Hypoglycemia and The 15-15 Rule

Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) is caused when there is a build up of glucose (sugar) in the blood. People with diabetes can experience hyperglycemia if they are unable to manage their diabetes; causing frequent urination, increased thirst, and high levels of sugar in their urine.

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is another term that people, diabetics in particular, should know. Blood sugar falling below the target range (see National Diabetes Month) can lead to insulin shock or even death.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

  • Shakiness
  • Weak and lethargic
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Lightheaded or dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Hunger
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Racing heart
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness

Treating hypoglycemia

The 15-15 Rule is a method used to treat hypoglycemia without spiking blood sugar. It consists of consuming 15 grams of carbohydrates then waiting 15 minutes before checking to see if your blood sugar is above 70 mg/dL.

What can you take?

  • Hard candy (read the label)
  • Tablespoon of honey
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of juice
  • 4 glucose tablets
  • Gel tube
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of regular (non-diet) soda
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) of milk

If your blood sugar is still below 70 mg/dL after following the 15-15 Rule, repeat again. Once your blood sugar is above 70 mg/dL, you should eat a small meal or snack.

Keep track of your blood sugar by using an App or printable tracker.


American Diabetes Association. (2020). Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Retrieved from https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/medication-management/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/hypoglycemia.

Picture by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels


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