Glucagon is a hormone naturally found in humans. It is used primarily to increase blood glucose when a person's blood sugar has become dangerously low. Because glucagon slows down the digestive tract, it is also used sometimes in conjunction with certain diagnostic tests. This medication won't work in cases where the liver is deprived of glycogen, such as with alcohol-induced hypoglycemia.
What Is Glucagon Used For?Glucagon is a natural human hormone. When used as a medication, it is approved for the following purposes:
- Treating severe low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Slowing down the digestive tract in order to perform certain diagnostic tests.
People with diabetes who have a tendency to develop low blood sugar should always have a glucagon kit with them, since severe low blood sugar can be fatal. Of course, the best course of action is to prevent severe low blood sugar in the first place. This involves recognizing your individual signs and symptoms, which can vary from person to person, and taking swift action to prevent blood sugar from dropping even further.
Treating mild low blood sugar with a source of "fast" sugar, such as glucose tablets, juice, or soda, in combination with a slow-acting source of sugar, such as crackers and cheese or a meat sandwich, is important for preventing dangerously low blood sugar.
If the person with low blood sugar is awake and able to eat, it is best to treat the low blood sugar with food and/or drink. If the person is unconscious or otherwise unable to eat or drink, it is best to treat low blood sugar with intravenous glucose or dextrose.
However, unless the person is already in a medical facility, intravenous glucose is usually not an immediate option. In such situations, glucagon can be lifesaving and can awaken the person enough for eating or drinking.