Here’s what you need to know about glucose tablets.
There are currently more than 34 million Americans living with diabetes. While we all have different treatment plans to manage our disease, there’s one thing that everyone with diabetes has in common, and that’s the goal to maintain proper blood glucose levels.
If blood sugar becomes too high, we enter a dangerous hyperglycemic stage. If it becomes too low, we enter a hypoglycemic stage. In this post, we’ll focus on hypoglycemia and discuss one of the easiest and most effective ways to treat it - glucose tablets.
What are glucose tablets?
Glucose tablets are a chewable dose of fast-acting glucose designed to rapidly elevate low blood sugar levels and bring them back into the normal range. Glucose tablets come in a variety of flavors, including raspberry and orange, and are made specifically to treat episodes of low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia.
What is hypoglycemia?
For individuals with diabetes, hypoglycemia is generally defined as the point at which blood sugar levels drop to less than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). For the record, normal blood sugar levels usually range anywhere from 70 mg/dL to 140 mg/dL. Hypoglycemia can occur for a number of reasons, including skipping meals, performing extreme physical activity, or experiencing a reaction to medication. So, what’s the big deal about hypoglycemia?
Dangers of hypoglycemia
Let’s start by saying that in most instances hypoglycemia is easily treated and glucose tabs are widely considered to be the best and safest way to do it. We’ll dig deeper into why further in this post. Now, however, let’s talk about the dangers of untreated hypoglycemia. One of the biggest is that hypoglycemia often occurs without any telltale symptoms. This results in what’s called “hypoglycemia unawareness” and it’s exactly what the name suggests. You don’t know you are experience low blood sugar because you are not feeling any clear symptoms. This is one of the most troubling aspects of low blood sugar and one reason why it is so important to test your blood sugar regularly, using either a glucose meter and test strips or a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device.
If symptoms do present themselves in the early stages of hypoglycemia, they might include:
– irritability or anxiousness
The real dangers of low blood sugar occur when it is left untreated. These can include:
– blurred vision
– slurred speech
– passing out
– even death
Why glucose tablets?
Glucose tablets are used to raise low blood sugar levels back safely and quickly into the normal range. You might be aware that low blood sugar can also be treated by eating a few pieces of candy or drinking a diet soda. While this is true, there are some distinct advantages glucose tablets have over these sweets and it starts with the 15-15 rule for treating hypoglycemia.
The 15-15 rule for treating hypoglycemia
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests a pretty simple method for treating hypoglycemia known as the 15-15 rule. It goes like this - if you test for low blood sugar, consume 15 grams of carbohydrates, wait 15 minutes and retest your blood sugar. If it’s still low, consume 15 more grams of carbohydrates and retest again. Repeat the process until your blood sugar is above 70 mg/dL.
Sounds simple enough, right? It is, however, not all carbohydrates are created equal and there are some important reasons you’re better off using glucose tablets than other carbs.
First of all, glucose tablets are fast-acting. In other words, they are specifically formulated to be absorbed into the blood stream rapidly. This is a tremendous advantage over a candy bar or other diabetic snacks that may take some time before they’re absorbed into the bloodstream. Remember, following the 15-15 rule, you’re supposed to test your blood sugar 15 minutes after consuming your carbs. But what if it takes longer than 15 minutes for those carbs to be absorbed?
Here’s what will happen. You’ll test low, follow the rule, and consume more carbs. Unfortunately, this may be the wrong thing to do if the carbs you ate on the first go round just haven’t kicked in yet. In this case, you might even end up eating too many carbs and push yourself toward hyperglycemia.
This doesn’t happen with glucose tablets. Because they are fast-acting, you can be sure of your blood sugar reading.
The added advantage of exact measurements
Here’s another reason to go with glucose tablets. Each one contains an exact amount of carbohydrates, usually 4 milligrams, so it’s easy to measure out your 15 milligrams of carbohydrates - just chew four tablets (yes, that’s 16 milligrams but the difference is so miniscule it will not have an impact on effectiveness)
Glucose tablets are a lot more accurate than guessing how many carbs you’re consuming by eating candy or drinking a few ounces of orange juice. While there’s nothing wrong with using other forms of carbohydrates, nothing beats the convenience and peace-of-mind that come with having glucose tablets should you experience a hypoglycemic episode.
Are you prone to hypoglycemia?
If you’re among the many individuals with diabetes who find it difficult to maintain consistent blood sugar levels and regularly experience sudden lows, glucose tablets might be a great treatment option. Talk to your diabetes physician to find out if carrying glucose tabs is right for you.
Purchasing glucose tablets
While it’s always important to speak with your diabetes physician and care team before making any changes to your diabetes treatment plan, glucose tablets do not require a prescription. You can purchase them over the counter at your local pharmacy or, better yet, save a few dollars and shop online right here at Diabetic Warehouse!
It’s also important to note that glucose tablets don’t last forever. They have an expiration date which will be clearly labeled on the packaging. Never use expired tabs as they may not retain their effectiveness.
Ask your doctor about glucose tablets
If you’re looking for a more effective way to manage frequent low blood sugar episodes or appreciate knowing you have what you need in case you do, ask your diabetes physician about glucose tablets. Hypoglycemia can become serious if not treated promptly and properly. Glucose tablets might be the answer for you.
We hope you found this post informative and helpful. At Diabetic Warehouse, we committed to keeping you up to date with the latest news and insights on living with diabetes.
Visit us online to shop for glucose tablets, glucose meters, test strips, lancets, insulin syringes, pen needles, infusion sets, continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGM), blood pressure monitors, and all your diabetic accessories.
Diabetic Warehouse is a trusted supplier of diabetes care products and accessories. For more information and to explore a complete range of products, including glucose meters and test strips, insulin syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and more, visit www.diabeticwarehouse.org.