Treating Hypoglycemia

Treating for hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) is usually recommended when a person’s blood glucose level is 70 mg/dl or less. The “rule of 15” is commonly used as a guideline for treatment: After checking your blood glucose level with your meter and seeing that your level is under 70 mg/dl, consume 15 grams of carbohydrate, wait about 15 minutes, then recheck your blood glucose level. If your blood glucose is still low, consume another 15 grams of carbohydrate and recheck 15 minutes later. Since blood glucose levels may begin to drop again about 40–60 minutes after treatment, it is a good idea to recheck your blood glucose approximately one hour after treating a low.

Although the “rule of 15” is an accepted method for treating hypoglycemia, it should not replace the advice of your diabetes care team.


The following items contain 15 grams of carbohydrate:

  • 3–4 glucose tablets
  • 1 dose of glucose gel (in most cases, 1 small tube is one dose)
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice or regular soda (not sugar-free)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar or 5 small sugar cubes
  • 6–8 LifeSavers
  • 8 ounces of skim (nonfat) milk