Jan 21, WebMD explains the causes, symptoms, and treatment of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, a common problem in people with diabetes. Apr 25, When your blood sugar levels -- or blood glucose -- are too low, it's a condition called hypoglycemia. But sometimes people who don't have diabetes can also get low blood glucose. There are two kinds of non-diabetic hypoglycemia. Sep 7, Overview. Hypoglycemia is a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar (glucose), your body's main energy source. Hypoglycemia is.
blood sugar Low
This type of hypoglycemia, called reactive or postprandial hypoglycemia, may occur in people who have had stomach surgery. It may also occur in people who haven't had this surgery. If you ignore the symptoms of hypoglycemia too long, you may lose consciousness. That's because your brain needs glucose to function properly. Recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia early because untreated hypoglycemia can lead to:.
Over time, repeated episodes of hypoglycemia can lead to hypoglycemia unawareness. The body and brain no longer produce signs and symptoms that warn of a low blood sugar, such as shakiness or irregular heartbeats. When this happens, the risk of severe, life-threatening hypoglycemia is increased. If you have diabetes, episodes of low blood sugar are uncomfortable and can be frightening. Repeated episodes of hypoglycemia may cause you to take less insulin to ensure that your blood sugar level doesn't go too low.
But long-term high blood sugar levels can be dangerous too, possibly causing damage to your nerves, blood vessels and various organs. A continuous glucose monitor CGM is a device that measures your blood sugar every few minutes using a sensor inserted under the skin.
If you have diabetes, carefully follow the diabetes management plan you and your doctor have developed. If you're taking new medications, changing your eating or medication schedules, or adding new exercise, talk to your doctor about how these changes might affect your diabetes management and your risk of low blood sugar. A continuous glucose monitor CGM is an option for some people, particularly those with hypoglycemia unawareness.
These devices insert a tiny wire under the skin that can send blood glucose readings to a receiver. If blood sugar levels are dropping too low, some models of CGM will alert you with an alarm. Some insulin pumps are now integrated with CGMs and can shut off insulin delivery when blood sugar levels are dropping too quickly to help prevent hypoglycemia.
Be sure to always have a fast-acting carbohydrate with you, such as juice or glucose tablets so that you can treat a falling blood sugar before it dips dangerously low. If you don't have diabetes but have recurring episodes of hypoglycemia, eating frequent small meals throughout the day is a stopgap measure to help prevent your blood sugar levels from getting too low. However, this approach isn't an advisable long-term strategy. Ask your health care provider if wearing a continuous glucose monitor and sensor can help you detect when your blood sugar is getting too low in order to help prevent symptoms.
Talk with your provider about when you should check your blood sugar every day. People who have low blood sugar need to check their blood sugar more often.
Preventing low blood sugar is better than having to treat it. Always have a source of fast-acting sugar with you. DO NOT drink alcohol without eating food. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day and men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day.
Family and friends should know how to help. If you have diabetes, always wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. This helps emergency medical workers know you have diabetes. Check your blood sugar whenever you have symptoms of low blood sugar. Ask your provider how to manage this situation. If these steps for raising your blood sugar do not work, call your doctor right away. If you use insulin and your blood sugar is frequently or consistently low, ask your doctor or nurse if you:.
Sometimes hypoglycemia can be due to taking the wrong medicines. Check your medicines with your pharmacist. If signs of low blood sugar DO NOT improve after you have eaten a snack that contains sugar, have someone drive you to the emergency room or call your local emergency number such as DO NOT drive when your blood sugar is low. Get medical help right away for a person with low blood sugar if the person is not alert or cannot be awakened. Hypoglycemia and hypoglycemic syndromes. Low blood sugar - self-care.
What is Low Blood Sugar? You are at risk for low blood sugar if you have diabetes and are taking any of the following diabetes medicines: In newborns , hypoglycemia can produce irritability, jitters, myoclonic jerks , cyanosis , respiratory distress, apneic episodes, sweating, hypothermia , somnolence, hypotonia , refusal to feed, and seizures or "spells.
In both young and old patients, the brain may habituate to low glucose levels, with a reduction of noticeable symptoms despite neuroglycopenic impairment. In insulin-dependent diabetic patients this phenomenon is termed hypoglycemia unawareness and is a significant clinical problem when improved glycemic control is attempted. Another aspect of this phenomenon occurs in type I glycogenosis , when chronic hypoglycemia before diagnosis may be better tolerated than acute hypoglycemia after treatment is underway.
Hypoglycemic symptoms can also occur when one is sleeping. Examples of symptoms during sleep can include damp bed sheets or clothes from perspiration. Having nightmares or the act of crying out can be a sign of hypoglycemia. Once the individual is awake they may feel tired, irritable, or confused and these may be signs of hypoglycemia as well.
In nearly all cases, hypoglycemia that is severe enough to cause seizures or unconsciousness can be reversed without obvious harm to the brain. Cases of death or permanent neurological damage occurring with a single episode have usually involved prolonged, untreated unconsciousness, interference with breathing, severe concurrent disease, or some other type of vulnerability. Nevertheless, brain damage or death has occasionally resulted from severe hypoglycemia. Research in healthy adults shows that mental efficiency declines slightly but measurably as blood glucose falls below 3.
Since the brain effects of hypoglycemia, termed neuroglycopenia , determine whether a given low glucose is a "problem" for that person, most doctors use the term hypoglycemia only when a moderately low glucose level is accompanied by symptoms or brain effects. Determining the presence of both parts of this definition is not always straightforward, as hypoglycemic symptoms and effects are vague and can be produced by other conditions; people with recurrently low glucose levels can lose their threshold symptoms so that severe neuroglycopenic impairment can occur without much warning, and many measurement methods especially glucose meters are imprecise at low levels.
It may take longer to recover from severe hypoglycemia with unconsciousness or seizure even after restoration of normal blood glucose. When a person has not been unconscious, failure of carbohydrate to reverse the symptoms in 10—15 minutes increases the likelihood that hypoglycemia was not the cause of the symptoms.
When severe hypoglycemia has persisted in a hospitalized person, the amount of glucose required to maintain satisfactory blood glucose levels becomes an important clue to the underlying etiology. In this context this is referred to as the glucose infusion rate GIR. Finally, the blood glucose response to glucagon given when the glucose is low can also help distinguish among various types of hypoglycemia.
Significant hypoglycemia appears to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. The most common cause of hypoglycemia is medications used to treat diabetes mellitus such as insulin , sulfonylureas , and biguanides. Serious illness may result in low blood sugar.
Hospitalized persons, especially in intensive care units or those prevented from eating, can develop hypoglycemia from a variety of circumstances related to the care of their primary disease. Hypoglycemia in these circumstances is often multifactorial or caused by the healthcare. Once identified, these types of hypoglycemia are readily reversed and prevented, and the underlying disease becomes the primary problem.
Not enough cortisol, such as in Addison's disease , not enough glucagon, or not enough epinephrine can result in low blood sugar. Like most animal tissues, brain metabolism depends primarily on glucose for fuel in most circumstances.
A limited amount of glucose can be derived from glycogen stored in astrocytes , but it is consumed within minutes. For most practical purposes, the brain is dependent on a continual supply of glucose diffusing from the blood into the interstitial tissue within the central nervous system and into the neurons themselves.
Therefore, if the amount of glucose supplied by the blood falls, the brain is one of the first organs affected. Seizures may occur as the glucose falls further. These brain effects are collectively referred to as neuroglycopenia. The importance of an adequate supply of glucose to the brain is apparent from the number of nervous, hormonal and metabolic responses to a falling glucose level.
Most of these are defensive or adaptive, tending to raise the blood sugar by glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis or provide alternative fuels. If the blood sugar level falls too low, the liver converts a storage of glycogen into glucose and releases it into the bloodstream, to prevent the person going into a diabetic coma , for a short time. Brief or mild hypoglycemia produces no lasting effects on the brain, though it can temporarily alter brain responses to additional hypoglycemia.
Prolonged, severe hypoglycemia can produce lasting damage of a wide range. This can include impairment of cognitive function, motor control, or even consciousness.
The likelihood of permanent brain damage from any given instance of severe hypoglycemia is difficult to estimate and depends on a multitude of factors such as age, recent blood and brain glucose experience, concurrent problems such as hypoxia , and availability of alternative fuels.
Prior hypoglycemia also blunts the counterregulatory response to future hypoglycemia . While the mechanism leading to blunted counterregulation is unknown several have been proposed. It has been frequently found that those type 1 diabetics found "dead in bed" in the morning after suspected severe hypoglycemia had some underlying coronary pathology that led to an induced fatal heart attack.
The vast majority of symptomatic hypoglycemic episodes result in no detectable permanent harm. In diabetics a level below 3. In cases of recurrent hypoglycemia with severe symptoms, the best method of excluding dangerous conditions is often a diagnostic fast.
This is usually conducted in the hospital, and the duration depends on the age of the patient and response to the fast. The purpose of the fast is to determine whether the person can maintain his or her blood glucose as long as normal, and can respond to fasting with the appropriate metabolic changes.
At the end of the fast the insulin should be nearly undetectable and ketosis should be fully established. The patient's blood glucose levels are monitored and a critical specimen is obtained if the glucose falls. Despite its unpleasantness and expense, a diagnostic fast may be the only effective way to confirm or refute a number of serious forms of hypoglycemia, especially those involving excessive insulin. The precise level of glucose considered low enough to define hypoglycemia is dependent on 1 the measurement method, 2 the age of the person, 3 presence or absence of effects, and 4 the purpose of the definition.
While there is no disagreement as to the normal range of blood sugar, debate continues as to what degree of hypoglycemia warrants medical evaluation or treatment, or can cause harm.
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose)
Aug 29, Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a potentially dangerous condition that's most common in people with diabetes. The symptoms of low. Aug 10, Hypoglycemia occurs when a person's blood sugar levels drop too low. It can cause dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness, among. Aug 16, Symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) include shakiness, fast heartbeat, anxiety, and hunger. If left untreated, it can become.