Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar): Symptoms, causes, and treatment

hypoglycemia refers to gloomy levels of carbohydrate, or glucose, in the blood. Hypoglycemia is not a disease, but it can indicate a health trouble. All the torso ’ second cells, including the brain, need energy to officiate. Glucose supplies energy to the torso. Insulin, a hormone, enables the cells to absorb and use it. Signs of low blood boodle include starve, trembling, affection rush, nausea, and sweating. In severe cases, it can lead to coma and death.

hypoglycemia can occur with respective conditions, but it most normally happens as a chemical reaction to medications, such as insulin. People with diabetes use insulin to treat high blood carbohydrate.

What is hypoglycemia?

woman feeling faint with hypoglycemia share on PinterestFaintness can be an early sign of hypoglycemia. hypoglycemia happens when there is not enough glucose, or boodle, in the blood. The National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases ( NIDDK ), note that symptoms normally appear when blood carbohydrate levels are below 70 milligrams per deciliter ( mg/dL ). however, this phone number can vary between individuals. Blood glucose monitors are available for purchase on-line .


People with balmy hypoglycemia may experience the follow early symptoms :

  • hunger
  • tremor or trembling
  • sweating
  • shaking
  • a pale face
  • heart palpitations
  • rapid or irregular heart rate
  • dizziness and weakness
  • blurred vision
  • confusion

Severe hypoglycemia may involve :

  • weakness and tiredness
  • poor concentration
  • irritability and nervousness
  • confusion
  • irrational or argumentative behavior and personality changes
  • tingling in the mouth
  • coordination problems


If a person does not take action, they may have :

  • difficulty eating or drinking
  • seizures
  • a loss of consciousness
  • coma

severe hypoglycemia can be dangerous. A person who regularly experiences hypoglycemia may become unaware that it is happening or getting worse. They will not notice the warn signs, and this can lead to severe and possibly fatal complications. Hypoglycemia is frequently a polarity of ailing managed diabetes.


hypoglycemia can occur for respective reasons .

Blood sugar regulation

The digestive system breaks down carbohydrates from food. One of the molecules this creates is glucose, the body ’ s main source of energy. Glucose enters the bloodstream after we eat. however, glucose needs insulin — a hormone that the pancreas produces — before it can enter a cell. In early words, even if there is batch of glucose available, a cellular telephone will starve of energy if there is no insulin. After eating, the pancreas automatically releases the veracious sum of insulin to move the glucose in lineage into the cells. As glucose enters the cells, the blood sugar levels drop. Any extra glucose goes into the liver and muscles in the shape of glycogen, or stored glucose. The body can use this glucose former when it needs more energy. Insulin is creditworthy for bringing high lineage boodle levels back to normal. If glucose levels fall because an individual has not eaten for a while, the pancreas secretes glucagon — another hormone — which triggers the breakdown of store glycogen into glucose. The body then releases the glycogen into the bloodstream, bringing glucose levels back up .

Hypoglycemia and diabetes

share on PinterestTesting blood sugar regularly can help those with diabetes to prevent hypoglycemia. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes involve a problem with insulin. Type 1 diabetes : damage to the cells that normally produce insulin means that the body can not produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes : The body ’ mho cells do not respond properly to insulin or the pancreas may not release enough insulin. In both types of diabetes, the cells do not get enough energy. People with type 1 diabetes and some people with character 2 indigence to take insulin or other drugs to reduce their blood boodle levels. If the venereal disease is besides high, blood boodle levels can fall excessively far, leading to hypoglycemia. hypoglycemia can besides occur if the person exercises more than common or does not eat adequate. A person does not need to increase their dose to have excessively much insulin in their body. It may be that the insulin they took was more than their body needed at that here and now. According to the NIDDK, both insulin and two other drugs can result in hypoglycemia. These drugs are sulfonylurea and meglitinides .

Hypoglycemia in children: Pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia

Some children experience pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia, involving low blood sugar levels and high levels of a kernel known as ketones. Doctors do not know precisely why this happens, but causes may include :

  • metabolism problems that the child was born
  • conditions that lead to excess production of certain hormones

Symptoms normally appear after the long time of 6 months and vanish before adolescence. They include :

  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • pale skin
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • irritability
  • mood changes
  • clumsy or jerky movements

If a child shows any of the above signs or symptoms, they should see a doctor of the church ampere soon as possible .

Insulin autoimmune syndrome

Another potential induce of hypoglycemia is insulin autoimmune syndrome, a rare disease that happens when the soundbox ’ s immune arrangement attacks insulin, mistaking it for an undesirable substance. Symptoms tend to appear suddenly, according to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center ( GARD ). They often go away after a few months, but sometimes they come back again. treatment can normally control the symptoms. Symptoms and treatment are similar to those for hypoglycemia due to other causes .

Other causes

People may experience hypoglycemia for other reasons. Some medications : quinine, a drug that prevents malaria, can trigger hypoglycemia. high doses of salicylates, used to treat rheumatic disease, or propranolol for high blood pressure ( high blood press ) may besides cause lineage carbohydrate levels to drop. It can besides happen when a person takes diabetes medication without having diabetes. Alcohol consumption : Drinking big amounts of alcohol can cause the liver to stop free stored glucose into the bloodstream. Some liver diseases : Drug-induced hepatitis can lead to hypoglycemia, because it affects the liver. Kidney disorders : People with a kidney disorder may have problems excreting medications. This can result in low blood sugar levels. Not eating enough : People with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, may experience dramatic falls in their lineage sugar levels. Fasting or missing a meal may lead to low blood sugar levels. Insulinoma : A tumor in the pancreas can cause the pancreas to produce excessively much insulin. Increased activity : Increasing levels of physical activeness can lower blood sugar levels for some fourth dimension. Endocrine problems : Some disorders of the adrenal and pituitary glands can lead to hypoglycemia. This is more coarse in children than adults. Reactive, or postprandial, hypoglycemia : The pancreas produces excessively much insulin after a meal. Tumors : rarely, a tumor in a contribution of the consistency other than the pancreas can cause hypoglycemia. Severe illness : Some diseases, such as cancer, can affect many different organs, including the pancreas. This can lead to hypoglycemia.


Anybody who experiences the symptoms of hypoglycemia but does not know why should see a doctor. The doctor of the church will probably :

  • order a blood test to measure blood sugar levels
  • ask about symptoms, and whether they improve after blood sugar levels return to normal
  • check the patient’s medical history and any medications they are taking
  • ask the person about their alcohol consumption

Whipple’s triad

A solicitation of three criteria, known as Whipple ’ s criteria, can suggest that symptom shank from a pancreatic tumor. The three criteria of Whipple ’ sulfur Triad are as follows :

  • Signs and symptoms indicate hypoglycemia.
  • When symptoms occur, a blood test shows low plasma glucose levels.
  • When glucose rises to normal levels, symptoms go away.

At the time of a visit to the doctor, a person may not have symptoms. The doctor of the church may ask them to fast for a time, normally nightlong. This allows hypoglycemia to occur so that the doctor can make a diagnosis. Some people may have to spend fourth dimension in the hospital and fast for longer. If symptoms appear after eating, they will need another glucose test after eating. Learn more hera about pancreatic cancer.


share on Pinterestwoman drinking orange juice to treat hypoglycemia A person who notices the signs of hypoglycemia should immediately consume :

  • a glucose tablet
  • a sugar lump
  • a candy
  • a glass of fruit juice

These can bring rapid results. After this, they should eat slower-release carbohydrates, such as cereals, bread, rice, or fruit. Glucose tablets are available to purchase on-line. The next step is to seek treatment for any fundamental campaign ,

For diabetes

A person with diabetes should check their blood glucose and treat the hypoglycemia, then wait 15–20 minutes and check their blood boodle again. If blood glucose levels are still low, the person should repeat the process. They should eat some glucose, wait about 15–20 minutes, then check their blood boodle again. People with diabetes need to keep to regular eat times. This will help to keep rake glucose levels stable

Severe symptoms

If symptoms are hard, and the individual can not treat themselves, person else will need to apply honey, treacle, jam, or Glucogel to the inside of the impudence and then gently massage the external of the cheek. The person should start feeling dependable within 10–20 minutes .

Losing consciousness

If the person loses awareness, person should place them in the recovery position, and a restricted health professional should administer a glucagon injection. If this is not potential, person should call for emergency services to take the person to the emergency department of a hospital. It is significant not to place food or drink into the mouthpiece of an unconscious person, as it could block the airways.


share on PinterestComplex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, can help prevent hypoglycemia. A count of dietary factors may help control hypoglycemia. Low-sugar diet : A low consumption of simple sugars and a high intake of complex carbohydrates is helpful. complex carbs take longer to absorb, and this can help prevent glucose swings. Small, frequent meals : Eating modest meals at least three times a day can help maintain rake boodle levels. Find out more about counting carbs in our consecrated article here. Some people have recommended a low-sugar, high-protein diet for people with hypoglycemia, but this may reduce glucose permissiveness and add unwanted fat to the diet.

Hypoglycemia vs. hyperglycemia

Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia both relate to blood sugar levels, but they are not the lapp. hypoglycemia : There is excessively little glucose in the blood, below 70 mg/dL. hyperglycemia : glucose levels are besides high, above 126 mg/L when fast or 200 mg/dL 2 hours after eating.


Eating unconstipated meals that include building complex carbohydrates can prevent hypoglycemia for most people. Those with a gamble of hypoglycemia due to a medical condition should besides : Follow a treatment plan : It is significant to follow the doctor of the church ’ s instructions and seek help if symptoms change. Checking blood glucose levels : Those at risk should check their rake carbohydrate levels regularly and know how to recognize the symptoms. Alcohol : Follow the daily alcohol limits that a doctor recommends and avoid drink alcohol without food. Exercise : Eat a carbohydrate-rich bite before exercising and be mindful of how exercise can impact blood sugar levels. Taking care when sick : vomit, for model, can prevent the body from absorbing enough energy. Being ready : Carry a container of sugary fruit juice or a sugarcoat legal profession in event symptoms appear. Letting people know : Those who are prone to humble lineage sugar should let friends, colleagues, and syndicate members know. Medical ID : Carrying a class of ID or medical watchband will enable healthcare providers, emergency services, and others to know what to do preferably.


hypoglycemia can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and, in severe cases, a personnel casualty of consciousness.

People with a number of checkup conditions, including diabetes, may have a higher risk of hypoglycemia. It is authoritative to know how to recognize the symptoms and to be cook to take action if they occur .

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