Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar (glucose) drops below normal levels. Because our bodies need glucose for energy, having too little can lead to life-threatening health issues.

What's the best source of glucose? Carbohydrates. Think rice, potatoes, bread, tortillas, cereal, milk, and fruit. It's important to remember, however, that even if you're eating right and have your diabetes well under control, hypoglycemia can still strike.

How do I treat hypoglycemia?

To treat hypoglycemia quickly, eat some form of sugar or simple carbohydrates. Good options include fruit juice, hard candy, pretzels, or crackers. You will need at least 15 to 20 grams of sugar or carbohydrates to get you through, so it's a good idea to have foods like these on hand:

• Four or five soda crackers
• Five or six pieces of hard candy
• Two tablespoons of raisins
• One half cup of fruit juice or regular soda
• One cup of milk
• One tablespoon of honey or corn syrup

Keep in mind that foods with a lot of fat mixed with the sugars and carbohydrates—such as chocolate or cookies—do not work as well. Be sure to stick with foods that are mainly sugar or carbs.

Remember: do not delay in treating hypoglycemia. It can quickly escalate into serious health problems, including seizures, coma, and permanent damage to the nervous system.

Snack-sized containers or Ziplock bags can help you be ready at any time to treat hypoglycemia. Keep your snacks stashed in different places you might need them—at work, in your gym bag, in the car, in your purse—to make sure you're prepared.