Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar levels, is a condition in which the levels of sugar in your blood are lower than normal. Blood sugar at low levels can harm your body.
What is hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar levels drop below 70 mg/dL. The number of each person is different, so you should check with your doctor to determine what your number is.
What causes hypoglycemia?
In your body, pancreas produces a hormone called insulin to control your blood sugar levels. When the amount of insulin is inadequate, sugar will build up in your bloodstream. This can lead to diabetes.
For people who have diabetes, hypoglycemia is a side effect of insulin or other types of drugs that used to control blood sugar levels.
Low blood sugar can occur due to:
- The side effect of insulin supplement or drugs, as too much insulin released into your blood stream
- Your body uses sugar too quickly
- The amount of sugar released is too small
Newborns who have mothers with diabetes will have low blood sugar levels.
For people who do not have diabetes, low blood sugar levels may happen due to:
- Alcohol use
- The body produces too much insulin
- Heart, kidney or liver problems
- Some types of infections that affect the entire body
- Skipping meals or other unhealthy weight-loss methods
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of hypoglycemia are different from people to people and depend on each one’s condition. You may experience one or more symptoms of the following or you may not feel anything.
If your hypoglycemia drops too much, you are unable to treat yourself. In this situation, you should seek help from others because severe hypoglycemia can lead to dangerous problems.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- Mild to moderate:
- Rapid heart beat
- Trouble concentrating
- Behavior change
- Unable to eat or drink
When your blood sugar levels drop too much, treatment can be applied to raise and control your blood sugar levels.
If you are living with diabetes, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about your hypoglycemia.
The treatments are:
- Drinking fruit juice
- Eating food that easy to eat such as porridge or soup. If you are unable to eat or drink, do not try to eat anything, food can make you choke
- Glucose tablets
- In some cases, with doctor’s instruction, you may be given a hormone named glucagon.
When the levels of sugar in your blood drops below normal target, hypoglycemia occurs. For mild to moderate condition of hypoglycemia, you can treat yourself at home easily. However, if the blood sugar levels are too low and you are unconscious or unable to eat or drink, you should have someone take you to the hospital for further treatment.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: November 12, 2016 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019
Low Blood Glucose (Hypoglycemia). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/preventing-diabetes-problems/low-blood-glucose-hypoglycemia. Accessed November 7, 2016.
Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia) Treatment. http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/low-blood-sugar-hypoglycemia-treatment. Accessed November 7, 2016.
Low blood sugar. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000386.htm. Accessed November 7, 2016.