Hypos affect nearly everyone with Type 1 diabetes, and some people with Type 2 diabetes who use insulin or some other medication.
This Hypo Awareness Week (2-8 October 2017) we want to shine a spotlight on hypos.
For many people living with diabetes, hypos are part of life. But they can be scary and need quick treatment.
If you’ve got friends or family with Type 1 diabetes – would you be able to recognise the symptoms of a hypo? Would you hand them chocolate or jelly babies?
We have information all about the signs and symptoms of hypos, and how to treat them. Have a read, and then test your knowledge with our Hypo Awareness Week quiz. Once you've done the quiz, share it on social media to help us reach more people.
Hypos: the basics
Hypos occur when somebody’s blood sugar levels drop. This is dangerous as it means the body doesn’t have enough energy to work properly.
Why do blood sugar levels drop?
This can be the million dollar question. There are some things that we know will make your blood sugars drop too low, like taking too much insulin, unplanned physical activity, not eating enough carbs, or even hot weather. But sometimes there is no obvious reason at all.
What are the symptoms?
There are some common symptoms of a hypo, but everybody will experience a hypo slightly differently – so ask your friends and family what their symptoms are.
How do you treat a hypo?
It’s important that you treat a hypo quickly with fast-acting sugar, so that blood sugar levels rise again. Good hypo treatments include Lucozade, full-sugar fizzy drinks (not diet versions), orange juice and sweets like jelly babies. Bad hypo treatments include chocolate (the fat in chocolate means the sugar takes longer to get into the blood) and whole fruit like a banana (the fibre slows down absorption of the sugar).
Research: can exercise bring back hypo awareness?
Losing the ability to sense hypos can be a big problem for people with Type 1 diabetes. We don’t yet fully understand why people lose their ability to sense when their blood glucose is too low. But our researchers are trying to figure it out.
Dr Farrell and her team at the University of Dundee are working out if exercise can be used to bring back hypo awareness. We caught up with her to find out more about this exciting research.
We also know that lots of people with Type 1 are afraid of having a hypo, and will do anything to prevent one. We’ve got some tips from a clinical psychologist to help.