Exercise, Diabetes (Type 2) & Low Blood Sugar

Today’s message: Increasing physical activity (aka exercise) will increase sugar used by muscles and lower the body’s resistance to insulin. The result is lower blood sugar.

Why is this important? Managing diabetes effectively is about being aware of the balancing act between blood sugar levels and diabetic medications. An unforeseen risk for diabetics increasing physical activity is hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This is potentially life threatening.

If you are a diabetic and notice your blood sugar is below 70 when testing, consume some common simply carbohydrates and call your PCP or Endocrinologist. Explain any recent changes to your diet and/or activity level. Tell them if you have any symptoms of hypoglycemia. These include shakiness, sweats, confusion, irritability, fatigue, and unconsciousness.

American Diabetes Association recommended treatment:

  1. Consume 15-20 grams of glucose or simple carbohydrates
  2. Recheck your blood glucose after 15 minutes
  3. If hypoglycemia continues, repeat.
  4. Once blood glucose returns to normal, eat a small snack if your next planned meal or snack is more than an hour or two away.

Examples of 15 grams of simple carbohydrates: 

  • glucose tablets (follow package instructions)
  • gel tube (follow package instructions)
  • 2 tablespoons of raisins
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of juice or regular soda (not diet)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, honey, or corn syrup
  • 8 ounces of nonfat or 1% milk
  • hard candies, jellybeans, or gumdrops (see package to determine how many to consume)

Preventing low blood sugar comes with good diabetes management and knowing the early warning signs. With prompt treatment we can avoid the ambulance.

If low blood sugar (below 70) happens regularly, with or without symptoms, working with your doctor to adjust or changes medications can prevent future complications.


For more information on managing diabetes, please visit the American Diabetes Association.


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