What Is Hypoglycemia And Low Blood Sugar
Hypoglycemia is the state of having a blood glucose level that is too low to effectively fuel the body’s cells.
Glucose, which comes from carbohydrates found in foods, is a main source of energy for all of the cells of the body and, especially, the brain. While the body is quite good at extracting glucose from the foods we eat, it relies on a hormone called insulin to actually get the glucose inside the cells of specific organs: the liver, fat, and muscle.
We can think of insulin as holding the key to a cell without insulin, the glucose just remains in the blood, where its also known as blood sugar. During an episode of hypoglycemia, theres not enough glucose in the blood. The normal range is approximately 70 to 150 mg/dl .
Hypoglycemia is most common in newborns. In older children, its most often seen as a complication of insulin therapy for diabetes but can sometimes have other causes as well.
In the majority of cases, hypoglycemia is temporary, easily treated, and usually does not have serious consequences. There are several rare disorders in which hypoglycemia is recurrent and potentially life-threatening. However, with timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment, these can be effectively managed.
Causes Of Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar is common for people with type 1 diabetes and can occur in people with type 2 diabetes taking insulin or certain medications. The average person with type 1 diabetes may experience up to two episodes of mild low blood sugar each week, and thats only counting episodes with symptoms. If you add in lows without symptoms and the ones that happen overnight, the number would likely be higher.
What To Do If You Have Symptoms
Very low blood sugar is a medical emergency. If someone you know has diabetes and theyre experiencing mild to moderate symptoms, have them eat or drink 15 grams of easily digestible carbohydrates, such as:
- half a cup of juice or regular soda
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 4 or 5 saltine crackers
- 3 or 4 pieces of hard candy or glucose tablets
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
If someone is having a severe reaction, such as unconsciousness, its important to administer a medication called glucagon and contact emergency services immediately.
People who are at risk for low blood sugar should talk with their doctor about getting a prescription for glucagon. You should never give an unconscious person anything by mouth, as it could cause them to choke.
Low blood sugar can occur for a number of reasons. Its usually a side effect of diabetes treatment.
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When To Contact A Doctor About Dizziness
Anyone experiencing regular dizziness should contact a doctor. They may wish to consider keeping track of when they feel dizzy to help a doctor identify any patterns.
The doctor may carry out a physical examination and assess any other symptoms. They may check blood sugar levels and review the personâs medications to determine the cause of the dizziness.
Treating or managing the underlying causes of dizziness in type 2 diabetes may help resolve dizziness.
Preventing A Low Blood Sugar Level
If you have diabetes, you can reduce your chance of getting a low blood sugar level if you:
- Check your blood sugar level regularly and be aware of the symptoms of a low blood sugar level so you can treat it quickly.
- Always carry a sugary snack or drink with you, such as glucose tablets, a carton of fruit juice or some sweets. If you have a glucagon injection kit, always keep it with you.
- Do not skip meals.
- Be careful when drinking alcohol. Do not drink large amounts, check your blood sugar level regularly, and eat a carbohydrate snack afterwards.
- Be careful when exercising eating a carbohydrate snack before exercise can help to reduce the risk of a hypo. If you take some types of diabetes medicine, your doctor may recommend you take a lower dose before or after doing intense exercise.
- Have a carbohydrate snack, such as toast, if your blood sugar level drops too low while you’re asleep
If you keep getting a low blood sugar level, talk to your diabetes care team about things you can do to help prevent it.
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Nighttime Low Blood Sugars
You may experience a low blood sugar night. The low blood sugar might wake you up and your symptoms might be similar to those you have during the day. However, the symptoms may be different. You might have nightmares, sleep poorly, perspire, or feel hot and cold. In the morning you may have a headache, feel nauseated, or feel confused. Notify your doctor if this happens. Check your blood sugar at the time you have the symptoms.
Treatment for a low blood sugar that occurs at night is the same as described earlier.
Your doctor may request that you check a 3:00 a.m. blood sugar 1 to 2 times per week in order to detect any low blood sugars during the night.
Disclaimer: This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information provided is intended to be informative and educational and is not a replacement for professional medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.
S For Treating A Person With Symptoms Keeping Them From Being Able To Treat Themselves
Dont hesitate to call 911. If someone is unconscious and glucagon is not available or someone does not know how to use it, call 911 immediately.
- Inject insulin
- Provide food or fluids
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Severe Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
If you get seizures and remain unconscious, then it may indicate the severe condition of Hypoglycemia. Some people also witness symptoms like crying out, having nightmares, excessive sweating, feeling tired and confused after waking up. These symptoms generally appear during the night-time when the person is sleeping.
What Are The Complications Of Low Blood Glucose
Mild-to-moderate low blood glucose can be easily treated. But severely low blood glucose can cause serious complications, including passing out, coma, or death.
Repeated episodes of low blood glucose can lead to
- high blood glucose levels, if worry or fear of low blood glucose keeps you from taking the medicines you need to manage your diabetes8
- hypoglycemia unawareness, a condition in which you dont notice any symptoms of low blood glucose until your blood glucose level has dropped very low
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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.
- 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.
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.
For more on managing low blood sugar, check out Diabetes Daily’s article “How to Treat Lows Without Sabotaging Your Diet!“
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Low Blood Sugar Vertigo
Reducing your blood sugar degrees is equally as essential for people with diabetes as managing the signs and symptoms and also monitoring measurements.
The good news is, there are many steps you can take to get to those objectives. This short article will help you find out just how to reduce your blood glucose degrees and also what you must do to keep a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Lowering Blood Sugar Degrees Via Way Of Living Modifications
Lowering your blood sugar level degrees can be done by examining your blood glucose degrees routinely as well as tracking dimensions. This is especially crucial for those with type two diabetes or people who are pre-diabetic. Reducing blood sugar degrees needs a regimented technique to diet and also way of life adjustments.
The most reliable method of lowering your blood sugar level is via a mix of dietary changes, exercise, as well as medicines. Reducing your blood sugar levels can be challenging yet aid is readily available if you adhere to a diet regimen and follow a day-to-day exercise regimen. Reducing blood sugar levels may save your life in the future, so it is certainly well worth making changes in your lifestyle if you have a pre-diabetic problem or type two diabetes.
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Scared Of Getting Diabetes
According to the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology , the type of diet that Dr. Doyle recommends is highly beneficial for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes.
For people accustomed to SAD standard American diet the idea of the whole food, plant based diet will seem impossible.
If preventing and treating type 2 diabetes is as simple as adhering to a particular diet, why dont more mainstream medical doctors push this approach?
Its because medical school spends only a few hours on nutrition, and only in the general sense.
During internships and residencies at hospitals, medical doctors are essentially trained in only diagnostics, drugs and surgery.
Type 2 diabetes is usually treated with diet and exercise alone, yes, but the patient is typically only told to watch sugar intake or cut back on fast food, rather than told to keep intake of animal and processed products under 10 percent.
FoodTherapyMD is the brainchild of Dr. Mitchell Doyle and recognizes that phytonutrients, the substances that make plant food so amazing, can be tailored to fight specific disease states.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. Shes also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
How Long Will The Effects Last
The effects of low blood sugar will continue and may even get worse until treatment brings your blood sugar level back to normal. It may take several minutes for the symptoms to go away after you start treatment. This may be a temporary problem while you and your healthcare provider are adjusting your medicine. If you are always prone to having low blood sugar, you may need to take special care for the rest of your life to keep your blood sugar at the proper level.
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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.
Vasovagal Syncope As A Cause Of Dizziness
Vasovagal syncope is a common cause of dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting. The vagus nerve is overstimulated and causes the body’s blood vessels to dilate and the heart to slow down. This anti-adrenaline effect decreases the ability of the heart to pump blood upward toward the brain. Without blood flow, the brain turns off. In Victorian England, young ladies’ sensibilities were easily offended causing a vasovagal episode called a swoon.
Some people faint at the sight of blood. Some parents faint when their child gets immunized. Some medical students faint at their first autopsy. Many types of emotional and physical stressors can overstimulate the vagus nerve, causing dizziness, lightheadedness, and at times fainting .
Fainting is not normal. If a person is unconscious, activate the emergency medical system , and seek medical care.
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Advantages Of Insoluble Type Of Fibers
Insoluble fibers are mostly discovered in fruits, vegetables, as well as whole grains. They are not broken down by the body and also rather offer us with essential nutrients that we may not get elsewhere.
Insoluble fibers are vital for maintaining our intestinal health and wellness. They can help reduce cholesterol degrees, regulate blood sugar level degrees, as well as control cravings.
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.
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Role Of Epinephrine In Low Blood Sugar Levels
Low amounts of sugar in the blood also cause a release of the hormone epinephrine which is also called the fight or flight hormone. Epinephrine is released when the brain senses any danger or stressful situation the body is in. The release of this hormone causes symptoms of Hypoglycemia like being anxious, fast heartbeats, excessive sweating, and tingling sensation in the body. As the blood sugar level continues to drop it hinders the flow of glucose present in the blood.
If an appropriate amount of glucose does not reach the brain then it may cause the functioning of the brain to stop and appear in the form of seizures, unconsciousness, and feeling of disorientation along with blurred vision. In very rare conditions, if the blood sugar level drops and does not get treated on time then it may lead to the death of the patient or would make them stay in the coma.
High Blood Sugar: Hydration
Managing high blood sugar may also help treat dehydration. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help the body stay well-hydrated. For more severe cases of dehydration, people may need to replenish their electrolytes.
It is best to avoid sugary drinks or fruit juices, as these could increase blood sugar levels.
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What Is Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose, also called low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below what is healthy for you. For many people with diabetes, this means a blood glucose reading lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter .1 Your number might be different, so check with your doctor or health care team to find out what blood glucose level is low for you.
Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
How you react to low blood sugar may not be the same as how someone else with low blood sugar reacts. Its important to know your signs. Common symptoms may include:
- Fast heartbeat
If youve had low blood sugar without feeling or noticing symptoms , you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low and treat it. Driving with low blood sugar can be dangerous, so be sure to check your blood sugar before you get behind the wheel.
You may not have any symptoms when your blood sugar is low . If you dont have symptoms, it will be harder to treat your low blood sugar early. This increases your risk of having severe lows and can be dangerous. This is more likely to happen if you:
- Have had diabetes for more than 5-10 years.
- Frequently have low blood sugar.
- Take certain medicines, such as beta blockers for high blood pressure.
If you meet one or more of the above and you have hypoglycemia unawareness, you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low. This is very important to do before driving or being physically active.