What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is a condition where the blood sugar levels (glucose) is lower than normal. Often related to people with diabetes, Hypoglycemia occurs when the body is deprived of insulin hormone that converts glucose into energy.
Blood sugar levels are considered low when they drop below 70mg/dL. A severe reduction in blood sugar levels can be dangerous.
Hypoglycemia symptoms can occur suddenly or gradually, depending upon the individual health conditions, lifestyle, etc. Some of the common symptoms across different people have been listed below for your understanding:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sudden nervousness and mood changes
- Sudden/unexplained fatigue and tiredness
- Confusion and difficulty in thinking clearly
- Tingling sensation in the skin and nerves
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Skin turning pale
People who are unaware of their Hypoglycemic condition often fail to notice the symptoms and can faint due to a severe drop in blood sugar levels leading to experiencing a seizure or even going to coma.
Who is at Risk?
Hypoglycemia risk factors differ from individual to individual depending upon the type of diabetes, age, health conditions, etc. Certain red flags for when an individual might be at risk are:
- Diabetic people are more prone to Hypoglycemia than others
- Excessive dieting can lead to a drop in sugar levels
- Excessive smoking or drinking alcohol
- Too much insulin in the body can lead to Hypoglycemia
- Too many medications, diabetic or other, can lead to Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia causes can differ depending upon the triggers that have been making changes in the hormone levels. However, we have discussed some possible causes for you down below:
- Blood Sugar Regulation – Food contains carbohydrates and the body breaks down the carbohydrates (glucose) into energy with the help of insulin – a hormone secreted by your pancreas. Mismanagement of food habits or body functioning can result in an imbalance in the secretion of insulin levels, and cause sudden Hypoglycemic episodes.
- Insulin intake for Diabetics – People with diabetes manage their insulin levels with medicine (Type 2 diabetes) or insulin shots (Type 1 diabetes). Any imbalance in insulin intake can cause hypo or hyperglycemia.
- Excessive alcohol consumption – drinking too much alcohol can block your liver and stop it from releasing the stored glucose into the bloodstream – inflicting Hypoglycemia
- Serious health conditions – Critical diseases like cancer, tumor, endocrine problems, insulinoma, etc sometimes induce episodes of Hypoglycemic
How is Hypoglycemia diagnosed?
If one experiences symptoms of Hypoglycemic, it is always best to get a Hypoglycemic diagnosis immediately by checking blood sugar levels. If you don’t have the glucometer with you, a visit to the doctor is very much important.
- Physical Examination – When the doctor determines symptoms of Hypoglycemia they take a Hypoglycemia test immediately and monitor the sugar levels constantly for preventing from fatal episodes
- Studying history – Doctor examines your dietary habits, lifestyle habits, medical history, etc to know the probable cause of diabetes
- Monitoring glucose levels – Doctor may recommend carrying a glucometer or glucose-sensor to study intervals of low blood sugar levels and understand the pattern
How is Hypoglycemia treated?
Hypoglycemia treatment is done on the understanding if one is diabetic or not. It starts with controlling the ongoing drop in the blood sugar levels by consuming at least 15 grams of carbohydrates immediately.
- Controlling Hypoglycemia: Eating 15 grams of quick-digestible carbohydrates i.e. fruit juice, dried fruit, cookies, pretzels, toffee, etc to control the ongoing Hypoglycemia
- Dietary changes: Consuming food at regular intervals is one of the distinct measures to balance blood sugar levels. Make sure you eat a nutritive diet with the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
- Medication – For diabetic patients, doctors recommend Hypoglycemia medicine in the form of tablets and insulin shots to maintain insulin levels for optimum production of glucose in the body.
How can Hypoglycemia be prevented?
Hypoglycemia prevention can be done in several ways. These include:
- Regular checking of Blood Sugar Levels – If you have had Hypoglycemia in the past, then checking blood sugar levels on intervals helps in saving from further occurrence
- Snack Smart – Consider eating a 6-meal diet and snacking at the right time to ensure your blood sugar levels never drop below the normal
- Exercise right – indulge into the right kind of exercises and keep yourself fueled with energy bars, sports drinks, etc to save from Hypoglycemia during exercises
- Draft your lifestyle – Maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle with proper meal ad sleep patterns to save from any Hypoglycemia episodes.
Also read about what is reactive hypoglycemia.