Low blood sugar

Low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia (‘hypo’ for short) can happen for a number of reasons. Usually, your blood glucose level will be around 4mmol/l if you’re hypo.

If you miss or delay a meal or snack, don’t eat enough carbohydrate, exercise too hard, drink alcohol, take too much medicine or if the weather’s hot, you might feel one or more of these symptoms:

  • excessive sweating
  • shaking
  • feeling weak or cold
  • paleness
  • headache
  • hunger
  • tingling lips and tongue
  • pounding heart
  • blurry vision
  • poor concentration
  • personality change, irritation or anger.

Treating low blood sugar

You should treat low blood sugar quickly by doing one of these steps:

  • Take five to six glucose or dextrose tablets.
  • Drink 90 to 120ml of Lucozade.
  • Drink three to four teaspoons of sugar dissolved in water.
  • Drink 150 to 200ml of a sugary fizzy drink (not sugar free).
  • Eat four to six jelly babies.

If you don’t feel better in 10 minutes, or if your blood glucose is still less than 4mmol/l, repeat one of the steps up to three times until your glucose level goes up.

Once your blood glucose level’s above 4mmol/l and you feel better, eat a small starchy snack like a large piece of a fruit, a couple of plain biscuits, a glass of milk or your usual meal, if it’s due.


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