Low Blood Sugars - How to Treat


You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:

  • Skip or delay a meal or a snack
  • Take too much insulin, or eat too little carbohydrate
  • Exercise
  • Drink alcohol (especially without eating carbohydrate)
  • Increase certain diabetes medications
  • Are instructed to lower your transplant medications and your diabetes
  • Medications have not been adjusted

Check your blood sugars if you have any of these symptoms:


If your blood sugar is less than 70 mg/dl:

  • Eat 15-30 grams of carbohydrate (examples are on the next page.)
  • WAIT 15 minutes, then RECHECK your blood sugar.
  • If your blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dl, eat another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar after 15 minutes.
  • Repeat if necessary.
  • Follow up with your usual meal or a snack with protein.

Important: if you are having frequent low blood sugars, contact your transplant coordinator or doctor who manages your diabetes.

Quick Carbohydrate Guide for treating Low Blood Sugars

  If your blood sugar is less than 70 mg/dl, take one or two servings (15 grams of the quickly absorbed carbohydrates listed below:

Candies and Other Sweets

  • 5 small gum drops
  • 12 gummy bears
  • 6 large jelly beans
  • 5 Lifesavers
  • 15 Skittles
  • 1 tablespoon sugar in water
  • 4 Starburst
  • 1/2 cup of regular soda (not diet)
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1/2 cup of apple juice
  • 1/3 cup of grape juice
  • 1 cup of fat free milk


  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 small orange
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 15 grapes


  • 3-4 glucose tablets
  • 1 tube of glucose gel
  • 1 small tube of cake decorating gel
  • Glucagon emergency kit


  • The foods listed above are easily absorbed and will raise blood sugar levels quickly.
  • When your blood sugar returns to 80mg/dl or above, follow-up with your usual meal or snack with protein.



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