For Carers


People with diabetes are not always able to control their diabetes.

Having a low blood glucose level is known as hypoglycemia (or hypo for short).

  •     Delayed or Missed Meal
  •     Not Enough Carbohydrate in the Meal
  •     Too Much Insulin or Medication
  •     Extra-strenuous or Unplanned Activity

Next: Symptoms


Symptoms can be sudden. The blood glucose level reading will be under 4mmol/L.


  •     Sweating
  •     Changes in moods and behavior e.g. crying
  •     Difficulty concentrating
  •     Hunger
  •     Headache
  •     Blurred vision
  •     Shaking
  •     Dizziness
  •     Tingling around mouth & hands
  •     Confusion or hallucinations

Moderate Hypoglycemia

  •     Glazed expression confusion or disorientation, staggering
  •     Unable to follow instructions
  •     Anxiety or panic attacks
  •     Loss of color
  •     Shakiness of hands

Severe Hypoglycemia

  •     Inability to drink or swallow
  •     Possible loss of consciousness or convulsion

Next: Treatment


Hypoglycemia & Moderate Hypoglycemia

  •     Step 1: Take blood glucose levels
  •     Step 2: If level is low, raise blood glucose levels immediately by giving:
    •         4 large or 7 small jelly beans or
    •         Half bottle of Lucozade TM or
    •         4 glucose tablets or
    •         If you do not have any glucose then take half glass of lemonade or 2 - 3 teaspoons of sugar mixed in water
  •     Step 3: Wait 10 - 15 minutes. If the person does not feel any better, then repeat steps 1 and 2.
  •     Step 4: Once the person is feeling better have something more substantial to eat that will keep the blood glucose levels stable such as:
  •     a piece of fruit or some yogurt or a sandwich or a milk drink or your next meal (if you intend to eat within a few minutes).
  •     Step 5: If possible check blood glucose levels again

If symptoms improve, the person will be able to resume normal activity within 20 minutes.

Supervision is needed until the person has fully recovered.

Treatment of Severe Hypoglycemia

The person is unconscious, convulsing or unable to swallow.

Do NOT give food or drink to a person who is unconscious, convulsing or unable to swallow.

Place the person on their side making sure their airways are clear.

Call an ambulance (Dial 000). Inform the operator that there is a diabetic emergency.

Queensland ambulance will ask:

  •     Is the person conscious or unconscious?
  •     Is their behavior normal or abnormal?

Supervision is needed until the person has fully recovered.

Next: For Carers

For Carers

This document is not a substitute for medical advice. It is about education and guidelines for managing diabetes only.

Please contact your doctor if you are in doubt about any issue presented here or any issues about diabetes.