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Low glucose levels indicate hypoglycemia

Updated: Jun 27, 2021

What is Hypoglycemia


Hypoglycemia or Low blood sugar simply means that your glucose or blood sugar levels are lower than the normal range. Since Glucose is the main energy source for your body and having low glucose can lead to many complications.


You may think that Hypoglycemia is a condition suffered by diabetic patients but it's not true anyone can get to face this problem of hypoglycemia and can be a symptom of early diabetes.


Hypoglycemia is rare in people without Diabetes but common in people with Diabetes.

You may be suffering from Hypoglycemia if your body is producing too much of Insulin( A hormone that breaks down glucose for body's energy) than required amount.


Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia are of Two types:

  1. Reactive Hypoglycemia: Occurs in few hours after meals and can be the start of diabetes

  2. Fasting Hypoglycemia: It occurs due to a disease or medication


Are Hypoglycemia and Diabetes related


A Diabetic patient suffers from high blood sugar level in their body and they take medication that increases insulin activity in body and this may reduce their blood sugar level and that results in Low blood sugar level or Hypoglycemia.So,this condition becomes a common problem in people suffering from diabetes.


Hypoglycemia(Low blood sugar) range


The sugar level below 70 mg/dL or 3.9mmol/L is considered to be low and is harmful for your health.

And if your Blood sugar level is below 54 mg/dL or 3.0mmol/L then you need to consult a doctor at the earliest.


What are the Signs and Symptoms of Low blood sugar or Hypoglycemia:

  1. More Hunger

  2. Shakiness

  3. Anxiety

  4. Numbness of lips,tongue and cheeks

  5. Dizziness or feeling weak

  6. Confusion or nervousness

  7. More Sweat

  8. Increased Heart beat

  9. Losing Consciousness


Symptoms according to blood sugar level:


Mild: below 70 mg/dL

• an urgent need to eat

• nervousness and shakiness

Moderate: below 55 mg/dL

• dizziness

• sleepiness

• confusion

• difficulty speaking

• feeling anxious or weak

Severe: below 35–40 mg/dL

• seizure or convulsion

• loss of consciousness, coma


The early Symptoms of Hypoglycemia in Diabetic and non-Diabetic are mostly same.


How can you decide its Diabetic or Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia:


According to uofmhealth.org Non-diabetic Hypoglycemia the blood sugar level is measured differently like a sudden drop of your blood sugar level may indicate that you have Hypoglycemia, For example; Your sugar level was more than 250mg/dL for a week and it suddenly drops to 100mg/dL and you may show symptoms of Hypoglycemia even if your blood sugar level is in the normal range.

But for a Diabetic person they won't show symptoms until their blood sugar level is below the normal range i.e 70 mg/dL or too low.


What causes Hypoglycemia


For Diabetic Hypoglycemia:

The side effects of diabetic pills like sulfonylureas and meglitinides(that helps the body to produce more insulin) may the common reason for a diabetic patient to suffer from Hypoglycemia.



For Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia:

1. Skipping your meal

You should always consider eating properly because you need energy in your body and if you skip or delay your meal this may result in sudden dropping of your blood sugar levels.


2. Not enough Carbs

Since Carbohydrates are broken down by the digestive system of your body into glucose and helps in maintaining blood sugar level and if you consume less carbs than normal level you may see blood sugar level drop.


3. Increased Exercise or Physical activity

More workout than normal can lower your blood sugar level if enough glucose .


4. Consumption of Alcohol

Alcohol makes it harder for your body to maintain your blood sugar level.


5.Anorexia

A mental health condition of fear of gaining weight may not let you eat enough food and will lower your blood sugar level.


6.Hepatitis

A inflammatory condition of liver which prevents the liver from working efficiently and will not be able to release glucose properly and thus reducing blood sugar level.


Hypoglycemia Treatments


Foods to raise low blood sugar quickly

  1. Fat free milk(1 cup or 8 ounces)

  2. Honey (1 tablespoon or 3 teaspoons)

  3. Raisins (2 tablespoons)

  4. Jelly beans (10 to 15)

  5. Fruit juice like banana,apple or orange regular(½–¾ cup or 4–6 ounces)

  6. Soda pop(½–¾ cup or 4–6 ounces)

  7. Table sugar (1 tablespoon or 3 teaspoons)

Raise blood sugar with Medication(without food)

1.Glucose gel : It contains dextrose and water and other small compounds that help in raising blood sugar level

2.Glucagon kit : It helps liver to release the stored sugar into the blood and is used in severe Hypoglycemia


3.Glucose tablets : These are chewable sugar that helps the body to raise blood sugar.



Resources:

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tm7018

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