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The #whatsyourrescueplan campaign launched this past summer with a website resource and encouraged all Canadians with diabetes to understand the different stages of hypoglycemia and how to properly prepare for an unexpected event. 

Despite best efforts, blood sugar lows (hypoglycemia) can happen when you have diabetes treated with medication. That said, when an individual care plan is in place, everyone around you knows what to do if you go ‘low.’

According to a recent survey of Canadians[i] with diabetes and their caregivers, more than half of Canadians living with diabetes reported that they worry about hypoglycemia yet could be better prepared for dangerous lows. The condition, which is a daily consideration for anyone with diabetes on medications, like insulin, can be caused by a number of factors including not eating enough, drinking alcohol or using diabetes medications incorrectly.

“When I review with my patients the strategy on how to best manage and mitigate the impact of future potential episodes of severe hypoglycemia, I always emphasize that there is a good chance that if they can manage their diabetes properly, the risk of having a severe hypoglycemia episode should be reduced. However, the need to be prepared is of paramount importance and the understanding of when and how to use glucagon is an integral part of this strategy,” says Dr. Stewart Harris, professor in the Department of Family Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, The University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. “Being prepared with a plan is always a key component of hypoglycemia risk management since in a severe hypoglycemic event an individual may be unconscious and unable to treat themselves and those around them will need to know how to react and support with immediate care which can be lifesaving.”

If hypoglycemia does occur, being prepared means being able to raise blood sugar quickly and ideally prevent any further complications. As part of the #whatsyourrescueplan campaign, anyone can download a severe hypoglycemia rescue plan template, customize the plan and discuss it with their health-care team, friends and family. This includes information on what to do when assistance is required during a severe hypoglycemia episode, including the use of a glucagon emergency kit.

Talk to your friends and family about the different stages of hypoglycemia, and prepare them to help you if you’re unable to help yourself. In a severe hypoglycemia situation, where you might be unable to swallow or eat fast-acting sugar, a glucagon emergency kit can be lifesaving.  For more information, visit What's Your Rescue Plan.


[i] Leger Severe Hypoglycemia Market Research, 2018.

Author: Eli Lilly Canada

Category Tags: Healthy Living;

Region: National

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