Diabetic. Symptoms. Manage.

What to Do When Someone Has A Hypoglycemic Attack?

What is hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar level (less than 4mmol/L), where it is too low to support regular functioning of the body.

Why do I have hypoglycemia?

These are some of the possible reasons for hypoglycemia:
1. Excessive insulin injection or diabetes medication.
2. Eating too little food.
3. Delay or skipping meals.
4. Drinking large amount of alcohol or taking alcohol without food.
5. Increased physical activities without adequate food intake.

What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia?

Image result for symptoms of hypoglycemia

What should I do if I am having an episode of hypoglycemia (in a conscious state)?

1. Treat it with 15-20 grams of fast acting carbohydrates. In other words, consume a small amount of sweetened food immediately.

Some example of sweetened food:

  • 120ml of fruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon of honey/jam
  • 4-5 units of hard candies
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar dissolved in water
  • ½ can of regular soft drinks (non-diet)
  • 3-4 unit of glucose tablets

2. Retest blood sugar level after 10-15 minutes. If it remains low, repeat this exercise with the same amount of sweetened food.

3. Once your blood sugar returns to normal, you can have 15-20g of slow-acting carbohydrate to prevent a subsequent dip in blood sugar levels. You can also have some light snacks such as:

  • 3-4 pieces of cream crackers
  • 1-2 slices of bread (could make into sandwiches)
  • 1 glass (240ml) of milk



  • Always have some candies and biscuits in your bag/pocket/car so you will not get caught off guard.
  • Avoid using food or drinks containing artifical sweeteners to treat hypoglycemia as they do not contain enough sugar.
  • Do not feed an unconscious person with food or drinks. He/She must be taken to the nearest emergency room immediately for treatment.


1. Hypos and Hypers. Diabetes UK.[Cited 2017 July 26] Available from: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Complications/Hypos-Hypers/
2. Briscoe et al. Hypoglycemia in Type 1and Type 2 Diabetes: Physiology, Pathophysiology and Management. Clinical Diabetes, 2006; 24 (3): 115-121

Image Source: 
1. Created by Xb100 - Freepik.com

Diabetes, food, drink, hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, insulin, diabetic medication, carbohydrate

About The Author
Lee Jo Ee
Jo Ee holds a B.sc. (Hons) Nutrition and Dietetics from International Medical University, Malaysia. A clinical dietitian in a private hospital, she has vast experience in managing various cases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, nutrition support, kidney disease and so on in inpatient and outpatient settings.

Jo Ee regularly speaks at health talks and is active in different sports. She is amongst the finishers of Olympic Distance Triathlon.

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