What Are The Causes Of Hypoglycaemia
The usual causes of low blood glucose level are:
- not eating enough carbohydrate with your meal, eg, steak and salad with no carbohydrate such as bread/potato/kumara/rice/pasta
- missing or delaying a meal
- missing snacks
- doing physical activity without either reducing your insulin or taking more carbohydrate before, during or after physical activity
- taking too much insulin
- drinking alcohol in excess or without taking carbohydrate food and/or reducing your insulin.
The Effects Of Low Blood Sugar On Your Body
Every cell in your body needs energy to function. The main source of energy might come as a surprise: Its sugar, also known as glucose. Blood sugar is essential to proper brain, heart, and digestive function. It even helps keep your skin and vision healthy.
When your blood sugar levels fall below the normal range, its called hypoglycemia. There are many identifiable symptoms of low blood sugar, but the only way to know if you have low blood sugar is by taking a blood glucose test.
Learn more about the symptoms of low blood sugar, as well as the long-term effects on the body.
most common reasons for low blood sugar are some medications used to treat diabetes, such as insulin.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesnt make enough insulin, or your body cant use it properly. Too much insulin or oral diabetic medication can lower the blood sugar level, leading to hypoglycemia.
However, contrary to popular belief, low blood sugar isnt exclusive to diabetes, though it is rare. It can also happen if your body makes more insulin than it should.
Another possible cause of low blood sugar is drinking too much alcohol, especially over long periods of time. This can interfere with the livers ability to create a buildup of glucose and then release it into your bloodstream when you need it.
Other causes include:
How Is It Treated
If you often have symptoms of hypoglycemia, you should see your healthcare provider. Your provider can help you determine the cause. Your provider will also give you guidelines for treating low blood sugar when you are having symptoms.
When you see your provider, be sure to take your notebook or glucose meter with all of the results of your recent blood sugar checks. This helps your provider know whether you are on the right medicines and are taking the right dose at the right time of day. Without this record, it is harder for your provider to help you figure out the cause of your symptoms.
Here are some examples of guidelines your provider may give you:
- If you have diabetes and you think your blood sugar may be too low, check it with your home meter before treatment, if possible.
- Always carry some form of sugar you can eat as soon as you have any symptoms of hypoglycemia. The following amounts and types of foods will bring your blood sugar level up:
- 2 to 5 glucose tablets
- 1/2 cup fruit juice
- 6 to 8 ounces of skim milk
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup of raisins
- 5 to 7 pieces of hard candy like Lifesavers
- a tube of glucose in gel form
- 1 tablespoon of molasses, corn syrup, or honey
Don’t Miss: Reduce Sugar Level Immediately
Possible Causes With Diabetes
Diabetes affects your bodys ability to use insulin. Think of insulin as the key that unlocks your cells, letting in glucose for energy.
If you have diabetes, a variety of treatments can help the cells in your body use the glucose in your blood. Among these are insulin injections and oral medications that increase insulin production.
If you take too much of these types of medications, your blood sugar may drop too low. You may also sometimes experience low blood sugar if you plan to eat a big meal but then do not eat enough.
Skipping meals, eating less than usual, or eating later than usual but taking your medication at your usual time can also lead to low blood sugar levels.
Unplanned excess physical activity without eating enough can also cause a drop in blood sugar levels.
Drinking alcohol when youre on these medications can also lead to low blood sugar, especially if it replaces food. When your body is trying to get rid of alcohol, it becomes worse at managing blood sugar levels.
What To Do If You Have Low Blood Sugar Symptoms
If you have diabetes and are experiencing mild to moderate hypoglycemia symptoms, you need to immediately eat or drink 15 grams of easily digestible carbohydrates.
Very low blood sugar is a medical emergency. If you or someone else with diabetes is experiencing severe symptoms, such as unconsciousness, its important to administer a medication called glucagon and contact emergency services immediately.
If youre at risk for low blood sugar, its important to talk with your doctor about getting a prescription for glucagon.
You should never give an unconscious person anything by mouth, as it could cause them to choke. If you have diabetes, make sure your family and friends know not to do this if you lose consciousness.
Low blood sugar can occur for a number of reasons. Its usually a side effect of diabetes treatment.
Read Also: Sugar Increase Symptoms
Symptoms Of A Low Blood Sugar Level
A low blood sugar level can affect everyone differently. You’ll learn how it makes you feel, although your symptoms may change over time.
Early signs of a low blood sugar level include:
- a fast or pounding heartbeat
- becoming easily irritated, tearful, anxious or moody
- turning pale
If a low blood sugar level is not treated, you may get other symptoms, such as:
- unusual behaviour, slurred speech or clumsiness
- feeling sleepy
- seizures or fits
- collapsing or passing out
A low blood sugar level, or hypo, can also happen while you’re sleeping. This may cause you to wake up during the night or cause headaches, tiredness or damp sheets in the morning.
How Can I Prevent Insulin
- Check your blood sugar regularly.
- Know what causes low blood sugar.
- Eat at regular mealtimes. Do not delay or skip meals and do not eat partial meals.
- Take all medicines exactly as prescribed.
- Check your blood sugar more often when you are exercising more or eating less, or when you are sick, according to your healthcare providers recommendations.
- Keep your follow-up appointments with your provider.
Recommended Reading: Sugar Tablet Before Or After Food
Read Also: How To Control Urine Sugar
Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
Each person’s reaction to low blood sugar is different. Learn your own signs and symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. Taking time to write these symptoms down may help you learn your own symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. From milder, more common indicators to most severe, signs and symptoms of low blood sugar include:
- Feeling shaky
- Color draining from the skin
- Feeling sleepy
- Feeling weak or having no energy
- Blurred/impaired vision
- Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue or cheeks
- Nightmares or crying out during sleep
The only sure way to know whether you are experiencing low blood sugar is to check your blood sugar, if possible. If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unable to check your blood sugar for any reason, treat the hypoglycemia.
A low blood sugar level triggers the release of epinephrine , the fight-or-flight hormone. Epinephrine is what can cause the symptoms of hypoglycemia such as thumping heart, sweating, tingling and anxiety.
If the blood sugar level continues to drop, the brain does not get enough glucose and stops functioning as it should. This can lead to blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, confused thinking, slurred speech, numbness, and drowsiness. If blood sugar stays low for too long, starving the brain of glucose, it may lead to seizures, coma and very rarely death.
What Level Of Blood Sugar Is Dangerous
Knowing what level of blood sugar is dangerous is crucial for people with diabetes and those without. High levels of blood sugar are very serious and can lead to coma. The University of Michigan suggests that individuals with a blood sugar level of 300 mg/dL or higher should call their physician. Other symptoms include confusion, nausea, and dizziness. The best way to prevent this problem is to eat nutritious foods and get regular blood sugar checks.
A low blood sugar level is known as hypoglycemia, which is a condition when blood glucose falls below the recommended range. This is dangerous and should be treated immediately. If a person has a history of low blood sugar, they are at an increased risk of this condition. In the event that their blood sugar is dangerously low, they should seek medical attention immediately. The first step is to monitor their blood glucose levels. If they are low, they should check their urine, but not their bodies.
If your blood sugar is too high, it can cause fluid imbalance in the body and lead to dehydration. Treatment for this condition requires intravenous insulin and IV fluids to correct dehydration. A level of 300 mg/dL is dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible. Your doctor can give you reassurance and give you a personalized treatment plan that will work for your needs. If you are concerned, call your doctor right away.
Also Check: How To Come Sugar Disease
Consequences Of Blood Sugar Levels
Whilst most symptoms of low and high blood sugar levels are mild, they can worsen if left untreated and sometimes have long term consequences and/or complications. Overtime, a high blood sugar level is what can cause consequences. Lack of treatment can cause severe damage to the blood vessels and lead to complications such as:
- Heart attack
How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose
All people with diabetes:
- If you experience low blood glucose often, ask your doctor if setting a higher goal for your A1C level may be appropriate.
- Ask your doctor to look at the test results from your home blood glucose monitor. These results reveal how often you have low blood glucose and when these episodes occur. Your doctor will look for patterns to see if low glucose happens after exercise or at certain times of day, for example.
- If youve had low blood glucose in the past, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet so that others will know that you have diabetes in the event of an emergency.
- Keep a fast-acting carbohydrate in your bag, desk drawer, car and other places for easy access. Good options include hard candy, fruit juice or glucose paste or tablets, which can be purchased at most pharmacies.
- Ask your doctor for an emergency glucagon kit. This kit contains a fast- acting medication that can be injected in case of loss of consciousness because of low blood glucose. Keep one kit at home and one at work or school.
- Monitor your blood glucose regularly so that low levels can be corrected before symptoms progress.
Also Check: High Blood Sugar What To Do
What Is Hypoglycemia Unawareness
Some people experience hypoglycemia unawareness this means the body doesnt release or respond to the warning signals of hypoglycemia, putting them at risk of prolonged low glucose levels. Several factors can increase your chances of hypoglycemia unawareness, including having repeated episodes of hypoglycemia, going low while sleeping, exercising, consuming alcohol, having specific diabetes complications , or taking certain medications. Because hypoglycemia unawareness more often occurs in those who were diagnosed with diabetes decades before, in addition to the risk factors mentioned, it commonly occurs in people over the age of 65.
Quarantine Snacking For People With Diabetes
The Wellthy Magazine is on a mission to become India’s go-to destination for all things diabetes! We provide you with credible information rooted in research that has been verified by experts.
. , .
Read Also: How To Control Pp Sugar
When To Call The Doctor
If signs of low blood sugar do not improve after you have eaten a snack that contains sugar, have someone drive you to the emergency room or call your local emergency number . DO NOT drive when your blood sugar is low.
Get medical help right away for a person with low blood sugar if the person is not alert or cannot be woken up.
Key Points About Hypoglycemia In Children
Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood glucose is too low to fuel the brain and the body.
It may be a condition by itself, or may be a complication of diabetes or another disorder.
To treat low blood glucose right away, your child should eat or drink something with sugar, such as orange juice, milk, cake icing, or a hard candy. They should follow with food with complex carbohydrates, fat, and protein, such as a peanut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread.
Severe or long-lasting hypoglycemia may result in seizures and serious brain injury.
Don’t Miss: Blood Sugar Increase Symptoms
When Blood Sugar Is Too Low
Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat, and it’s also formed and stored inside the body. It’s the main source of energy for the cells of our body, and is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. Our brains depend on glucose to function, even when we’re sleeping.
The is the amount of glucose in the blood. When these levels drop too low, it’s called hypoglycemia . Very low blood sugar levels can cause serious symptoms that need to be treated right away.
What Is Glucose And Why Is It So Important
Glucose is a simple sugar, a component of the carbohydrates found in most foods. When broken down, glucose is the main form of energy for the body, particularly for our muscles and brain its the fuel that the brain runs on. Though glucose is necessary for the body, the amount of glucose in the blood must be tightly regulated: too much or too little glucose in the blood can lead to hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, and long-term health complications. As glucose circulates in the blood and comes into contact with muscle and fat cells, insulin is required to allow glucose to enter the cells to be used or stored for energy. Between meals, the liver produces glucose to fuel the body.
Read Also: Sugar In Low Blood Pressure
Hypoglycemia Tests And Diagnosis
To diagnose nondiabetic hypoglycemia, your doctor will do a physical exam and ask questions about any medicines you take. Theyâll want to know all about your health and any history of diseases or stomach surgery.
Theyâll check your blood glucose level, especially when you are having symptoms. Theyâll also check to see if you feel better when your sugar goes back to a normal level.
If your doctor suspects hypoglycemia, you may have to fast until you start to have symptoms. Theyâll test your blood glucose level at different times throughout the fast.
To check for reactive hypoglycemia, you may have to take a test called a mixed-meal tolerance test . For this, you take a special drink that raises your blood glucose. The doctor will check your blood glucose levels over the next few hours.
How To Avoid Dangerously Low Blood Sugar Levels
Glucose or blood sugar is one of the most vital macronutrients that are necessary for the proper functioning of the human body. Our body consumes carbohydrates, or in simpler words, complex molecules of sugar that are broken down to glucose during digestion. Glucose is absorbed from the intestinal lumen into the circulation and taken to the bodys cells for carrying out optimal biochemical processes.
Some primary food sources of glucose include dairy products such as milk, cheese, and butter, bread, quinoa, oats, fruits, chickpeas, kidney beans, and potatoes. Apart from dietary sources, our body can also produce glucose from fats and proteins when required.
While fructose and galactose are also simple sugars that are readily absorbed by the body, glucose is the primary source of energy that our body utilizes for maintaining life. In healthy individuals, the body produces a hormone called insulin which is responsible for taking up glucose from the blood into the cells.
Insulin helps to maintain optimum blood sugar levels within the range of 80 to 180 mg/dl. After consuming food, our pancreas secretes insulin so that the cells can utilize or store excess blood sugar.
A level of 120 to 140 mg/dl after 2 hours of eating is considered optimum. However, a blood glucose level higher than 120mg/dl after 8 hours of fasting, and 180mg/dl after 2 hours of food consumption is considered excess, or a condition is known as Diabetes Mellitus.
Read Also: How To Bring Down Sugar Level Quickly
What Causes Low Blood Glucose
- Symptoms occur when blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl a condition known as hypoglycemia.
- In most cases, low blood glucose results from overtreatment: Either taking too much diabetes medication or not eating enough food. Higher doses of medicine than the person actually requires can also lead to hypoglycemia.
- People who aim for too-low values on their A1C test tend to experience more frequent drops in blood glucose.
- Vigorous exercise doesn’t just burn calories, it also burns blood glucose! Hypoglycemia can occur unless blood glucose levels are carefully monitored during and after exercise.
- Not eating on a regular basis can deprive the body of glucose and make it difficult to prevent hypoglycemia. Eat balanced meals throughout the day and always keep a snack on hand.