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Untreated hypoglycemia may lead to seizures or loss of consciousness. Overtreatment may lead to hyperglycemia.
Fatigue, irritability, and confusion are symptoms of both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. If unable to test blood glucose, treat the symptoms as hypoglycemia.undefined#ref3">3
Never give food or fluids to an unresponsive or uncooperative patient. Avoid administering chocolate because it contains fats that will inhibit the absorption of carbohydrates.
Hypoglycemia is abnormally low blood glucose that represents a risk of harm to the patient. Because glycemic thresholds for symptoms often shift, a single number value for hypoglycemia cannot be determined. However, a blood glucose reading of 70 mg/dl or lower functions as an alert for hypoglycemia.3
The most common cause of hypoglycemia is an insulin reaction. Other causes are delayed food intake, exercise, alcohol consumption, and overmedication with sulfonylureas. Signs and symptoms can develop rapidly and demand immediate action. In the home setting, the nurse should summon emergency medical services (EMS) if the patient does not respond to treatment or shows other signs of condition deterioration.
Rationale: Obtaining an accurate blood glucose reading may not be possible with a confused or uncooperative patient.3
Do not give food or fluids to an unresponsive or uncooperative patient.
Rationale: The monitor may read LLL or LOW (rather than a number) if the patient’s blood glucose level is below a certain level, depending on the manufacturer.
Avoid chocolate because it contains fats that will inhibit absorption of carbohydrates.
American Diabetes Association® (ADA). (2019). Standards of medical care in diabetes—2019. Abridged for primary care providers. Clinical Diabetes, 37(1), 11-34. doi:10.2337/diaclin.33.2.97
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