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When Is Blood Sugar Too Low


High Blood Sugar Level Causes

Low Blood Sugar

Several types of diabetes and medical conditions are the primary cause of high blood sugar levels. Most of which are unpreventable issues but are the reason for a spike in high blood sugar. The causes for high blood sugar levels are as follows:

Causes of low blood sugar levels are very different and are as important to be aware of, as they are in fact easier to control.

Effects Of Severe Hypoglycemia

Without emergency treatment, prolonged severe hypoglycemia results in permanent brain damage and irreversible cardiac problems, especially if you already have heart disease. Hypoglycemia causes weakness, tremors, rapid heartbeat and dizziness. Serious injuries can result from loss of consciousness while driving or falling down stairs, according to Joslin Diabetes Center. Drug-induced hypoglycemia is often responsible for falls that cause serious injuries in the elderly who take diabetes medications, such as chlorpropamide, reports the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy. Because many health conditions have similar symptoms, do not ignore recurring symptoms of hypoglycemia, whether mild or severe, as they can be a sign of a serious, undiagnosed medical condition.

How Are Low Blood Sugar Levels Treated

Your diabetes health care team will give you guidelines for treating low blood sugar levels, depending on your symptoms. If you can, try to test your blood sugar levels to make sure that your symptoms are because of hypoglycemia. If you cant test blood sugar immediately, dont delay in treating your symptoms you can always check your blood sugar after youve taken steps to get your blood sugar back up into the normal range.


When blood sugar levels are low, the goal is to get them back up quickly. To do that, you should take in sugar or sugary foods, which raise the blood sugar level quickly. Your health care team might suggest that you:

  • Eat, drink, or take something that contains sugar that can get into the blood quickly. Your doctor may tell you to have really sugary foods or drinks or might give you glucose tablets or gel to take all of these can help to raise your blood sugar level fast, which is what you need to do when its low.
  • Wait about 10 minutes to let the sugar work.
  • Recheck your blood sugar level with a glucose meter to see if blood sugar levels are back to normal.
  • Get a glucagon shot , if your symptoms are severe or get worse after you eat, drink, or take glucose.

Sometimes, blood sugar levels can get so low that you may not be awake enough to eat or drink something to get them back up. When this happens, you may need a glucagon shot.

With Elena Christofides and Jennifer Shine Dyer MD, MPH

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Exercise Food And Alcohol

For people with type 1 diabetes, maintaining the correct blood glucose level involves balancing how much insulin you inject, the amount of food you eat, and how much energy you burn during exercise.


Hypoglycaemia may occur if you’ve taken your dose of insulin as usual, but your carbohydrate intake is lower than normal or has been used up more quickly. This may happen if you delay or miss a meal or snack, don’t eat enough carbohydrate, or exercise more than usual.

People with diabetes who’ve drunk too much alcohol, or drank alcohol on an empty stomach, can also get hypoglycaemia.

However, it’s not always possible to identify why a particular episode of hypoglycaemia has occurred, and sometimes it happens for no obvious reason.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia

Effects of Low Blood Sugar on the Body

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.
  • 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 .
  • Lose consciousness.
  • Slip into a coma or die .

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Do Not Drive When You Have Low Blood Sugar

It’s very dangerous. If you’re driving and you have hypoglycemia symptoms, pull off the road, check your blood sugar, and eat a sugary food. Wait at least 15 minutes, check your blood sugar, and repeat these steps if necessary. Eat a protein and carbohydrate source before you drive on.

Be prepared. Keep a sugar source in your car at all times for emergencies.

How To Help Others Help You

Knowing the signs of low blood sugar, having an action plan, and being prepared with your glucose meter and glucose tablets are vital, but sometimes you might need to rely on other people to help when youre blood sugar drops too low. Take these additional steps so youre prepared and they are, too:

Teach your loved ones. If youre unable to help yourself, friends, family, or colleagues may need to treat you with an injection of glucagon, a hormone that tells your liver to release stored glucose, the American Diabetes Association says. For this reason, its a good idea to teach those close to you what to do. If they dont know how to give you the injection or if glucagon isnt available, they must call 911 and get you the help you need, Evans says. Low blood sugar thats sustained for a prolonged time can lead to irreversible brain damage, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.


Wear an ID bracelet. Evan suggests that everyone with diabetes should get a tattoo or wear a medical ID bracelet. The bracelet should say diabetes and whether youre on insulin or take other medications, the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston recommends.

Talk to your doctor about your low blood sugar risk. If you have frequent bouts of hypoglycemia, be sure to talk with your doctor. The solution may be as simple as changing how much or the kind of diabetes medicine you take. However, never make any changes to your medication regimen without your doctors approval.

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Low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia and occurs when blood sugar levels fall below 70 mg/dL. Low blood sugar can become life-threatening if it becomes severe, so its essential that people with diabetes and those caring for them know which foods to eat when low blood sugar occurs.

Suppose someone has repeated incidents of low blood sugar. In that case, they may develop hypoglycemia unawareness, which is when they dont notice low blood sugar symptoms as quickly as they once could. Hypoglycemia unawareness increases the risk of severe hypoglycemia, so treating and preventing hypoglycemia is very important for the health and safety of people with diabetes.


What Causes Reactive Hypoglycemia

Treating Low Blood Sugar

Reactive hypoglycemia comes from having too much insulin in your blood. It usually happens within a few hours after you eat. Other possible causes include:

  • Having prediabetes or being more likely to have diabetes

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What Are The Treatment Options For Hypoglycemia

Children with hypoglycemia have different symptoms, and these vary from one child to another. But no matter what your childs symptoms, the overriding goal is the same to bring the blood sugar back up to normal as rapidly as possible and return your child to good health.

Most often, your childs blood sugar can be brought back up to normal by eating or drinking something that has sugar in it, such as fruit juice, regular soda, table sugar, maple syrup, candy, glucose tablets, glucose gel, or cake frosting. Consider encouraging your child to:

  • eat regular meals throughout the day
  • eat frequent snacks

For children with diabetes, the goal is to consistently maintain a blood sugar level that is in a healthy range. This involves testing blood sugar often, learning to recognize the earliest symptoms of low blood sugar, and treating the condition quickly, based on instructions given by your child’s healthcare providers.


If your child has recurrent or severe hypoglycemia, the first thing is to determine the cause, because different causes have different treatments. While the cause is determined, some children will receive glucose intravenously in the hospital to make sure their blood-sugar level stays normal.

Some causes of hypoglycemia can be treated with changes in your childs diet or medication. For some rare cases of severe hypoglycemia that dont respond to medical treatment, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove most of the pancreas.

What Is Normal Blood Sugar

Normal blood sugar or blood glucose levels are between 80 and 130 mg/dL. That number is an average of what is normal for individuals with diabetes. When blood sugar levels are too high, the person may experience hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia can be characterized by extreme thirst and urination, blurred vision, or shakiness, sweating, dizziness, or confusion. When the person has low blood glucose, they may experience hypoglycemia which can be characterized by sweating, dizziness, or confusion.

The range of normal blood glucose levels for people with diabetes is between 80-130 milligrams per deciliter . A persons individual level will depend on many factors including how old they are, their ethnicity, their weight and height, and the activity theyve performed recently.

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Warning Signs Of Low Blood Sugar

Hypoglycemia can cause both short- and long-term complications. Know the signs so that you can treat the condition as soon as you’re aware of it.

As a person living with diabetes, you know how important it is to reduce blood sugar when it is too high, a phenomenon called hyperglycemia. But blood sugar that is too low, or hypoglycemia, is equally critical to avoid.

“Hypoglycemia happens when the amount of blood glucose drops to a level that’s too low to sustain normal functioning,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, who is based in Sparta, New Jersey. “In most people, this is defined as a blood sugar level at or below 70 milligrams per deciliter .”

Hypoglycemia is common among people with type 2 diabetes, according to a review published in June 2015 in the journal PLoS One. Individuals with the condition had an average of 19 mild or moderate episodes of hypoglycemia per year and nearly one severe episode per year on average, according to the researchers. Low blood sugar was particularly common among those taking insulin.


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This decrease in blood sugar levels can cause both short-term complications, like confusion and dizziness, as well as more serious issues, including seizures, coma, and, rarely, death, according to the American Diabetes Association .

Hypoglycemia is usually the result of a too-high dose of insulin or a change in diet or exercise habits, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Low Blood Sugar Level Causes

Hypoglycemia Low Blood Sugar in Adults

Most low blood sugar level causes are preventable and are caused due to a persons lifestyle and diet habits. Low blood sugar is common among diabetic patients who take medications to increase insulin levels.

All of the above causes are risk factors that may or may not be able to be inhibited. They are important to be aware of and act accordingly to keep yourself from getting a too high or too low blood sugar level.


If a person has medical, lifestyle or diet habits that cause irregular blood sugar levels, symptoms will begin to develop along with the drop or spike in blood sugar, and are as follows:

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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.

How To Better Control Blood Sugar

Those with diabetes can avoid dysglycemia by following a few simple tips:


  • Test it. Set up a schedule for testing your blood sugar and stick to it.
  • Log it. Keep a written record of your blood sugar or use your meter or your phone to save your readings.
  • Watch for trends. Be aware of your blood sugar trends, and pay attention to when your levels go up or down.
  • Establish routines. Your blood sugar will be more stable if you have routines for eating and exercising.
  • Know your symptoms. Learn how you feel when your blood sugar is low and when it is high.

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How Can I Prevent Low Blood Sugar

Your best bet is to practice good diabetes management and learn to detect hypoglycemia so you can treat it earlybefore it gets worse.

Monitoring blood sugar, with either a meter or a CGM, is the tried and true method for preventing hypoglycemia. Studies consistently show that the more a person checks blood sugar, the lower his or her risk of hypoglycemia. This is because you can see when blood sugar levels are dropping and can treat it before it gets too low.

If you can, check often!

  • Check before and after meals.
  • Check before and after exercise .
  • Check before bed.
  • After intense exercise, also check in the middle of the night.
  • Check more if things around you change such as, a new insulin routine, a different work schedule, an increase in physical activity, or travel across time zones.

What Complications Can Be Caused By Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycaemia – How to Treat and Prevent Low Blood Sugar

Passing out from low blood sugar because you have not recognized the early signs and symptoms is called hypoglycemia unawareness, and can be quite dangerous depending on where you are, explains Dr. Klonoff. As doctors are required to report such incidents to the Department of Motor Vehicles, it can also mean a suspended drivers license.


If this is something youre worried about, Wearing a continuous glucose monitor with an alarm for hypoglycemia can alert a person who is prone to developing low blood sugar levels that their blood glucose concentration is becoming dangerously low, so appropriate preventive action can be taken before they lose consciousness, explains Dr. Klonoff.

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How Does Blood Sugar Level Work

With a lack of nutrients and food that contain glucose, the blood sugar level will begin to decline. This is known as hypoglycemia.

After blood sugar becomes low, the pancreas releases a peptide hormone called glucagon. When this happens, the glucose that is stored in the body for energy is instructed to release due to the liver. This causes the glucose to turn into glycogen, known as the glycogenesis process. This is what can help a body to regain energy as the readily stored glycogen, in the liver and muscles, will release into the body.


On the other hand, the blood sugar can also rise and become too high which is known as hyperglycemia.

When the body does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, blood sugar levels begin to increase. This is because glucose relies on the insulin hormone to help it absorb into the bloodstream. Usually, this occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin, known as type 1 diabetes, or does not respond to insulin correctly, known as type 2 diabetes.

Eating too many processed foods can also cause your blood sugar level to rise. If there is not enough insulin present in the body, too much bad food can cause your blood sugar level to build up.

For those with a normal blood sugar level, this will be due to eating the right foods and your body being able to produce and respond to insulin.

You may be wondering what exactly causes an imbalance in blood sugar levels, so here is a roundup:

What Blood Sugar Is Too Low

Have you ever wondered what blood sugar is too low?

Whether youre on insulin or a certain type of tablet to lower your blood sugar, you can get too low if youre not careful. This condition is also known as an insulin reaction or shock. If your blood sugar is too low, it can cause seizures, coma, and even death. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid the symptoms and restore your blood sugar to the proper level. Follow the 15-15 rule and eat a meal if you feel your blood sugar dropping.

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What Extreme Conditions Can Occur If Hypoglycemia Is Left Untreated

Although severe episodes which can trigger potentially life-threatening comas are rare, they require immediate emergency room care, so its best to make sure you are tracking your blood sugar so that you never have to worry about getting to that point. A drop in blood sugar means less fuel for your brain, so its critical for your body to receive enough glucose. Hypoglycemia that leads to extended, reduced brain function is the biggest concern, as this can lead to seizures and loss of basic bodily functions controlled by the brain, which can ultimately lead to death, explains Dr. Dyer.

As your low blood sugar gets worse, you may experience more serious symptoms, including:

  • Feeling weak.
  • Having difficulty walking or seeing clearly.
  • Acting strange or feeling confused.
  • Having seizures.

Severe low blood sugar is below 54 mg/dL. Blood sugar this low may make you faint . Often, youll need someone to help you treat severe low blood sugar.

People with diabetes may experience low blood sugar as often as once or twice a week, even when managing their blood sugar closely. Knowing how to identify and treat it is important for your health. Learn how to treat low blood sugar.

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