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Hypoglycemia: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention?

Low blood sugar level also known as hypoglycemia is a medical condition where your blood sugar level decreases even below the normal level. This condition is often related to diabetes treatment. Having too many diabetic medications and taking insulin for a longer period can cause your blood sugar level to fall. It also occurs when you exercise more than you normally do after taking diabetes medications.

The blood sugar level is considered as low when it drops down below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 3.9 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). The blood sugar level can be increased immediately by drinking or eating any sugary treat. But your friends and family must be aware of the symptoms of hypoglycemia if you cannot treat the condition.

What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia?

Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar levels can differ from person to person or from episode to episode. Some people also do not have any symptoms that can be noticed. Hence, it is mandatory to keep a check of your blood sugar level from time to time. The symptoms of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar level can occur suddenly. They include-

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Facing difficulty in sleeping
  • Sudden nervousness
  • Pale skin
  • Extreme hunger
  • Dizziness
  • Skin tingling
  • Loss of consciousness which includes
  • coma, seizure
  • Trouble in thinking

Causes of hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is usually a side effect of diabetes treatment. But always diabetes is not the cause of having low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can also occur due to a number of causes which includes

  • Some medical conditions such as kidney disorders or hepatitis
  • A tumor that produces an excessive amount of insulin
  • Certain medications like quinine
  • Endocrine disorders like adrenal gland deficiency.

What are the preventive measures for hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is common among adults and can be prevented easily. Here is a list of some of the preventive measures.

  • Eat your meals on time and in correct proportions. Avoid skipping meals.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach as it can cause hypoglycemia.
  • You must check your blood sugar level several times a week and keep a record of it. Only with the help of careful monitoring, you can keep your blood sugar level under control.
  • If your physical activity increases, then you must also eat additional snacks.
  • Take your medicines on time as recommended by your doctor.

What to do when blood sugar level falls?

People who are having hypoglycemia are unaware of any symptom as it occurs suddenly without even letting the patient realize it. If you have hypoglycemia, you must consult a doctor. If you keep on avoiding this, it may lead to severe problems.

Very low blood sugar will lead to a medical emergency. If someone you know faces any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you must make them eat or drink at least 15 grams of carbohydrates that are easily digestible. You can make them have 1 tablespoon of honey, few glucose tablets, hard candies, half cup juice, saltline crackers, or 1 tablespoon of sugar immediately. If you notice someone with severe symptoms like unconsciousness, you must call the doctor immediately.

Have queries or concern ?

    How is low blood sugar level treated?

    When you have too low a blood sugar level, it is important to have carbohydrates. If you already have developed diabetes, you must keep snacks or food products that are rich in carbohydrates in hand. Some good snacks you can keep on hand include dried fruits, pretzels, granola bars, cookies, fresh fruits, and fruit juice packets. If any glucose tablets are prescribed by your doctor, you can also take that to rapidly raise your blood sugar level. Wait for 15 minutes after taking a glucose tablet and test your blood sugar again. Repeat eating another dose of carbohydrate till your blood sugar level rises.

    If you do not eat the right food or avoid taking medications, your blood sugar level can drop quite often. Always check with your doctor whenever any complication occurs. You must never ignore the hypoglycemia symptoms as it may lead to severe complications later on. Therefore, always pay attention to the early warning symptoms of hypoglycemia and get treated immediately.

    About Author


    Dr. Madhav R. Dharme

    Consultant Physician
    Contact: +91 88888 22222

    Email – [email protected]

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