First aid basics – hypoglycaemia pt.1

When it comes to learning first aid, there is no substitute for an approved first aid training course. However, there are a few basics it can be useful to pick up.

Whilst it may not be as common as things like cuts, bleeding and burns, or even heart and breathing problems, there is a chance that you might come across someone suffering from low blood sugar at some point in your life. This is called hypoglycaemia, and it can cause a number of health problems.

Hypoglycaemia often occurs in people who have diabetes, but it can also appear after excessive consumption of alcohol. It can cause brain function to be affected as well as a deterioration in response levels, but other symptoms may include:

• Weakness or faintness
• Hunger
• Muscle tremors and palpitations
• Cold sweats
• Fast pulse rate
• Strange, confused behaviour

In rare cases, hypoglycaemia can also be accompanies by an epileptic seizure. The condition can also worsen conditions such as hypothermia or heat exhaustion, a potentially lethal combination of conditions which will need to be treated urgently by a medical professional.

See part 2 of this guide for advice on how to treat a person with low blood sugar using basic first aid skills.

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