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What is hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is when your blood sugar becomes too low, usually below 70 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter)29

Hypo is when your blood sugar becomes too low, below 70 mg per dL.

Because glucose (sugar) is the main fuel for your body and brain, low blood sugar stops you functioning as well as you should. This is known as a hypoglycemia episode, hypoglycemia attack, or a "hypo". It can lead to serious consequences like fainting and seizures.29,30

What causes hypoglycemia?

Many factors can cause hypoglycemia, including, but not limited to:29

  • Changes in mealtimes
  • Not enough carbohydrates (carbs)
  • Wrong dose of insulin or other diabetes medication
  • Exercise without a snack or medication adjustment
  • Alcohol

What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia or hypo attack?29,30

  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremor (shaking)
  • Sweating
  • Changes in behavior
  • Feeling irritable or anxious
  • Nausea (feeling like you might vomit)
  • Feeling confused
  • Feeling hungry
  • Headache
  • Finding it difficult to think
  • Tingling or numbness in your lips, tongue or cheek
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Night time hypos (nocturnal hypoglycemia)

Hypoglycemia can happen while you are sleeping. Studies suggest that almost half of all episodes of hypoglycemia (and more than half of all severe episodes) occur at night during sleep.42

Graphic highlighting that studies suggest that almost half of all episodes of hypo occur at night during sleep.

Signs and symptoms of nocturnal hypoglycemia

Signs and symptoms of night time hypos include damp sheets or clothes due to sweat, nightmares, tiredness, irritability and/or confusion upon waking.29

You also might not experience any hypoglycemia symptoms, so monitoring your sugar levels is important.29

Can the consequences of hypoglycemia be serious?

If hypoglycemia is severe, it can lead to serious consequences like fainting, seizure (fits), coma or death.30

There are also long-term effects of hypoglycemia. Repeated episodes can lead to a negative impact on your health in the future, including mental health, cognitive function (thinking) and risk of death. Over time you may also become less aware of your hypoglycemia.32

Hypoglycemia unawareness

If hypoglycemia happens regularly, it can lead to 'hypoglycemia unawareness', a condition where you become less able to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia. It can increase risk of severe hypoglycemia up to 17 times more than someone who is aware of hypoglycemia. So avoiding hypoglycemia unawareness is vital if you have diabetes.*3

How can FreeStyle Libre help me avoid hypoglycemia?

FreeStyle Libre can help you identify night time hypos or hypoglycemia unawareness, without waking up to do a finger prick blood test33

As a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), FreeStyle Libre keeps your glucose levels monitored 24/7. CGMs are the only tool able to detect hypoglycemia at any time, day or night, empowering you with information to help you avoid hypos.

FreeStyle Libre can show you:

FreeStyle Libre shows glucose change over 24 hours, including overnight while you were asleep

Changes in your glucose over 24 hours, including overnight while you were asleep

FreeStyle Libre displays the number of low glucose hypo events over time

The number of low glucose events you had in the last 7/14/30/90 days


Avoiding nocturnal hypoglycemia

When you are more aware of your night time hypos, you can then take action to help avoid them. For example:42

  • Check your glucose level before bed time.
  • Don't skip dinner.
  • Find an exercise routine and timing that works for you.
  • Be mindful of your alcohol intake.
  • Create a meal routine to reduce the likelihood of having an hypo attack overnight.

Avoiding daytime hypoglycemia

When you take a reading, FreeStyle Libre shows you whether your glucose is rising or falling and how quickly it is changing. This can help you take the best course of action to avoid hypoglycemia.

If FreeStyle Libre estimates your glucose will fall below 70 mg/dL within 15 minutes, a message will appear on screen so you can take quick actions to curb your low glucose levels. Have a high carb snack and check again in 15 minutes. FreeStyle Libre will give you a new reading every 60 seconds.29

95 percent of FreeStyle Libre users reported a better understanding of their glucose fluctuations

In a survey of FreeStyle Libre users, 95% reported a better understanding of their glucose fluctuations after 1 year.13

FreeStyle Libre reduces time spent in hypoglycemia

FreeStyle Libre reduces total hypoglycemia:

T1D patients†34

T2D patients^17

FreeStyle Libre reduces nocturnal hypoglycemia:

T1D patients#6

T2D patients‡17

*An estimated 25-40% of people with type 1 diabetes and 6-17% of people with type 2 diabetes using insulin have hypoglycemia unawareness.33
-43 minutes per day (95% CI, 20 to 65).34
^-28 minutes per day (±8 minutes).17
#-28 minutes per night (p<0.0001).6
-17 minutes per night (p<0.0001).17

References: 3. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2020;43(1):S77–S88. 6. Bolinder J, et al. Lancet. 2016;388(10057):2254–2263. 13. Fokkert M, et al. BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2019;7(1):e000809. 17. Haak T, et al. Diabetes Ther. 2017;8(1):55–73. 20. Workgroup on Hypoglycemia, American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2005;28(5):1245–9. 29. Mayo Clinic. Diabetic hypoglycemia. 30. Workgroup on Hypoglycemia, American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2005;28(5):1245–9. 32. Amiel SA. Diabetologia. 2021;64(5):963–970. 33. Lin YK, et al. J Diabetes Investig. 2020;11(6):1388–1402. 34. Leelarathna L, et al. N Engl J Med. 2022;387(16):1477–1487. 42. Very Well Health. Understanding Nocturnal Hypoglycemia.

Disclaimers - 1. Images are for illustration purpose only. No actual patient data. Any person depicted in the photos is a model. Children shall not use without supervision. 2. The information mentioned in this document is only suggestive for patient education and shall not be considered as a substitute for doctor's advice or recommendations from Abbott. Please consult your doctor for more information.