinologist and Diabetologist,  Narayana Superspeciality Hospital,  Gurugram, the technique, also known as the 15-15 rule, is effective when the blood sugar falls below 70 mg/dL. “When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down and converts them to glucose. This elevates blood sugar levels by increasing the level of glucose in the blood,” he said.

However, if your blood sugar is under 55 mg/dL, you shouldn’t apply the rule of 15, Dr Brar said.

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“Young children usually need less than 15 grams of carbs to fix a low blood glucose level: infants may need 6 grams, toddlers may need 8 grams, and small children may need 10 grams. This needs to be individualised for the patient, so discuss the amount needed with your diabetes team,” according to American Diabetes Association.

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First published on: 02-09-2022 at 09:10 IST
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