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Hypoglycemia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

For people with diabetes, there can be a number of other health complications they experience, such as Hypoglycemia. When our blood sugar drops to abnormally low levels, our body’s function is impaired. Hypoglycemia occurs when a person’s blood glucose level drops below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Before we jump in to what low blood sugar symptoms are, we’ll discuss what causes blood sugar to drop.

What Causes Blood Sugar to Drop?

 

A man sits on his couch while injecting his insulin

For people with diabetes, their body’s ability to use insulin is affected. Because of this, glucose might build up in the bloodstream to dangerously high levels. Usually, insulin or other medications are used to help regulate blood sugar levels.

However, blood sugar may drop if a person with diabetes takes too much insulin. Hypoglycemia may also occur if a person has not eaten a meal recently. Or, they may be exercising more than normal.

Excessive alcohol drinking and a few critical illnesses may cause hypoglycemia as well. Be sure to monitor your diet, activity and medication intake.

Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

 

A woman looks fatigued holding her head while sitting on a couch

Here are some low blood sugar symptoms to look out for, in addition to your blood glucose level being below 70 mg/dL:  

  • Fatigue
  • Irregular or fast heart beat
  • Pale skin
  • Shakiness
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Hunger
  • Sweating
  • Tingling or numbness in lips, tongue, cheek.

If hypoglycemia worsens, then one may experience worse low blood sugar symptoms like:

  • Confusion
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

If these symptoms persist, and your typical treatment does not work, call a doctor immediately. Low blood sugar symptoms can be serious.

Low Blood Sugar Treatment

 

A man is seen testing his blood sugar levels in his kitchen

If you think your blood sugar is too low, check with a blood glucose meter.  If your glucose level drops below 70 mg/dL and you are experiencing any of the symptoms, you should look into treatment. There is no one best low blood sugar treatment. Yet, there are plenty of options for people manage blood sugar. Eat or drink something that’s mostly sugar or carbohydrates. This will cause your blood sugar to rise quickly.  

However, foods with more fat do not raise your low blood sugar levels as quickly. Here are some low blood sugar treatment options:

  • Glucose tablets (available at most pharmacies without prescription)
  • A serving of glucose gel
  • Five to six pieces of hard candy or jelly beans
  • Four ounces of fruit juice or regular soda
  • One tablespoon of sugar, syrup or honey

 

A woman is seen drinking a glass of orange juice

Keep in mind that you should only eat these foods if you experience hypoglycemia and you only need a small amount of sugar. Try one of these options and then re-test your blood sugar in 15 minutes. To avoid raising blood sugar, do not regularly consume sugar-dense foods or drinks. For hypoglycemia, these are good solutions to alleviate low blood sugar quickly.

Now you have a better understanding of hypoglycemia. We discussed what causes blood sugar to drop, what low blood sugar symptoms might look like, and treatment. As it is prevalent in people with diabetes, it is important that we review the best ways to manage hypoglycemia.

At Iora, we know conditions like hypoglycemia can be difficult to manage. From the mental to the physical, Iora Primary Care prioritizes your health needs. We approach the whole patient, and address every aspect of their health to help guide them. 

Now that you have read about hypoglycemia and diabetes, learn more about the best foods for diabetics.

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