Hypoglycaemia, or hypo for short, means ‘low blood glucose levels’ – less than 4 mmol/l*. This is too low to provide enough energy for your body’s activities.

Hypos can come on quickly and everyone has different symptoms, but common ones are: feeling shaky, sweating, hunger, tiredness, blurred vision, lack of concentration, headaches, feeling tearful, stroppy or moody, going pale.

Why do hypos happen?
There’s no rule as to why they happen, but some things make it more likely: excess insulin, delayed or missed meal or snack, not enough carbs, unplanned physical activity, and drinking large quantities of alcohol or alcohol without food. Sometimes there just is no obvious cause.

How to prevent a hypo
- Don’t miss a meal.
- Eat enough carbohydrate.
- Eat extra carbohydrate if you are more active than normal.
- Take your tablets and/or insulin injections correctly.
- Don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach or drink too much alcohol.

Treating a hypo
If you are conscious, treat your hypo immediately with 15–20g of fast-acting carbohydrate:
- Small glass of sugary (non-diet) drink
- At least three glucose tablets
- Five sweets, such as jelly babies
- Small carton of pure fruit juice
- Glucose gel.

For more information about hypos, go to www.diabetes.org.uk/hypo