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Hypoglycemia and Anemia
Hypoglycemia refers to a medical condition where your blood sugar levels are below normal. Such conditions are often seen among individuals with diabetes as they take regular medicines to keep their sugar levels in check. Under such circumstances, the blood sugar levels drop so low that the cells get deprived of the much-needed energy for daily functionalities. Know more about normal blood sugar.
Anemia is a different medical condition where an individual lacks enough red blood cells that transport oxygen to every corner of the body. Doctors claim that iron deficiency is the primary cause of anemia, while other issues also exist. Let's learn more about the relationship between hypoglycemia and anemia.
Table of Contents
What causes hypoglycemia and anemia?
While there is no link or causal effect between the two conditions, anemia and hypoglycemia can be present in an individual at the same time. The causes could be:
- Malnutrition – When the body does not receive the required amount of nutrients that it needs to function, it can result in both – low sugar and iron deficiency. Lack of food, forgetting to eat, eating disorders, prolonged fasting, surgeries, etc can make a person prone to malnutrition
- Diabetes – Hypoglycemia is a symptom of diabetes. The main factor leading to this would be taking too much insulin or not eating enough. Medications required for the treatment of type 2 diabetes or intravenous insulin (syringe, pen, or pump) can lead to symptoms of low sugars. Some research does point towards the increased risk for the onset of anemia in a person with diabetes due to reduced iron absorption or kidney issues that can be common.
- Blood loss – Blood is composeds of glucose and red blood cells. Therefore, blood loss can lead to the experience of anemia and hypoglycemia. This is the reason why before donating blood, a person is encouraged to eat a snack that has iron in it. Anemia can also result due to heavy periods, internal bleeding, or bleeding disorders.
- Malabsorption – When the body finds it difficult to absorb nutrients from the digestive tract, it can be caused due to the following conditions – lactose intolerance, inflamed bowels, overgrowth of bacteria, pancreas or liver disease, etc.
Relation between Anemia and Hypoglycemia
There is an ongoing debate and confusion concerning the relation between anemia and hypoglycemia. Doctors make it clear that they are two distinctive ailments that individuals suffer from, even though a few symptoms are common to both. At times, both these ailments originate from a common problem-causing source.
The facts indicate that anemia can cause hypoglycemia. The reason behind people finding a relation between them is a study that dates back to 2010. The study suggests that anemia produces false measurements that exhibit a patient having higher sugar levels. To control the sugar levels, the patient uses insulin and ultimately becomes hypoglycemic. In contrast, anemia has a direct relation with higher glucose levels in the blood, thus making hypoglycemia an impossibility under normal circumstances. Know more about best medicine for diabetes in India.
The relation between anemia and hypoglycemia becomes deeper with the shared causes these ailments have. Let us look into the causes behind these conditions:
When an individual does not consume the right amount of food and the necessary nutrients, they may experience malnutrition. The conditions during malnutrition lead to lower blood glucose levels and lower iron and other nutrient content in the body. Other causes of malnutrition include:
- An incomplete diet or forgetfulness to maintain proper food intake.
- Disorders concerning food consumption like anorexia nervosa.
- Longer fasting periods.
Such conditions also occur in people who undergo surgery that requires certain food restrictions as a part of their recovery.
One of the common root causes of hypoglycemia is diabetes. People with diabetes get injected with insulin to maintain their blood sugar levels. Often, due to the continuous use of insulin, the blood sugar levels drop below the normal margin, thus requiring immediate medical attention.
Besides insulin, medicines like Glycomet, Amaryl, etc., also have their set of effects. They keep the sugar levels in check and, in some cases, push them to lower levels.
While insulin and medicines are the root causes here, diabetes can have other sources like:
- Lacking carbohydrates in the diet
- Delaying essential meals
- Alcohol consumption, especially on an empty stomach
When diabetes causes the following symptoms, they aggravate the chances of anemia:
- Bleeding in the intestinal region.
- Kidney problems
- Lower iron absorption by the body
3. Blood Loss
Blood loss is one of the major causes of anemia. While losing blood, individuals lose their red blood cells and blood glucose. Thus, hypoglycemia is another possibility. People experiencing internal bleeding or higher blood loss during periods may face this issue.
Difference between Anemia and Hypoglycemia
Anemia and hypoglycemia are two different health impediments. While anemia happens to be a deficiency of red blood cells in the body, hypoglycemia refers to low sugar level in the blood. In anemia, there is a vitamin D deficiency and lack of oxygen in the blood, while in hypoglycemia, sugar levels in the body are lower than normal, which affects the overall energy and health of the individual.
How to Control or Prevent Anemia and Hypoglycemia
To keep anemia and hypoglycemia at bay, you can take a few preventive measures.
- Keep a check on your sugar levels.
- Ensure that you have proper meals throughout the day. Here is a list of food for low blood sugar
- Keep a check on the medicine and doses.
- Indulge in physical activity like jogging, cycling, etc., that keeps you fit.
- Ensure that you have a diabetes sign with you so that people help you out during unforeseen circumstances.
- Keep a healthy diet.
- Exercise regularly.
- Ensure that you drink enough water.
- Avoid anemia-causing chemicals.
- Maintain oral and hand hygiene.
- Keep a check on your symptoms and keep the doctor informed.
When to Consult a Doctor
Now that you know the reasons behind anemia and hypoglycemia, you might have questions about their diagnosis. Here is a list of the possible symptoms that indicate when you should consider going for a check-up.
- Overall weakness; especially muscular
- Faltering heart rates
- Cold hands and feet
- Depression and confusion
- Pain in the chest
- Constant hunger
- Shivering body
- Occasional dizziness and confusion
- Perceived irritation
- Fluctuating heart rates
- Loss of consciousness
- Seizure attacks
If you experience any of these symptoms, visit your doctor for a health check-up. The doctor will ask you to do some necessary tests to check your health condition. If you are diagnosed with anemia, hypoglycemia or both, doctors will ensure that you get the best care possible. A diagnosis only means you now know what is bothering you and can take active steps towards dealing with it.
Also read about benefits of dates for diabetes
An anemia or hypoglycemia diagnosis can be scary and tough to process. However, with the advancement of medical science, there are many more treatment options available around the world. Leaders in medicine are working every day to make disorders like these easier to deal with and, one day, be cured of them. Also know about fasting blood sugar level.
Can anemia affect blood sugar?
Anemia does not cause hypoglycemia, however, the iron-deficient levels might result in an elevation of the HbA1c in persons with diabetes. Understanding and treating the symptoms after a complete check-up and blood work would lead to better and faster prognosis.
What is hypoglycemia anemia?
Hypoglycemia is a condition where a person suffers from low blood sugar levels, whereas anemia is a condition when there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body. There is no known connection between hypoglycemia and anemia.
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.