What Is Hypoglycemia?


Hypoglycemia is a condition that causes an abnormally low level of blood sugar, or blood glucose. This is the body's main source of energy. People with diabetes get hypoglycemia when their bodies do not have enough sugar to use as energy. There are a number of things that can cause people to develop hypoglycemia. Some people may develop it as a result of their diet, exercise regimen, or as a result of being on certain medications. The symptoms of hypoglycemia usually begin when people’s blood sugar drops to 70 milligrams per deciliter or lower.

In order for the brain and body to function properly, you need glucose. Once your blood glucose levels drop to a certain level, you can develop hypoglycemia. The signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia may include heart palpitations, fatigue, pale skin, shakiness, anxiety, sweating, hunger, irritability, a tingling sensation around the mouth, headaches, trembling, weakness, dizziness, and confusion. If hypoglycemia gets worse, so will the signs and symptoms. When hypoglycemia does get worse, the signs and symptoms may include confusion, abnormal behavior, poor coordination, poor concentration, numbness in the mouth and tongue, nightmares or bad dreams, inability to complete routine tasks, visual disturbances, such as blurred vision, seizures, and loss of consciousness. People who develop severe hypoglycemia may look and talk like they are intoxicated. You may notice that they are slurring their words and unable to move around steadily.

If hypoglycemia goes untreated, there can be serious complications. It is important to recognize these signs and symptoms early on and seek treatment as soon as possible. If you ignore the symptoms of hypoglycemia too long, you may pass out due to a lack of glucose in the brain. If hypoglycemia goes untreated, it can lead to seizure, loss of consciousness, and death.

In order to treat hypoglycemia, your doctor will do a physical examination, an assessment of your medical history, and look at the following criteria:

·       Signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. You may not experience signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia at first. For this reason, your doctor may have you fast overnight, or for longer. This will allow hypoglycemic symptoms to occur so that a diagnosis can be made. If symptoms appear after a meal, your doctor will want to test your glucose levels after a meal.

·       When the signs and symptoms of low blood glucose do occur. This is done by drawing a sample of your blood for analysis.

·       When the signs and symptoms of low blood glucose disappear. This involves identifying when your signs and symptoms go away when blood glucose levels are raised.