Preventing and Treating Hypoglycemia

Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, MD, FRCPC, FACE, Endocrinologist, discusses Preventing and Treating Hypoglycemia.

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Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, MD, FRCPC, FACE, Endocrinologist, discusses Preventing and Treating Hypoglycemia.
Video transcript

Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, MD, FRCPC, FACE, Endocrinologist, discusses Preventing and Treating Hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar. It's extremely common in patients with diabetes, especially those taking insulin. It’s associated with typical signs and symptoms and it's really a barrier to the appropriate management of diabetes. Studies around the world have shown that hypoglycemia is incredibly common amongst insulin treated patients with diabetes. Roughly 87% of type I diabetics will have at least one episode of hypoglycemia, and about 43% of type II diabetes patients on insulin.

So you can see, as far as type I diabetes is concerned, it essentially affects everybody and at least half of the insulin treated type II diabetics. Hypoglycemia is not just incredibly common, it's a barrier to appropriate control of blood sugar in our patients with diabetes. We know that after an episode of hypoglycemia, our patients with diabetes will change behaviour because of fear of hypoglycemia, which will lead to elevated blood sugars.

And these include things like stopping exercise, snacking excessively, missing insulin doses or inappropriately reducing insulin. Patients with insulin treated diabetes need to be counseled about the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia.

We need to ensure that they take the proper amount of insulin, given the circumstances related to their food intake and exercise. It's appropriate to keep a log of hypoglycemic episodes and review this with the physician so that they can adjust therapy appropriately. And perhaps most importantly, patients need to be on a brand of insulin that minimizes the risk of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is often unrecognized and under reported by patients suffering from hypoglycemia.

So it’s very important that physicians take a detailed history to discover if the patient is having episodes of hypoglycemia.

In fact, many patients aren't aware of the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and will not deliberately report it to the physician unless asked appropriate questions. So we need to dig deeper into the story of hypoglycemia and then you’ll realize how under reported this condition is. Insulin brands that minimize the risk of hypoglycemia should be chosen in patients at risk of hypoglycemia.

And any patients with episodes of hypoglycemia need to discuss this with their healthcare provider and they should be counseled by members of the diabetes care team including pharmacists, dieticians, diabetes nurse educators or endocrinologists.

Presenter: Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, Endocrinologist, Thornhill, ON

Local Practitioners: Endocrinologist

Hypoglycemia Prevention - Video Quiz ( 214 participated.)

Understanding How To Prevent Hypoglycemia


Hypoglycemia is very common in diabetic patients taking insulin and can effect up to 87% of type 1 and 43% of type 2 diabetic patients. That’s nearly all of type 1 and half of type 2 diabetics.


Many patients taking insulin are unaware that they are experiencing the symptoms of hypoglycemia.


Hypoglycemia is the most common side effect of insulin treatment.


Having a hypoglycemic event has not been shown to affect the way a patient subsequently manages their diabetes.


Preventing hypoglycemia can be achieved through regular counselling, keeping an accurate log of blood sugars, proper dosing of insulin and most importantly, choosing the right insulin for each patient.


If patients experience any symptoms of hypoglycemia, they should see their health care practitioner a soon as possible for a review.


Hypoglycemia is not a barrier to achieving good glycemic control.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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