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Dizzy from low blood sugar: 10 Warning Signs of Low Blood Sugar

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10 Warning Signs of Low Blood Sugar

To prevent hypoglycemia and its potentially dangerous side effects, monitor your blood sugar levels and treat low blood sugar as soon as you become aware of it, recommends the Mayo Clinic.

Also, pay attention to these telltale signs of dipping blood sugar levels to make sure yours stays under control:

1. Ravenous Hunger

If you suddenly, inexplicably feel as if you’re starving, your body is signaling that it’s experiencing a blood sugar drop, according to the Cleveland Clinic. You can manage your blood sugar by counting your carbohydrate intake. A good starting point is the ADA’s recommendation to eat between 15 and 20 grams (g) of carbohydrates with each snack and between 40 and 65 g at each meal, though you should work with your dietitian or certified diabetes care and education specialist to determine what’s right for you.

2. Feelings of Anxiety

When glucose levels fall too low, your body releases the hormones epinephrine (also called adrenaline) and cortisol, which signals the liver to release more sugar into the blood, according to Merck & Co. That can lead to anxiety and its associated symptoms, such as shakiness, sweating, and heart palpitations, according to research published in July 2016 in Case Reports in Psychiatry.

RELATED: What’s the Connection Between Diabetes and Anxiety?

3. Restless Nights

Nocturnal hypoglycemia, which accounts for about half of all low blood glucose episodes, can cause a number of sleep disturbances, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Symptoms include night sweats, nightmares, episodes of waking suddenly and crying out, and feelings of unrest and confusion upon waking,” says Palinski-Wade. “A snack before bed can reduce the frequency and severity of sleep disturbances.” Ideally, your blood sugar reading should be between 90 and 150 mg/dL before rest, according to Joslin Diabetes Center.

4. Shakes and Tremors

Shakiness is a symptom that occurs when the autonomic nervous system is activated during hypoglycemia, according to previous research.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Sleep Better When You Have Type 2 Diabetes

5. Emotional Instability

Mood swings and sudden emotional episodes not typical of your normal behavior are among the neurological symptoms of hypoglycemia and can include irritability, stubbornness, and feelings of depression, according to research.

6. Sweating

Sweating is usually one of the first signs of hypoglycemia and, as mentioned, occurs as a result of adrenaline, which increases as glucose levels drop, according to a 2017 article in Practical Diabetes. Up to 84 percent of people with diabetes experience sweating when they’re hypoglycemic, according to the research. Check the back of your neck for sweating. According to Kaiser Permanente, it’s almost always present during low blood sugar episodes but should go away shortly after you take in some sugar.

RELATED: What to Do When Blood Sugar Levels Drop Too Low

7. Lightheadedness

When your blood sugar is low, your brain tries to preserve as much energy as possible, so you may feel lightheaded as a result, according to Harvard Health Publishing. If you experience this common symptom of hypoglycemia, treat the hypoglycemia quickly with 15 to 20 g of fast-acting carbs, such as juice, suggests the Mayo Clinic. Try to lie down, too, and if the lightheadedness keeps up for more than 15 minutes, it’s time to seek medical help, suggests Harvard.

8. Difficulty Concentrating

The brain relies on blood sugar for energy, so if there’s a drop in glucose, your brain may not function properly, according to Harvard Health Publishing. That can make it difficult to concentrate on one thing at a time. The good news is there doesn’t appear to be any long-term brain damage caused by moderate hypoglycemia episodes, according to a past review.

RELATED: Tired All the Time? Diabetes Could Be to Blame

9. Vision Problems

If you suddenly start experiencing vision problems, a drop in blood sugar may be the culprit. According to a past case report, blurred vision is the most common eye-related symptom (affecting 73 percent of study participants), followed by dimness in vision (about 45 percent) and black spots (37 percent).

10. Slurred Speech and Clumsiness

Your sugar-starved brain may change the way you sound. Slurred speech is a common symptom associated with blood sugar levels that drop below 40 mg/dL, according to University of Michigan Health Systems. Combined with clumsiness — another sign of low blood sugar —  you may seem as though you’ve had a few too many cocktails, even if you haven’t touched a drop, according to the National Health Service.

RELATED: Hypoglycemia Unawareness Is Common in People With Type 2 Diabetes, Research Suggests

Why Am I Dizzy? 7 Possible Causes of Dizziness and How To Treat It

Many parts of your body — including your eyes, brain, inner ear, and nerves in your feet and spine — work together to keep you balanced. When a part of that system is off, you can feel dizzy. It can be a sign of something serious, and it can be dangerous if it makes you fall.

Your doctor will look at all your symptoms and overall health to figure out what’s going on and how to treat it.

Get medical attention immediately if you’re dizzy and you faint, fall, or can’t walk or have any of the following:

Is It Vertigo?

Does it feel like you’re spinning or the room is moving around you? That’s a classic sign of a particular type of dizziness called vertigo. It’s more than feeling off-kilter and usually gets worse when you move your head. This is a symptom that there is an issue in the inner ear or part of the brainstem governing balance. The most common kind is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV.

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Your inner ear is a complicated system of canals filled with fluid. These let your brain know how your head is moving. With BPPV, tiny bits of calcium in part of your inner ear get loose and move to places they don’t belong. The system doesn’t work the way it should and sends your brain the wrong signals.

It’s often caused by the natural breakdown of cells that happens with age. A head injury can cause it, too.

You’ll feel it briefly when you tilt or turn your head, and especially when you roll over in bed or sit up. BPPV isn’t serious and usually goes away on its own. If not — or you’d like to help it along — it can be treated with special head exercises (“particle repositioning exercises”) called the Epley maneuver to get the pieces of calcium back in place. Most people feel better after one to three treatments.

There are other causes of vertigo both in and outside the brain. You can have Meniere disease (described below), labyrinthitis (described below), a tumor called an acoustic neuroma or side effects from some antibiotics. In the brain, it can be caused by a vestibular migraine, multiple sclerosis, malformations of brain structures or a stroke from lack of blood flow or bleed (hemorrhage) in the cerebellum.

Is It an Infection?

Inflammation of the nerves in your ears also can cause vertigo. It can be either vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis. Vestibular neuritis refers to inflammation of your vestibular nerve only while labyrinthitis involved both your vestibular nerve and your cochlear nerve. Both conditions are caused by an infection. Usually, a virus is to blame. But bacteria from a middle ear infection or meningitis can make their way into your inner ear as well.

In this case, dizziness usually comes on suddenly. Your ears may ring, and it may be hard to hear. You also may be nauseated and have a fever and ear pain. Symptoms can last several weeks. 

If it’s caused by a virus and can’t be treated with antibiotics, medication can help make you feel better as the infection runs its course.

Is It Meniere’s Disease?

This condition brings on intense periods of vertigo that can last hours. You may feel fullness or pressure in one ear. Other symptoms include ringing in your ears, hearing loss, and nausea. You may feel exhausted after the attack passes.

People with Meniere’s disease have too much fluid in their inner ear. Doctors don’t know what causes it, and there’s no cure for it. It’s usually treated with diet changes (a low-salt diet) and medicine to control the dizziness.

Is It Your Circulation?

Dizziness can be a sign of a problem with your blood flow. Your brain needs a steady supply of oxygen-rich blood. Otherwise, you can become lightheaded and even faint.

Some causes of low blood flow to the brain include blood clots, clogged arteries, heart failure, and an irregular heartbeat. For many older people, standing suddenly can cause a sharp drop in blood pressure.

It’s important to get medical help immediately if you’re dizzy and faint or lose consciousness.

Is It Your Medication?

Several drugs list dizziness as a possible side effect. Check with your doctor if you take:

  • Antibiotics, including gentamicin and streptomycin
  • Anti-depressants
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Blood pressure medicine
  • Sedatives

 

Is It Dehydration?

Many people don’t drink enough fluids to replace the liquid they lose every day when they sweat, breathe, and pee. It’s particularly a problem for older people and people with diabetes.

When you’re severely dehydrated, your blood pressure can drop, your brain may not get enough oxygen, and you’ll feel dizzy. Other symptoms of dehydration include thirstiness, tiredness, and dark urine.

To help with dehydration, drink plenty of water or diluted fruit juice, and limit coffee, tea, and soda.

Is It Low Blood Sugar?

People with diabetes need to check the amount of sugar (glucose) in their blood often. You can get dizzy if it drops too low. That also can cause hunger, shakiness, sweating, and confusion. Some people without diabetes also have trouble with low blood sugar, but that’s rare.

A quick fix is to eat or drink something with sugar, like juice or a hard candy.

Is It Something Else?

Dizziness can be a sign of many other illnesses, including:

  • Migraines, even if you don’t feel pain
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Nervous-system problems like peripheral neuropathy and multiple sclerosis
  • Tumor in the brain or inner ear

You may have other symptoms besides dizziness with any of these conditions. If your dizziness won’t go away or impacts your ability to function, make sure to discuss it with your doctor to find out the cause and treat it.

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

Hypoglycemia refers to low levels of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. Hypoglycemia is not a disease, but it can indicate a health problem.

All the body’s cells, including the brain, need energy to function. Glucose supplies energy to the body. Insulin, a hormone, enables the cells to absorb and use it.

Signs of low blood sugar include hunger, trembling, heart racing, nausea, and sweating. In severe cases, it can lead to coma and death.

Hypoglycemia can occur with several conditions, but it most commonly happens as a reaction to medications, such as insulin. People with diabetes use insulin to treat high blood sugar.

Hypoglycemia happens when there is not enough glucose, or sugar, in the blood.

The National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), note that symptoms usually appear when blood sugar levels are below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

However, this number can vary between individuals.

Blood glucose monitors are available for purchase online.

People with mild hypoglycemia may experience the following 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

Complications

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

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

Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.

A person who regularly experiences hypoglycemia may become unaware that it is happening or getting worse. They will not notice the warning signs, and this can lead to severe and possibly fatal complications.

Hypoglycemia is often a sign of poorly managed diabetes.

Hypoglycemia can occur for various 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 other words, even if there is plenty of glucose available, a cell will starve of energy if there is no insulin.

After eating, the pancreas automatically releases the right amount of insulin to move the glucose in blood into the cells. As glucose enters the cells, the blood sugar levels fall.

Any extra glucose goes into the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen, or stored glucose. The body can use this glucose later when it needs more energy.

Insulin is responsible for bringing high blood sugar 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 stored 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 cannot produce insulin.

Type 2 diabetes: The body’s 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 type 2 need to take insulin or other drugs to reduce their blood sugar levels.

If the dose is too high, blood sugar levels can fall too far, leading to hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia can also occur if the person exercises more than usual or does not eat enough.

A person does not need to increase their dose to have too much insulin in their body. It may be that the insulin they took was more than their body needed at that moment.

According to the NIDDK, both insulin and two other drugs can result in hypoglycemia. These drugs are sulfonylureas and meglitinides.

Hypoglycemia in children: Pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia

Some children experience pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia, involving low blood sugar levels and high levels of a substance known as ketones.

Doctors do not know exactly why this happens, but causes may include:

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

Symptoms usually appear after the age of 6 months and disappear 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 as soon as possible.

Insulin autoimmune syndrome

Another possible cause of hypoglycemia is insulin autoimmune syndrome, a rare disease that happens when the body’s immune system attacks insulin, mistaking it for an unwanted 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 usually 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 hypertension (high blood pressure) may also cause blood sugar levels to drop. It can also happen when a person takes diabetes medication without having diabetes.

Alcohol consumption: Drinking large amounts of alcohol can cause the liver to stop releasing 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 blood 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 too much insulin.

Increased activity: Increasing levels of physical activity can lower blood sugar levels for some time.

Endocrine problems: Some disorders of the adrenal and pituitary glands can lead to hypoglycemia. This is more common in children than adults.

Reactive, or postprandial, hypoglycemia: The pancreas produces too much insulin after a meal.

Tumors: Rarely, a tumor in a part of the body 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 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 collection of three criteria, known as Whipple’s criteria, can suggest that symptoms stem from a pancreatic tumor.

The three criteria of Whipple’s 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 may ask them to fast for a time, usually overnight. This allows hypoglycemia to occur so that the doctor can make a diagnosis.

Some people may have to spend time in the hospital and fast for longer.

If symptoms appear after eating, they will need another glucose test after eating.

Learn more here about pancreatic cancer.

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 online.

The next step is to seek treatment for any underlying cause,

For diabetes

A person with diabetes should check their blood glucose and treat the hypoglycemia, then wait 15–20 minutes and check their blood sugar 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 sugar again.

People with diabetes need to keep to regular eating times. This will help to keep blood glucose levels stable

Severe symptoms

If symptoms are severe, and the individual cannot treat themselves, somebody else will need to apply honey, treacle, jam, or Glucogel to the inside of the cheeks and then gently massage the outside of the cheeks.

The person should start feeling better within 10–20 minutes.

Losing consciousness

If the person loses consciousness, someone should place them in the recovery position, and a qualified health professional should administer a glucagon injection.

If this is not possible, someone should call for emergency services to take the person to the emergency department of a hospital.

It is important not to place food or drink into the mouth of an unconscious person, as it could block the airways.

Share on PinterestComplex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, can help prevent hypoglycemia.

A number of dietary factors may help control hypoglycemia.

Low-sugar diet: A low intake 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 small meals at least three times a day can help maintain blood sugar levels.

Find out more about counting carbs in our dedicated article here.

Some people have recommended a low-sugar, high-protein diet for people with hypoglycemia, but this may reduce glucose tolerance and add unwanted fat to the diet.

Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia both relate to blood sugar levels, but they are not the same.

Hypoglycemia: There is too little glucose in the blood, below 70 mg/dL.

Hyperglycemia: Glucose levels are too high, above 126 mg/L when fasting or 200 mg/dL 2 hours after eating.

Eating regular meals that include complex carbohydrates can prevent hypoglycemia for most people.

Those with a risk of hypoglycemia due to a medical condition should also:

Follow a treatment plan: It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions and seek help if symptoms change.

Checking blood glucose levels: Those at risk should check their blood sugar levels regularly and know how to recognize the symptoms.

Alcohol: Follow the daily alcohol limits that a doctor recommends and avoid drinking alcohol without food.

Exercise: Eat a carbohydrate-rich snack before exercising and be aware of how exercise can impact blood sugar levels.

Taking care when sick: Vomiting, for example, can prevent the body from absorbing enough energy.

Being ready: Carry a container of sugary fruit juice or a candy bar in case symptoms appear.

Letting people know: Those who are prone to low blood sugar should let friends, colleagues, and family members know.

Medical ID: Carrying a form of ID or medical bracelet will enable healthcare providers, emergency services, and others to know what to do sooner.

Hypoglycemia can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and, in severe cases, a loss of consciousness.

People with a number of medical conditions, including diabetes, may have a higher risk of hypoglycemia.

It is important to know how to recognize the symptoms and to be ready to take action if they occur.

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

Hypoglycemia refers to low levels of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. Hypoglycemia is not a disease, but it can indicate a health problem.

All the body’s cells, including the brain, need energy to function. Glucose supplies energy to the body. Insulin, a hormone, enables the cells to absorb and use it.

Signs of low blood sugar include hunger, trembling, heart racing, nausea, and sweating. In severe cases, it can lead to coma and death.

Hypoglycemia can occur with several conditions, but it most commonly happens as a reaction to medications, such as insulin. People with diabetes use insulin to treat high blood sugar.

Hypoglycemia happens when there is not enough glucose, or sugar, in the blood.

The National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), note that symptoms usually appear when blood sugar levels are below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

However, this number can vary between individuals.

Blood glucose monitors are available for purchase online.

People with mild hypoglycemia may experience the following 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

Complications

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

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

Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.

A person who regularly experiences hypoglycemia may become unaware that it is happening or getting worse. They will not notice the warning signs, and this can lead to severe and possibly fatal complications.

Hypoglycemia is often a sign of poorly managed diabetes.

Hypoglycemia can occur for various 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 other words, even if there is plenty of glucose available, a cell will starve of energy if there is no insulin.

After eating, the pancreas automatically releases the right amount of insulin to move the glucose in blood into the cells. As glucose enters the cells, the blood sugar levels fall.

Any extra glucose goes into the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen, or stored glucose. The body can use this glucose later when it needs more energy.

Insulin is responsible for bringing high blood sugar 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 stored 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 cannot produce insulin.

Type 2 diabetes: The body’s 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 type 2 need to take insulin or other drugs to reduce their blood sugar levels.

If the dose is too high, blood sugar levels can fall too far, leading to hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia can also occur if the person exercises more than usual or does not eat enough.

A person does not need to increase their dose to have too much insulin in their body. It may be that the insulin they took was more than their body needed at that moment.

According to the NIDDK, both insulin and two other drugs can result in hypoglycemia. These drugs are sulfonylureas and meglitinides.

Hypoglycemia in children: Pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia

Some children experience pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia, involving low blood sugar levels and high levels of a substance known as ketones.

Doctors do not know exactly why this happens, but causes may include:

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

Symptoms usually appear after the age of 6 months and disappear 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 as soon as possible.

Insulin autoimmune syndrome

Another possible cause of hypoglycemia is insulin autoimmune syndrome, a rare disease that happens when the body’s immune system attacks insulin, mistaking it for an unwanted 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 usually 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 hypertension (high blood pressure) may also cause blood sugar levels to drop. It can also happen when a person takes diabetes medication without having diabetes.

Alcohol consumption: Drinking large amounts of alcohol can cause the liver to stop releasing 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 blood 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 too much insulin.

Increased activity: Increasing levels of physical activity can lower blood sugar levels for some time.

Endocrine problems: Some disorders of the adrenal and pituitary glands can lead to hypoglycemia. This is more common in children than adults.

Reactive, or postprandial, hypoglycemia: The pancreas produces too much insulin after a meal.

Tumors: Rarely, a tumor in a part of the body 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 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 collection of three criteria, known as Whipple’s criteria, can suggest that symptoms stem from a pancreatic tumor.

The three criteria of Whipple’s 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 may ask them to fast for a time, usually overnight. This allows hypoglycemia to occur so that the doctor can make a diagnosis.

Some people may have to spend time in the hospital and fast for longer.

If symptoms appear after eating, they will need another glucose test after eating.

Learn more here about pancreatic cancer.

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 online.

The next step is to seek treatment for any underlying cause,

For diabetes

A person with diabetes should check their blood glucose and treat the hypoglycemia, then wait 15–20 minutes and check their blood sugar 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 sugar again.

People with diabetes need to keep to regular eating times. This will help to keep blood glucose levels stable

Severe symptoms

If symptoms are severe, and the individual cannot treat themselves, somebody else will need to apply honey, treacle, jam, or Glucogel to the inside of the cheeks and then gently massage the outside of the cheeks.

The person should start feeling better within 10–20 minutes.

Losing consciousness

If the person loses consciousness, someone should place them in the recovery position, and a qualified health professional should administer a glucagon injection.

If this is not possible, someone should call for emergency services to take the person to the emergency department of a hospital.

It is important not to place food or drink into the mouth of an unconscious person, as it could block the airways.

Share on PinterestComplex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, can help prevent hypoglycemia.

A number of dietary factors may help control hypoglycemia.

Low-sugar diet: A low intake 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 small meals at least three times a day can help maintain blood sugar levels.

Find out more about counting carbs in our dedicated article here.

Some people have recommended a low-sugar, high-protein diet for people with hypoglycemia, but this may reduce glucose tolerance and add unwanted fat to the diet.

Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia both relate to blood sugar levels, but they are not the same.

Hypoglycemia: There is too little glucose in the blood, below 70 mg/dL.

Hyperglycemia: Glucose levels are too high, above 126 mg/L when fasting or 200 mg/dL 2 hours after eating.

Eating regular meals that include complex carbohydrates can prevent hypoglycemia for most people.

Those with a risk of hypoglycemia due to a medical condition should also:

Follow a treatment plan: It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions and seek help if symptoms change.

Checking blood glucose levels: Those at risk should check their blood sugar levels regularly and know how to recognize the symptoms.

Alcohol: Follow the daily alcohol limits that a doctor recommends and avoid drinking alcohol without food.

Exercise: Eat a carbohydrate-rich snack before exercising and be aware of how exercise can impact blood sugar levels.

Taking care when sick: Vomiting, for example, can prevent the body from absorbing enough energy.

Being ready: Carry a container of sugary fruit juice or a candy bar in case symptoms appear.

Letting people know: Those who are prone to low blood sugar should let friends, colleagues, and family members know.

Medical ID: Carrying a form of ID or medical bracelet will enable healthcare providers, emergency services, and others to know what to do sooner.

Hypoglycemia can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and, in severe cases, a loss of consciousness.

People with a number of medical conditions, including diabetes, may have a higher risk of hypoglycemia.

It is important to know how to recognize the symptoms and to be ready to take action if they occur.

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

Hypoglycemia refers to low levels of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. Hypoglycemia is not a disease, but it can indicate a health problem.

All the body’s cells, including the brain, need energy to function. Glucose supplies energy to the body. Insulin, a hormone, enables the cells to absorb and use it.

Signs of low blood sugar include hunger, trembling, heart racing, nausea, and sweating. In severe cases, it can lead to coma and death.

Hypoglycemia can occur with several conditions, but it most commonly happens as a reaction to medications, such as insulin. People with diabetes use insulin to treat high blood sugar.

Hypoglycemia happens when there is not enough glucose, or sugar, in the blood.

The National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), note that symptoms usually appear when blood sugar levels are below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

However, this number can vary between individuals.

Blood glucose monitors are available for purchase online.

People with mild hypoglycemia may experience the following 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

Complications

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

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

Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.

A person who regularly experiences hypoglycemia may become unaware that it is happening or getting worse. They will not notice the warning signs, and this can lead to severe and possibly fatal complications.

Hypoglycemia is often a sign of poorly managed diabetes.

Hypoglycemia can occur for various 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 other words, even if there is plenty of glucose available, a cell will starve of energy if there is no insulin.

After eating, the pancreas automatically releases the right amount of insulin to move the glucose in blood into the cells. As glucose enters the cells, the blood sugar levels fall.

Any extra glucose goes into the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen, or stored glucose. The body can use this glucose later when it needs more energy.

Insulin is responsible for bringing high blood sugar 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 stored 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 cannot produce insulin.

Type 2 diabetes: The body’s 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 type 2 need to take insulin or other drugs to reduce their blood sugar levels.

If the dose is too high, blood sugar levels can fall too far, leading to hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia can also occur if the person exercises more than usual or does not eat enough.

A person does not need to increase their dose to have too much insulin in their body. It may be that the insulin they took was more than their body needed at that moment.

According to the NIDDK, both insulin and two other drugs can result in hypoglycemia. These drugs are sulfonylureas and meglitinides.

Hypoglycemia in children: Pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia

Some children experience pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia, involving low blood sugar levels and high levels of a substance known as ketones.

Doctors do not know exactly why this happens, but causes may include:

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

Symptoms usually appear after the age of 6 months and disappear 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 as soon as possible.

Insulin autoimmune syndrome

Another possible cause of hypoglycemia is insulin autoimmune syndrome, a rare disease that happens when the body’s immune system attacks insulin, mistaking it for an unwanted 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 usually 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 hypertension (high blood pressure) may also cause blood sugar levels to drop. It can also happen when a person takes diabetes medication without having diabetes.

Alcohol consumption: Drinking large amounts of alcohol can cause the liver to stop releasing 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 blood 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 too much insulin.

Increased activity: Increasing levels of physical activity can lower blood sugar levels for some time.

Endocrine problems: Some disorders of the adrenal and pituitary glands can lead to hypoglycemia. This is more common in children than adults.

Reactive, or postprandial, hypoglycemia: The pancreas produces too much insulin after a meal.

Tumors: Rarely, a tumor in a part of the body 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 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 collection of three criteria, known as Whipple’s criteria, can suggest that symptoms stem from a pancreatic tumor.

The three criteria of Whipple’s 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 may ask them to fast for a time, usually overnight. This allows hypoglycemia to occur so that the doctor can make a diagnosis.

Some people may have to spend time in the hospital and fast for longer.

If symptoms appear after eating, they will need another glucose test after eating.

Learn more here about pancreatic cancer.

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 online.

The next step is to seek treatment for any underlying cause,

For diabetes

A person with diabetes should check their blood glucose and treat the hypoglycemia, then wait 15–20 minutes and check their blood sugar 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 sugar again.

People with diabetes need to keep to regular eating times. This will help to keep blood glucose levels stable

Severe symptoms

If symptoms are severe, and the individual cannot treat themselves, somebody else will need to apply honey, treacle, jam, or Glucogel to the inside of the cheeks and then gently massage the outside of the cheeks.

The person should start feeling better within 10–20 minutes.

Losing consciousness

If the person loses consciousness, someone should place them in the recovery position, and a qualified health professional should administer a glucagon injection.

If this is not possible, someone should call for emergency services to take the person to the emergency department of a hospital.

It is important not to place food or drink into the mouth of an unconscious person, as it could block the airways.

Share on PinterestComplex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, can help prevent hypoglycemia.

A number of dietary factors may help control hypoglycemia.

Low-sugar diet: A low intake 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 small meals at least three times a day can help maintain blood sugar levels.

Find out more about counting carbs in our dedicated article here.

Some people have recommended a low-sugar, high-protein diet for people with hypoglycemia, but this may reduce glucose tolerance and add unwanted fat to the diet.

Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia both relate to blood sugar levels, but they are not the same.

Hypoglycemia: There is too little glucose in the blood, below 70 mg/dL.

Hyperglycemia: Glucose levels are too high, above 126 mg/L when fasting or 200 mg/dL 2 hours after eating.

Eating regular meals that include complex carbohydrates can prevent hypoglycemia for most people.

Those with a risk of hypoglycemia due to a medical condition should also:

Follow a treatment plan: It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions and seek help if symptoms change.

Checking blood glucose levels: Those at risk should check their blood sugar levels regularly and know how to recognize the symptoms.

Alcohol: Follow the daily alcohol limits that a doctor recommends and avoid drinking alcohol without food.

Exercise: Eat a carbohydrate-rich snack before exercising and be aware of how exercise can impact blood sugar levels.

Taking care when sick: Vomiting, for example, can prevent the body from absorbing enough energy.

Being ready: Carry a container of sugary fruit juice or a candy bar in case symptoms appear.

Letting people know: Those who are prone to low blood sugar should let friends, colleagues, and family members know.

Medical ID: Carrying a form of ID or medical bracelet will enable healthcare providers, emergency services, and others to know what to do sooner.

Hypoglycemia can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and, in severe cases, a loss of consciousness.

People with a number of medical conditions, including diabetes, may have a higher risk of hypoglycemia.

It is important to know how to recognize the symptoms and to be ready to take action if they occur.

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

Hypoglycemia refers to low levels of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. Hypoglycemia is not a disease, but it can indicate a health problem.

All the body’s cells, including the brain, need energy to function. Glucose supplies energy to the body. Insulin, a hormone, enables the cells to absorb and use it.

Signs of low blood sugar include hunger, trembling, heart racing, nausea, and sweating. In severe cases, it can lead to coma and death.

Hypoglycemia can occur with several conditions, but it most commonly happens as a reaction to medications, such as insulin. People with diabetes use insulin to treat high blood sugar.

Hypoglycemia happens when there is not enough glucose, or sugar, in the blood.

The National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), note that symptoms usually appear when blood sugar levels are below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

However, this number can vary between individuals.

Blood glucose monitors are available for purchase online.

People with mild hypoglycemia may experience the following 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

Complications

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

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

Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.

A person who regularly experiences hypoglycemia may become unaware that it is happening or getting worse. They will not notice the warning signs, and this can lead to severe and possibly fatal complications.

Hypoglycemia is often a sign of poorly managed diabetes.

Hypoglycemia can occur for various 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 other words, even if there is plenty of glucose available, a cell will starve of energy if there is no insulin.

After eating, the pancreas automatically releases the right amount of insulin to move the glucose in blood into the cells. As glucose enters the cells, the blood sugar levels fall.

Any extra glucose goes into the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen, or stored glucose. The body can use this glucose later when it needs more energy.

Insulin is responsible for bringing high blood sugar 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 stored 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 cannot produce insulin.

Type 2 diabetes: The body’s 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 type 2 need to take insulin or other drugs to reduce their blood sugar levels.

If the dose is too high, blood sugar levels can fall too far, leading to hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia can also occur if the person exercises more than usual or does not eat enough.

A person does not need to increase their dose to have too much insulin in their body. It may be that the insulin they took was more than their body needed at that moment.

According to the NIDDK, both insulin and two other drugs can result in hypoglycemia. These drugs are sulfonylureas and meglitinides.

Hypoglycemia in children: Pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia

Some children experience pediatric ketotic hypoglycemia, involving low blood sugar levels and high levels of a substance known as ketones.

Doctors do not know exactly why this happens, but causes may include:

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

Symptoms usually appear after the age of 6 months and disappear 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 as soon as possible.

Insulin autoimmune syndrome

Another possible cause of hypoglycemia is insulin autoimmune syndrome, a rare disease that happens when the body’s immune system attacks insulin, mistaking it for an unwanted 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 usually 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 hypertension (high blood pressure) may also cause blood sugar levels to drop. It can also happen when a person takes diabetes medication without having diabetes.

Alcohol consumption: Drinking large amounts of alcohol can cause the liver to stop releasing 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 blood 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 too much insulin.

Increased activity: Increasing levels of physical activity can lower blood sugar levels for some time.

Endocrine problems: Some disorders of the adrenal and pituitary glands can lead to hypoglycemia. This is more common in children than adults.

Reactive, or postprandial, hypoglycemia: The pancreas produces too much insulin after a meal.

Tumors: Rarely, a tumor in a part of the body 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 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 collection of three criteria, known as Whipple’s criteria, can suggest that symptoms stem from a pancreatic tumor.

The three criteria of Whipple’s 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 may ask them to fast for a time, usually overnight. This allows hypoglycemia to occur so that the doctor can make a diagnosis.

Some people may have to spend time in the hospital and fast for longer.

If symptoms appear after eating, they will need another glucose test after eating.

Learn more here about pancreatic cancer.

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 online.

The next step is to seek treatment for any underlying cause,

For diabetes

A person with diabetes should check their blood glucose and treat the hypoglycemia, then wait 15–20 minutes and check their blood sugar 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 sugar again.

People with diabetes need to keep to regular eating times. This will help to keep blood glucose levels stable

Severe symptoms

If symptoms are severe, and the individual cannot treat themselves, somebody else will need to apply honey, treacle, jam, or Glucogel to the inside of the cheeks and then gently massage the outside of the cheeks.

The person should start feeling better within 10–20 minutes.

Losing consciousness

If the person loses consciousness, someone should place them in the recovery position, and a qualified health professional should administer a glucagon injection.

If this is not possible, someone should call for emergency services to take the person to the emergency department of a hospital.

It is important not to place food or drink into the mouth of an unconscious person, as it could block the airways.

Share on PinterestComplex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, can help prevent hypoglycemia.

A number of dietary factors may help control hypoglycemia.

Low-sugar diet: A low intake 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 small meals at least three times a day can help maintain blood sugar levels.

Find out more about counting carbs in our dedicated article here.

Some people have recommended a low-sugar, high-protein diet for people with hypoglycemia, but this may reduce glucose tolerance and add unwanted fat to the diet.

Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia both relate to blood sugar levels, but they are not the same.

Hypoglycemia: There is too little glucose in the blood, below 70 mg/dL.

Hyperglycemia: Glucose levels are too high, above 126 mg/L when fasting or 200 mg/dL 2 hours after eating.

Eating regular meals that include complex carbohydrates can prevent hypoglycemia for most people.

Those with a risk of hypoglycemia due to a medical condition should also:

Follow a treatment plan: It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions and seek help if symptoms change.

Checking blood glucose levels: Those at risk should check their blood sugar levels regularly and know how to recognize the symptoms.

Alcohol: Follow the daily alcohol limits that a doctor recommends and avoid drinking alcohol without food.

Exercise: Eat a carbohydrate-rich snack before exercising and be aware of how exercise can impact blood sugar levels.

Taking care when sick: Vomiting, for example, can prevent the body from absorbing enough energy.

Being ready: Carry a container of sugary fruit juice or a candy bar in case symptoms appear.

Letting people know: Those who are prone to low blood sugar should let friends, colleagues, and family members know.

Medical ID: Carrying a form of ID or medical bracelet will enable healthcare providers, emergency services, and others to know what to do sooner.

Hypoglycemia can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and, in severe cases, a loss of consciousness.

People with a number of medical conditions, including diabetes, may have a higher risk of hypoglycemia.

It is important to know how to recognize the symptoms and to be ready to take action if they occur.

Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Safety Tips



Overview

What is hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is when the level of sugar in the blood drops below a healthy range. It’s also called low blood sugar or low blood glucose.

Everyone has different levels of blood sugar at different times. But for most people, low blood sugar is defined as below 70 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). Severe hypoglycemia usually happens at lower levels and is generally defined as a low blood sugar event that requires the assistance of someone else in order to correct the low blood sugar. Severe hypoglycemia is dangerous and needs treatment right away.



Symptoms and Causes

What causes hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia comes from too much insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone that controls certain functions in your body. It helps your body use glucose for energy.

What’s the link between diabetes and hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is most common, by far, in people with diabetes. Treatment for the disease often involves taking medication to increase insulin. Hypoglycemia can develop if things like food, exercise and diabetes medications are out of balance.

Common pitfalls for people with diabetes include:

  • Being more active than usual.
  • Drinking alcohol without eating.
  • Eating late or skipping meals.
  • Not balancing meals by including fat, protein and fiber.
  • Not eating enough carbohydrates.
  • Not timing insulin and carb intake correctly (for example, waiting too long to eat a meal after taking insulin for the meal).

Also, if someone with diabetes uses the wrong insulin, takes too much or injects it incorrectly, that can cause hypoglycemia.

Can someone have hypoglycemia without diabetes?

Very rarely, someone has hypoglycemia without diabetes. Scientists are still trying to understand the cause.

What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia?

Symptoms of hypoglycemia can start quickly, with people experiencing them in different ways. The signs of hypoglycemia are unpleasant. But they provide good warnings that you should take action before blood sugar drops more. The signs include:

  • Shaking or trembling.
  • Sweating and chills.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Faster heart rate.
  • Headaches.
  • Hunger.
  • Nausea.
  • Nervousness or irritability.
  • Pale skin.
  • Restless sleep.
  • Weakness.

You may also experience symptoms while sleeping:

  • Crying out loud.
  • Feeling tired or confused after waking up.
  • Having nightmares.
  • Sweating through pajamas or sheets.

When a hypoglycemic episode gets worse, the brain doesn’t get enough sugar, so you may experience:

  • Blurry vision.
  • Confusion or trouble concentrating.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Tingling or numbness in the face or mouth.

During a severe hypoglycemic event, a person may:

  • Be unable to eat or drink.
  • Have a seizure or convulsions (out-of-control body jerks).
  • Lose consciousness.
  • Slip into a coma or die (very rarely).

Does everyone have symptoms from hypoglycemia?

Some people don’t have symptoms or don’t notice them. Healthcare providers call that situation hypoglycemia unawareness. People with such a challenge aren’t aware when they need to do something about their blood sugar. They’re then more likely to have severe episodes and need medical help. People with hypoglycemia unawareness should check their blood sugar more often.



Diagnosis and Tests

How is hypoglycemia diagnosed?

The only way to know if you have hypoglycemia is to check your blood sugar with a blood glucose meter. It’s a small machine that measures blood sugar. Most of these devices use a tiny prick of the finger to take a small amount of blood.

People with hypoglycemia unawareness may need a continuous glucose monitor. These wearable devices measure glucose every few minutes, day and night. An alarm sounds if blood sugar drops too low.



Management and Treatment

How do I treat an episode of hypoglycemia?

The American Diabetes Association recommends the “15-15 rule” for an episode of hypoglycemia:

  • Eat or drink 15 grams of carbs to raise your blood sugar.
  • After 15 minutes, check your blood sugar.
  • If it’s still below 70 mg/dL, have another 15 grams of carbs.
  • Repeat until your blood sugar is at least 70 mg/dL.

If you have symptoms of hypoglycemia but can’t test your blood sugar, use the 15-15 rule until you feel better.

Note: Children need fewer grams of carbs. Check with your healthcare provider.

How do I measure carbs?

To know how many carbs you’re having, read food labels. Some examples of about 15 grams:

  • 1 small piece of fruit.
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey or corn syrup.
  • 1 tube instant glucose gel (check the instructions).
  • 3 peppermint candies (not sugar-free).
  • 3-4 glucose tablets (check the instructions).
  • 4 ounces (half-cup) of juice or regular soda (not diet).
  • 5 Life Savers® candies (not sugar-free).

What if the 15-15 rule doesn’t work?

If you don’t feel better after three tries, or if your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider or 911. Healthcare providers can use a medication called glucagon. They inject it with a needle or squirt it up your nose. Glucagon is also available for home use. Your healthcare provider can prescribe it and teach a family member or friend how to use it in the event of severe hypoglycemia.



Prevention

How can I prevent hypoglycemic episodes?

The key to preventing hypoglycemic events is managing diabetes:

  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about food and exercise.
  • Track your blood sugar regularly, including before and after meals, before and after exercise and before bed.
  • Take all your medications exactly as prescribed.
  • When you do have a hypoglycemic event, write it down. Include details such as the time, what you ate recently, whether you exercised, the symptoms and your glucose level.



Outlook / Prognosis

What is the outlook for people with hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia can be managed when you and your healthcare provider understand what causes your blood sugar to go down. Give your healthcare provider as much information as possible about any hypoglycemic episodes. Fixing the problem may be as simple as changing the times you take medication, eat and exercise. Minor changes to the types of food you eat may also help.



Living With

How can I be better prepared for hypoglycemia?

You can take some steps to be ready for hypoglycemia:

  • Be aware of the symptoms and treat them early.
  • Carry some fast-acting carbs with you all the time.
  • Check your glucose levels frequently, especially around meals and exercise.
  • Inform family, friends and co-workers so they know what do if you need help.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider regularly to make and update your plan.
  • Wear a medical bracelet that lets people know you have diabetes. Carry a card in your purse or wallet with instructions for hypoglycemia.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Hypoglycemia is quite common in people with diabetes. If not treated, it can cause troubling symptoms, and even serious health problems. Fortunately, you can avoid hypoglycemic episodes by monitoring your blood sugar. You can also make small adjustments to eating and exercising routines.

90,000 Short-term complications of diabetes | Medtronic Diabetes Russia

Hyperglycemia

An easy way to explain what hyperglycemia is is to describe it as the opposite of hypoglycemia and occurs when blood sugar is too high. According to the definition of the World Health Organization, such indicators are dangerous 1 :

  • Fasting blood glucose above 7.0 mmol / L (126 mg / dL)
  • Blood glucose level above 11.0 mmol / L (200 mg / dL) 2 hours after a meal

Hyperglycemia is a short-term complication of diabetes mellitus.However, persistently high blood sugar may be a major risk factor for the development of long-term complications in people with diabetes.

Factors contributing to an increase in blood sugar levels:

  • Injection of insufficient amount of insulin;
  • Skipping a dose of insulin or taking an antidiabetic drug;
  • Eating too many carbohydrates;
  • Physical activity, the intensity of which is less than planned;
  • Stress;
  • Infections in the body;
  • Drinking alcohol.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia can develop quite quickly, so you are required to immediately respond to the slightest of them. The higher the blood sugar level and the longer it is maintained, the more dangerous the condition can be.

Symptoms associated with hyperglycemia include:

  • Excessive thirst;
  • Increased urination;
  • Headache;
  • Fatigue;
  • Blurred vision.

Hyperglycemia can cause discomfort and anxiety, but most importantly, it must be avoided. If left untreated, this short-term complication can lead to future complications and even lead to a more serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. The Treat Hyperglycemia page provides information to help you figure out what to do if your blood sugar rises.

90,000 Dizziness in diabetic patients

“Partner” No. 9 (204) 2014

Diabetics often suffer from sudden or persistent dizziness. This symptom is a sign of low blood sugar or high blood pressure. Diseases of the cardiovascular system, as a consequence of diabetes, often begin exactly from dizziness.

Impaired consciousness, nausea and weakness can be caused by high blood sugar levels.Symptoms of low blood sugar include dizziness and imbalance.

Incessant dizziness and disturbances of consciousness, accompanied by headache, can also be a sign of high blood pressure. Damage to nerve cells, or neuropathy, as a consequence of diabetes mellitus, causes a violation of the vestibular apparatus.

It has been proven that the manifestation of impaired consciousness occurs more often in diabetic patients than in those who do not have diabetes.The reasons for this can be very different.

Hypoglycemia – low blood sugar

Acute dizziness and dizziness occurs with a low blood sugar concentration. These signs of hypoglycemia are far from the only ones. It is important to keep in mind: hypoglycemia never comes without symptoms!

The first signs of a decrease in blood sugar levels in each patient appear with varying degrees of intensity.If they are not recognized in time, a severe attack may occur, characterized by a lack of glucose supply to the brain, which, in turn, causes clouding of consciousness with a pronounced disorientation, often in combination with visual impairment, such as blinking of the eyes, as well as trembling of the whole body. At this moment, it is necessary to provide the patient with immediate assistance!

As soon as the primary symptoms become evident, the patient should immediately eat something and then have the sugar level measured.Readings below 60 mg / dL should be avoided!

When hypoglycemia occurs, the patient becomes dangerous both for himself and for others, for example, if he is at home, at the workplace or driving a car. Starting at 30 mg / dL, he may faint. 60% of hypoglycemic episodes occur at night. at this time of day, the need for insulin decreases.

How to help yourself?

A patient with diabetes mellitus should always and everywhere carry glucose in tablets or in small tubes in liquid form.Depending on the degree of hypoglycemia, it is recommended to eat 1-2 slices of bread to prevent a subsequent drop in blood sugar levels. Sweets saturated with fats, such as chocolate, are not suitable for fast supply of glucose to the body. fat interferes with the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.

Patients who often suffer from hypoglycemia are advised to carry a diabetic passport with them. In the event of a loss of consciousness, this greatly simplifies the rapid and effective provision of first aid to the patient.

Causes hypoglycemia

Knowing the causes of hypoglycemia, you can prevent its extreme manifestation. The most common causes of a drop in blood sugar levels include:

  • skipping meals or too low number of bread units in a portion of food, for example, before prolonged physical activity;
  • insulin administration without a subsequent meal or a long break between injection and meal;
  • high dose of insulin injection;
  • increased dosage of tableted antihyperglycemic agents, in particular such as glibenclamide;
  • side effects of other medicines, for example, acetylsalicylic acid, some antibiotics, phenylbutazone, coumarin derivatives.Non-selective beta-blockers, for example, propranolol, mask the signs of hypoglycemia, slow down the normalization of blood sugar after insulin injection, thus prolonging its action. Glucocorticoids and oral contraceptives weaken the hypoglycemic effect of insulin and diabetes pills;
  • Excessive alcohol consumption without additional carbohydrate-rich food intake is especially dangerous, since hypoglycemia can occur several hours after alcohol intake, in particular, in the early morning or in the morning of the next day.

Hyperglycemia – high blood sugar

Unlike hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia manifests itself less noticeably and, as a rule, with a slight increase in blood sugar (up to 200 mg / dL), it often goes away unnoticed. The main signs of hyperglycemia are strong urge to urinate, thirst, and dry mouth. Often, after the excretion of sugar in the urine, symptoms of dehydration appear, which are characterized by confusion and dizziness.If these symptoms are ignored for several days or several weeks, then due to a lack of minerals, a coma can develop – a consequence of dehydration! Chronic or recurrent attacks of dizziness, varying in intensity and duration, especially when combined with headache, are the main signs of high blood pressure! In this case, the headache manifests itself most often in the morning in the back of the head. Clouding of consciousness in such cases is accompanied by ringing in the ears.

High blood pressure in diabetic patients is of great importance for the development of subsequent diseases. Therefore, if you, having measured the pressure twice on different days and at different times of the day, received readings above 135/85 mm Hg. Art., you urgently need to see a doctor.

In conclusion, it must be said: dizziness in diabetic patients is never without reason. Therefore, be attentive to yourself! Your doctor will advise you on the cause of dizziness and dizziness and give you the help you need.Remember, too, that dizziness and diabetes do not necessarily occur at the same time.

90,000 DREAM |

Patients very often use the term “ dizziness ” to describe a range of sensations. It means a feeling of faintness, weakness, instability, the illusion of rotation of objects. Dizziness is one of the most common reasons for visiting a doctor, not only in our country, but all over the world.

Although 90,057 dizziness 90,058 can occur at any age, it is most common among 90,057 older 90,058 people. Often dizziness can cause falls and injuries, therefore it can significantly limit the physical and social activity of 90,057 elderly 90,058 patients.

When contacting a doctor about dizziness , try to describe your feelings as accurately as possible. This will help the specialist in diagnosing the causes of the that caused it.

What are the most common causes of dizziness?

The most common 9057 causes of dizziness are:

  • Low blood pressure – may be accompanied by feeling lightheaded, dizziness , nausea , general weakness , sweating, sometimes chest pain and drowsiness . These symptoms are triggered by a decrease in the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain.If the pressure drops too much, fainting may develop. The causes of low blood pressure can be: bleeding, anemia, dehydration, alcohol consumption, pregnancy, vegetative-vascular dystonia, taking certain medications (nitrates, beta and alpha blockers, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, pills for the treatment of erectile dysfunction).
  • High blood pressure (hypertension, symptomatic arterial hypertension) – may be accompanied by headache , dizziness , nausea , vomiting .At the same time, complaints do not always correlate with the level of increased blood pressure.
  • Diabetes mellitus – in this case dizziness can be caused by a sharp drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) due to exceeding the required dose of insulin or skipping meals. Dizziness is accompanied by a general weakness , sweating, a feeling of lightheadedness, nausea . All symptoms disappear after the administration of glucose to the patient or the consumption of sweet foods.In addition, the cause of dizziness in diabetes mellitus can be a sharp increase in blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) due to a lack of insulin and autonomic dysfunction, which is often a complication of diabetes.
  • Thyroid pathology . Thyrotoxicosis (excess of thyroid hormones) is accompanied by palpitations, shortness of breath and can provoke 90 057 dizziness due to impaired blood supply to the brain due to a drop in cardiac output.Hypothyroidism (lack of thyroid hormones) – can lead to a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate , which causes 90,057 dizziness , general weakness and drowsiness .
  • Addison’s disease (insufficient production of cortisol by the adrenal glands) – may be accompanied by a general weakness , fatigue, dizziness , a decrease in blood pressure , , a drop in blood sugar.
  • Hyperventilation , which occurs when the respiratory rate increases and can be a manifestation of stress or a symptom of respiratory diseases (bronchial asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia). With hyperventilation, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood decreases, which leads to dizziness , weakness , tingling in the hands and feet.
  • Diseases of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy) and cardiac conduction disorders (arrhythmias, tachycardia, bradycardia) can lead to the appearance of weakness and dizziness due to impaired blood supply to the brain.
  • Vasovagal syncope – excessive irritation of the vagus nerve due to emotional stress leads to a slowdown of heart contractions, the appearance of dizziness , after which fainting may develop.
  • Labyrinthitis is an inflammatory process that develops in the inner ear and causes impairment of hearing and balance. Labyrinthitis leads to the development of severe forms vertigo , in which the patient experiences a sensation of objects rotating.This dizziness is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting , aggravated by movement.
  • Meniere’s disease – a disease in which an increase in the volume of fluid – endolymph occurs in the inner ear. Its manifestations are dizziness , described by patients as a sensation of objects rotating, noise in the ears and hearing impairment. Vertigo often accompanied by nausea and vomiting and worse with head movements.
  • Neuroma of the auditory nerve – a benign tumor of the auditory nerve, in which, along with hearing impairment, tinnitus, there is also dizziness .
  • Strokes, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis – also can be the cause of vertigo .
  • Head and Neck Injury .
  • Pathological processes in the cervical spine ( cervical osteochondrosis , myofascial pain syndrome in the neck) can cause the development of cervicogenic vertigo .

When should I call a doctor immediately if I feel dizzy?

Dizziness in some cases can signal serious health problems. Call your doctor immediately if dizziness is accompanied by the following symptoms :

  • Chest pain, shortness of breath and palpitations
  • Bleeding from any source
  • Impaired consciousness, confusion of thought, speech impairment, weakness in the limbs, asymmetry of facial muscles, severe headache.

Also, dizziness should not be ignored if you are diabetic, dehydrated due to prolonged fever, vomiting or diarrhea.

What diagnostic tests are used to determine the causes of dizziness?

Diagnosis of the causes of , which caused the development of vertigo , begins with a detailed analysis of the patient’s complaints and the history of the development of his disease.This is often enough to make a correct diagnosis. During the examination, the specialist may ask you:

  • Is the appearance or intensification of vertigo related to the rapid transition from a prone position to a sitting position?
  • Does turning the head to the sides provoke the appearance of dizziness ?
  • What can make dizziness worse ?
  • Is dizziness accompanied by noise in the ears and hearing loss?

Physical examination at dizziness includes measuring blood pressure , pressure and pulse rate, and a thorough neurological examination.

If necessary, the doctor may prescribe:

  • General blood analysis
  • Blood sugar test
  • Determination of the concentration of electrolytes in the blood
  • Study of the functional activity of the thyroid gland
  • Doppler ultrasonography of the great vessels of the head
  • X-ray of the cervical spine
  • CT, MRI

How is vertigo treated?

Since dizziness is symptom , and is not an independent disease, its treatment directly depends on the causes that caused it.

If necessary, the doctor can recommend you to take medications, manual therapy , physiotherapy, reflexology , psychotherapy, vestibular gymnastics.

What kind of lifestyle should you lead if you feel dizzy?

If you are worried about dizziness:

  • Avoid the sudden transition from horizontal to vertical
  • If you feel unsteady, use a cane while walking to avoid possible falls and injury.
  • Use anti-slip shower mats and handrails in the bathroom
  • If you have an episode of dizziness try to sit down or go to bed right away
  • If you have frequent bouts of dizziness , avoid driving and working at heights and with moving machinery
  • Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine, salt and alcoholic beverages
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, eat healthy foods, avoid stress and get enough sleep
  • If dizziness is caused by medication, consult your doctor about the possibility of changing the drug that caused the dizziness or adjusting the dose

If you are worried about dizziness, then to search for its causes and the appointment of effective treatment, contact the Department of Reflexology of the Kharkiv Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education.Our specialists will prescribe you a full range of necessary diagnostic measures and select the most effective treatment aimed at eliminating the causes of dizziness. You can sign up for a consultation by phone or in the form of an appointment.

90,000 It was hard. Why is glucose deficiency dangerous? | Healthy life | Health

Dizzy, weakness and headache? You look paler and your heart rate quickens? Perhaps it is hypoglycemia – a sharp drop in blood sugar.This condition is often considered a consequence of diabetes, but it can occur on its own. About why a complication arises and how to recognize it, AiF.ru told Head of the Department of Endocrine and Metabolic Surgery of the Moscow Scientific Center, Ph.D. Sergey Mosin .

Below normal

After eating, glucose enters the bloodstream, which is the main source of energy for all cells in the body. To help them use this energy, the pancreas secretes insulin, a hormone that allows glucose to enter cells.The sugar level should be within acceptable limits at all times. Accordingly, vital organs suffer from a lack of glucose, primarily the brain, which needs the most energy.

It is not difficult to understand the causes of hypoglycemia: either too little glucose enters the bloodstream, or it “leaves” too quickly from there into the cells. In the first case, the problem occurs when a person regularly skips meals, such as breakfast. The stomach is empty, the energy spent on the road to work, and then you can feel that your head is spinning.Also, hypoglycemia often affects those who are on a diet or eat a very “cut” menu, especially with a “bias” towards certain foods. There are not enough nutrients, the body has nowhere to take energy. The second option can be observed in patients with diabetes mellitus receiving insulin. After the injection, they need to eat something – at least a bun. But if it so happened that insulin was injected, but food was not received, then the acting hormone lowers the glucose level.

It also happens that a lack of sugar in the blood occurs due to a tumor of the pancreas – insulinoma.Most often it is a benign formation, which constantly and uncontrollably produces an increased amount of insulin. It is possible to detect such a problem only after a series of studies and analyzes. Therefore, if attacks of sugar reduction are repeated regularly for no apparent reason, it is worth contacting an endocrinologist.

Chocolate as medicine

The most striking symptoms, which immediately almost unmistakably indicate to the doctor about this pathology, are sudden dizziness, chills and disturbance of consciousness.Nervousness may appear, which is accompanied by headache, rapid pulse, cold sweat and pallor of the skin. In addition, a patient with hypoglycemia is characterized by problems with coordination of movements, he can easily faint.

Hypoglycemia is said when the following blood sugar levels are noted: for men – 2.5-2.8 mmol / l, for women – 1.9 – 2.2 mmol / l. You can also determine hypoglycemia yourself – today there are many different tools for measuring blood sugar in pharmacies.

First aid is aimed at correcting sugar levels. If a person is simply dizzy and a little cloudy, it is enough to have a snack. Alternatively, you can use traditional “fast” carbohydrates – chocolate, baked goods, etc.

If a person has lost consciousness, he should be laid on a flat surface, unbuttoned the collar and provide an influx of fresh air. You need to try to gently bring him to his senses. After he comes to his senses, he should be given tea with sugar or a couple of sugar cubes to dissolve.Such a measure allows you to quickly increase blood sugar levels and correct the situation.

A single attack usually does not carry any danger. But with the development of hypoglycemia, up to regular fainting, especially if its causes are not clear, you should definitely consult an endocrinologist. The treatment plan is drawn up based on the results of blood tests for glucose, insulin, some other hormones, and other types of studies.

Determining the problem

Degree

Sugar indicators

What leads to

Light

3.5 mmol / L

Unexplained anxiety, hunger and nausea, numbness of lips, fingertips, palpitations, chills

Average

3.5-2.2 mmol / L

Mood decline, short-term mental disorders, anxiety, irritability, inability to concentrate, headaches, vision problems, impaired motor coordination (problems with walking, difficulty speaking)

Heavy

Below 2.2 mmol / L

Loss of consciousness, convulsions, prolonged coma, decrease in body temperature, problems with the heart and blood vessels, brain damage

See also:

Hypoglycemia

IMPORTANT!

The information in this section cannot be used for self-diagnosis and self-medication.In case of pain or other exacerbation of the disease, only the attending physician should prescribe diagnostic tests. For a diagnosis and correct prescription of treatment, you should contact your attending physician.

Hypoglycemia – causes of occurrence, in what diseases it occurs, diagnosis and methods of treatment.

Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by a low concentration of glucose in the blood. It is known that a persistent increase in the concentration of glucose in the blood is a sign of diabetes mellitus.However, a lack of glucose (a state of hypoglycemia) is no less dangerous. Why? This will be discussed in this article.

Glucose serves as the main energy substrate in our body. Its main source is food carbohydrates. Glucose enters the bloodstream from the small intestine during digestion. Excess glucose is excreted in the urine. It is believed that more than half of all glucose entering the body is consumed by the brain, with glucose being the main source of energy for the central nervous system.

That is why, in the case of hypoglycemia, energy starvation of the brain develops, and symptoms such as weakness, increased fatigue, dizziness appear, and in severe cases, loss of consciousness and convulsions.

Regulation of carbohydrate metabolism is carried out under the control of the nervous and endocrine systems. At the cellular level, this process is carried out with the participation of hormones. So, insulin produced by the pancreas reduces the concentration of glucose in the blood, and hormones such as adrenaline, glucagon, cortisol, thyroid hormones, on the contrary, increase.A critical decrease in blood glucose levels is a dangerous condition for the body, since the brain ceases to receive enough energy. In such a situation, the adrenal glands are immediately activated and release a large amount of adrenaline into the bloodstream. It is this hormone that contributes to an increase in glucose levels due to the breakdown of glycogen in the liver.

However, the action of adrenaline is associated with a number of side effects, among which it is worth noting anxiety, increased sweating, pallor, muscle tremors, and increased heart rate.As the reaction decreases, the feeling of hunger arises.

These conditions are also characteristic of hypoglycemia.

It is considered to be a critically low blood glucose concentration of 2.2-2.8 mmol / l.

Varieties of hypoglycemic syndrome

Hypoglycemia is not a disease, but a condition common to many diseases. The degree of hypoglycemia can vary widely, and it is she who will determine the procedure for providing first aid to the patient and the need for emergency medical care.

Depending on the severity of symptoms, hypoglycemia is divided into the following types:

  • mild hypoglycemia – a condition in which a person can provide himself with first aid and make up for the lack of glucose in the blood;
  • hypoglycemia of moderate severity – a condition in which a person cannot help himself on his own, and the help of other people is required;
  • severe hypoglycemia – hypoglycemic coma, the most severe stage of the hypoglycemic syndrome, which is accompanied by loss of consciousness and requires urgent medical attention.

Causes of hypoglycemia

Most often, hypoglycemia develops in people with diabetes and receiving insulin or other drugs that lower the concentration of glucose.

An excessive decrease in the level of this indicator occurs due to a discrepancy between the dose of the drug and the initial concentration of glucose in the blood at the time of taking the drug. When does this happen? For example, if, after taking the prescribed dose of a hypoglycemic drug, the patient ate less carbohydrate-containing foods than required, or physically overexerted.Often, hypoglycemia occurs in patients with diabetes mellitus when drinking alcoholic beverages. To prevent the development of hypoglycemia, doctors recommend that patients with diabetes mellitus maintain a blood glucose level of at least 4 mmol / L.

The state of hypoglycemia can also develop in a healthy person in the event of starvation, severe emotional stress, prolonged physical or mental stress without replenishing glucose reserves.

Hypoglycemia can occur after drinking alcohol, especially on an empty stomach or immediately after intense exercise.Also, the development of this condition is possible some time after taking an excessive amount of sweet: in response to a sharp increase in the concentration of glucose in the blood, too much insulin is produced by the pancreas, which leads to a sharp drop in glucose levels and the development of a hypoglycemic state.

The list of diseases that cause hypoglycemia is truly great.

  • Diabetes mellitus in case of overdose of hypoglycemic drugs.
  • Diseases of the intestines and pancreas, accompanied by impaired digestion and absorption of carbohydrates: infectious enteritis, severe food allergy, chronic pancreatitis.
  • Endocrine diseases: insufficient production of growth hormone by the pituitary gland, adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, insufficient production of glucagon, congenital hyperinsulinism, tumors producing insulin (insulinomas).
  • Kidney disease in which the reuptake of glucose from urine into the blood is impaired (renal glucosuria).
  • Liver diseases: cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, fatty liver disease.
  • Severe course of infectious diseases, in which the energy, the source of which is glucose, is spent on the fight against the causative agent of the infection.
  • Hereditary diseases, which are based on a violation of carbohydrate metabolism: glycogenosis, aglycogenosis, deficiency of enzymes fructose-1,6-diphosphatase, glucose-6-phosphatase, etc.

Which doctors should I contact?

If this is your first time with the problem of hypoglycemia, then you should definitely contact
therapist.It is this doctor, after a detailed interview, a thorough and comprehensive examination, will be able to diagnose or, at least, suggest the cause of the development of hypoglycemia and will send for additional laboratory and instrumental examinations and consultation with specialist doctors, for example,
endocrinologist,
gastroenterologist, nephrologist. If you have already seen these doctors, for example, about diabetes mellitus or chronic pancreatitis, you can directly contact your doctor with a problem.

Diagnostics and examination

Diagnosis of hypoglycemia is straightforward. It is much more difficult to understand the true cause of this condition. For this, a wide range of laboratory and instrumental examinations is carried out:

  • determination of blood glucose concentration and daily monitoring of glucose levels;

How to recognize hypoglycemia and what to do with it

What is hypoglycemia

If you translate this word literally from ancient Greek, you get something like “unsweetened blood.”Actually, the ancient Greek Aesculapius – the discoverers of this condition – really defined hypoglycemia by taste.

Modern doctors give a more physiological formulation. Hypoglycemia is a condition in which blood glucose (sugar) levels drop dramatically. And the liquid really becomes less sweet. But, of course, this is not the problem.

Glucose is the main source of energy in our body. When there is enough of it, we feel cheerful and full of strength.But if your blood sugar goes down, your organs and tissues are not getting enough nutrition. Sometimes disastrous.

Why hypoglycemia is dangerous

A situation where glucose levels fall below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dl), or 3.9 millimoles per liter (mmol / L), requires an immediate response. Fortunately, most often it is not difficult to help: in order to return sugar to normal, it is enough to give a person food or drink containing a large amount of fast carbohydrates, which will turn into glucose in the body as quickly as possible – a couple of cubes of refined sugar, candy, a handful of raisins, sweet soda or juice …

But if you ignore the drop in glucose levels, serious health problems are possible – up to loss of consciousness, seizures, damage to the heart, blood vessels, brain and the development of hypoglycemic coma.

What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia

It is not difficult to recognize an abnormal condition: it has rather characteristic signs that appear one after another as the glucose deficiency increases. First, the following symptoms appear :

  • unexplained anxiety, irritability;
  • feeling of hunger;
  • mild nausea;
  • heart palpitations;
  • pale skin;
  • sweating;
  • slight dizziness;
  • weakness;
  • finger trembling;
  • Feels as if lips and tongue are going numb.

If the sugar level continues to fall, other signs will be added:

  • loss of concentration;
  • darkening in the eyes;
  • confusion of consciousness;
  • and so on up to convulsions and fainting.

When you need to immediately seek help

Call your doctor (general practitioner or endocrinologist) or, depending on the severity of the situation, dial the ambulance number 103 if:

  • you are alone and feel that you are about to lose consciousness;
  • the symptoms of hypoglycemia are increasing, and they are not reduced by drinking juice or eaten chocolate;
  • people with signs of glucose deficiency have fainted before your very eyes;
  • You suffer from diabetes and feel the increasing symptoms of a lack of sugar at a time when there is no carbohydrate food or necessary medications at hand.

Why hypoglycemia appears and what to do about it

Hypoglycemia is good (so to speak) because it is relatively easy to reverse. But it is even easier not to allow it at all. To do this, you need to understand what causes this condition.

1. Taking certain medications for diabetes

With this disease, blood sugar levels rise. This is due to a lack (type 1 diabetes) or the body’s immunity (type 2 diabetes) to insulin, the “key” that allows glucose to enter the cells.Since organs and tissues cannot take sugar from the bloodstream, the blood becomes oversaturated with glucose. This condition is called hyperglycemia. It is no less, but rather more harmful than hypoglycemia.

People with diabetes take insulin or other drugs that lower blood sugar to prevent hyperglycemia. Accidental overdose of these medications results in a sharp drop in glucose levels.

What to do

Be attentive to the dose of medication you are taking.If hypoglycemic attacks do recur, be sure to tell your doctor-endocrinologist about them. He will adjust the dose or possibly prescribe an alternative drug.

2. Lack of nutrition

Blood glucose decreases in those who regularly skip meals (such as breakfast), are on a strict diet or suffer from an eating disorder. It is especially dangerous to limit oneself in food for those who suffer from diabetes. Immediately after the injection of insulin, you must definitely eat something – at least an apple.Insulin makes the cells literally suck glucose out of the blood, and if you don’t replenish its stores, you can bring yourself to a hypoglycemic attack.

What to do

A calorie deficit does not necessarily lead to hypoglycemia. But if this happens, reconsider the diet. Try to eat small meals, but regularly – every few hours. And don’t forget to have a snack right after taking insulin if you have diabetes.

Avoid dehydration as well.Its symptoms (dizziness, nervousness, darkening of the eyes) are often similar to those of hypoglycemia.

3. Exercise on an empty stomach

If you have not eaten for a long time, your blood sugar level will be expectedly low. And vigorous gym work will make your body use even more glucose.

What to do

If you notice the first symptoms of hypoglycemia, immediately reduce the load, for example, reduce the number of repetitions or stop training altogether.And remember for the future: to avoid falling sugar, it is important to eat one and a half to two hours before sports activities.

4. Excessive alcohol consumption

If you drink a lot of alcohol without snacking, your liver will be too busy detoxifying. This will prevent her from releasing glucose into the bloodstream, which can lead to hypoglycemia.

What to do

Try to stop drinking. Or, limit your alcohol consumption as much as possible.

5. Diseases of internal organs

The reason for regular attacks of hypoglycemia can be:

  • A tumor of the pancreas (insulinoma), which causes an overproduction of insulin in the body.
  • Liver lesions – for example, the same hepatitis.
  • Kidney disease. Because of this, the organ may not be able to remove drugs from the body quickly enough. And the accumulation of certain drugs in the blood can dramatically reduce glucose levels.
What to do

If hypoglycemic symptoms recur on a regular basis, although you are trying to eat well and do not have diabetes, be sure to report them to your GP. The doctor will conduct an examination and prescribe a series of tests to exclude or confirm possible diseases of the internal organs.

If any of the diseases is confirmed, first of all it is necessary to cure it. And hypoglycemia in this case will go away by itself – as a bonus.

Read also 💊🍬🆘

Hypoglycemia is a rather narrow topic related to diabetes mellitus.

Hypoglycemia is a rather narrow topic related to diabetes mellitus. However, it is still unrealistic to fully cover diabetes mellitus in one article.Therefore, today we will talk about one of its serious consequences, arising from a lack of glucose in the body. The hypoglycemic state develops with lightning speed, leads to severe disturbances in the functioning of the brain and is potentially fatal. Physiology of the Phenomenon Boring and dry definition at first. Hypoglycemia is an metabolic endocrine syndrome that occurs when the plasma glucose level drops by at least 0.5 mmol / l from the lower limit of the norm and is accompanied by symptoms of dysfunction of the central nervous system.Let us remind you that the norm is 3.5–5.5 mmol / l. The fact is that the brain is a highly energy-consuming organ (especially its gray matter), one might say – a spender. Yes, yes, in comparison with other organs, he consumes an unmeasured amount of energy and at the same time lives in isolation (cranium). This means that any starvation, be it oxygen or glucose, within a few minutes can lead to the death of an organ. And the fact that the brain resides in the cranium, unable to grow even with swelling of the cells, further exacerbates the problem.Here we must clarify that any tissue damage leads to edema: bite yourself on the finger and it will swell, but after a couple of days (or even hours) the swelling will disappear and the finger will regain its previous appearance and functionality, but swollen brains, having increased in size, will rest against the walls of the dungeon (skull) and begin to flow away to where there is free space. The vessels will shrink, nutrition will stop, damage to nerve cells will increase, the brains will swell even more and proceed to the foramen magnum. The neurons of the medulla oblongata, in which the most ancient centers of respiration and control of the cardiovascular system are located, will be the first to suffer, and this will finish off the body completely.And I ask you not to think that the brain swells only from hitting a wall – they swell from any damaging factor, including a lack of oxygen, glucose and other substrates that lead to cell damage. Causes of hypoglycemia Undoubtedly, patients suffering from diabetes mellitus are most susceptible to this condition, for example, due to an overdose of insulin, errors in the method of its administration (administration of insulin without prior shaking in a vial, administration of the drug to places where rapid absorption of the drug can occur).After all, some manage (apparently, thinking that for some reason they did not insert it), together with the subcutaneous injection, they also make an injection of insulin into a vein. By the way, the development of a hypoglycemic state after the very first injection of insulin is quite possible. After all, it is not always possible to predict the body’s response to the usual dose of the drug. The causes of hypoglycemia that are not associated with diabetes mellitus are also distinguished: tumors that produce insulin, adrenal insufficiency, renal and hepatic insufficiency. Alcohol, β-blockers, sulfonamides are also capable of lowering glucose levels … We will not list all the reasons, enough frequent ones.But we think you realized that this condition is not so rare. Even completely healthy people can experience it for themselves. Sometimes patients are brought to the hospital in an alcoholic coma with low sugar, especially during the cold period, when the muscles in the last attempt to save the body begin to contract, warming the body, but intensively consuming glucose. Someone may ask: what about the liver and glycogen stores in it? Good question. Let’s say more – not only the liver is able to maintain the vital activity of the nerve cell for some time, there are other systems and biochemical reactions (glycogenolysis, gluconeogenesis, proteolysis, lipolysis).However, these reserves are not endless and, in addition, are quite costly for the body, and the brain wants to eat here and now. And he, as an organ of higher origin, does not want to wait a couple of hours until “the chicken is caught, plucked and boiled.” The brain, like a hysterical woman, immediately loses consciousness and gives out convulsions, and not theatrical, but real. He feels bad, and he dies quickly … We want you to know how a person with hypoglycemia looks outwardly, especially since sometimes such people themselves do not notice their condition, pushing themselves to the limit.So, in a state of hypoglycemia, a person becomes indifferent to the environment, lethargic, drowsy. He has a feeling of hunger, headache, dizziness, fog in his eyes, “flies are floating”, images are “double”. If you do not help in time, the patient loses consciousness, while the jaws are compressed and cramps begin throughout the body. Muscle contractions also require energy, which further exacerbates the situation. The heart beats faster, blood pressure rises. Those who experience hypoglycemia in their sleep have nightmares.In a patient with diabetes mellitus, the above symptoms should unconditionally suggest hypoglycemia. How can this condition be prevented? The overwhelming majority of patients with diabetes mellitus do not need our advice, but still we will set out general recommendations. So: Patients prone to the development of a hypoglycemic state should eat 6 times a day. It is recommended to have a snack before bed to prevent hypoglycemia at night. When the first signs of hypoglycemia appear, it is enough to drink a glass of milk and determine the level of glycemia using a glucometer (fortunately, there are no problems with this now).If your blood sugar is less than 3.3 mmol / L, consume 10 g of glucose, for example in the form of 100 ml of orange juice and several crackers. In general, each patient should have a piece of sugar or candy hidden in his bosom and a document certifying that its owner has diabetes. In case of severe hypoglycemia, patients should have glucagon, a physiological insulin antagonist, with them, and their relatives should be able to inject it in a dose of 1 mg subcutaneously (I just don’t know if anyone has seen this drug with their own eyes).It is clear that if the patient is in a coma, then it is not necessary to push sweets into his mouth, it is still not enough to arrange aspiration with a foreign body.