Hypoglycemia is a low level of glucose in the blood. Glucose is your body's main source of energy. Low levels make it hard for your body to work as it should. This will cause a wide range of problems.
Certain health problems may make it hard for your body to balance glucose.
Some diabetes meds can lower glucose. It is a common cause of hypoglycemia. The meds alone can lower blood glucose levels. However, other things can play a role such as:
Hypoglycemia can also happen in people without diabetes. It is less common. This type may be caused by:
Factors that may increase your chances of hypoglycemia:
Symptoms may come on slowly or quickly. Hypoglycemia may cause:
As hypoglycemia worsens, it may cause:
Early symptoms may start to fade if you have a lot of events. The symptoms may stop all together. This means you will not have early warning. It will increase the chance of a having a severe drop in glucose. Get to know your early signs. Quick care can stop future problems.
You will be asked about your symptoms and health past. An exam will be done.
Your doctor will try to track your low blood glucose. Your blood glucose levels will need to be measured while you are having symptoms. This is a common step with diabetes care.
If you do not have diabetes, other tests may need to be done. This may include checking your blood levels after fasting.
Treatment will bring blood glucose levels back to normal. This will make a quick fix. Other steps may be needed to keep it from occurring again.
In people who can eat or drink, symptoms of low blood sugar can be relieved quickly by:
Once blood glucose has risen to normal levels, a snack or meal can help to keep levels stable.
If someone is not conscious, care may need to be delivered such as:
To help reduce your chance of hypoglycemia:
If you have frequent bouts of severe hypoglycemia:
American Diabetes Association
Hypoglycemia Support Foundation
Canadian Diabetes Association
Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). American Diabetes Association website. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/hypoglycemia-low-blood.html. Updated July 1, 2015. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Hypoglycemia in diabetes. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116035/Hypoglycemia-in-diabetes. Updated February 7, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Hypoglycemia in persons without diabetes. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T904908/Hypoglycemia-in-persons-without-diabetes. Updated February 23, 2015. Accessed September 28, 2016.
Low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at:https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/low-blood-glucose-hypoglycemia. Updated August 2016. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD Last Updated:8/30/2018