Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Quality, Safety & Value

Menu
Menu

Quick Links

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge
EBenefits Badge
 

For Veterans

What is “hypoglycemia”? Hypoglycemia is the medical term for “low blood sugar.”  This can be something you FEEL or something you MEASURE.  The feelings of low blood sugar may include weakness, shakiness, hunger, sweating, lightheadedness or just a feeling of “not being right.”  It can be very vague.  The measure of your home blood sugar test may be a value of less than “70.” But many patients feel poorly with values above this. Symptoms should prompt you to check your blood sugar and, if it is less than 70, treat the low sugar with the “15-15 rule”.  Also, if low blood sugars occur, consider a discussion with your healthcare team about changes in medication.

15-15 Rule Flyer 

Is low blood sugar really that dangerous for me? Recent studies show that all low blood sugars should be avoided. Even one low blood sugar can stress your heart and cause dizziness, falls, or accidents.  

HSI in the News – National VA Press Release 2014 

I have heard a lot about the A1c, but I would like information to help me understand it. You will hear your clinicians encourage you to have an A1c blood test and they will often discuss the results with you.  But we know that many Veterans and their caregivers may not fully understand it.  We have tried to put together two documents that will help you understand what the test means and how it fvaries from test to test.

Information about the A1c Test

Information about A1c Variability 

I thought my A1c goal was to be less than 7%; why are you changing that advice? Clinicians want to be sure you have the best possible healthcare. Best current evidence suggests that your A1c goal should match your lifestyle and what is important to YOU. 

We Want You and Your Provider to Discuss and Choose a Safe A1c Goal 

I feel fine even though my A1c is less than 7% - why might that be a bad thing? It is always important to be able to feel low blood sugar. If you are not feeling low blood sugar, this could lead to low blood sugars that are dangerous. Always tell your clinician about low readings, so they can discuss with you a change in treatment. 

Am I taking my diabetes medicines at the right time? Should they be taken with or without a meal? Some diabetes pills can cause low blood sugar if taken at the wrong time. Take them as directed on your medicine label and discuss any concerns with your healthcare team. 

How does it help me to have higher A1c? Higher A1c levels will reduce the risk of low blood sugars during the day and in the middle of the night. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may cause falls, accidents, and serious problems during your sleep. Higher A1c levels will also lower stress on your heart. 

I feel fine even though my A1c is less than 7% - why might that be a bad thing? It is always important to be able to feel low blood sugar. If you are not feeling low blood sugar, this could lead to low blood sugars that are dangerous. Always tell your clinician about low readings, so they can discuss with you a change in treatment. 

Am I taking my diabetes medicines at the right time? Should they be taken with or without a meal? Some diabetes pills can cause low blood sugar if taken at the wrong time. Take them as directed on your medicine label and discuss any concerns with your healthcare team. 

How does it help me to have higher A1c? Higher A1c levels will reduce the risk of low blood sugars during the day and in the middle of the night. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may cause falls, accidents, and serious problems during your sleep. Higher A1c levels will also lower stress on your heart.

What should I do to treat low blood sugar? Treat low blood sugar with fast-acting sugar, such as 3-4 glucose tablets or 4 ounces of fruit juice. Ask your healthcare team about the “15-15 rule” for treating low blood sugar.

15-15 Rule Flyer

Other Helpful Information:

·        Overview of VA’s comprehensive research portfolio in diabetes.

·        Information regarding VA’s Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACTs).

·        Detailed summary of diabetes mellitus from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus®