What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is commonly known as low blood glucose or low blood sugar that happens when the level of glucose in the blood drops. Glucose is the key source for providing energy to the body. The condition mainly occurs in people with diabetes, however in some cases, people who are non-diabetic can also get low blood sugar. There are two kinds of non-diabetic hypoglycemia, namely:
Reactive Hypoglycemia – It usually happens a few hours after the meal
Fasting Hypoglycemia – It might be related to medicine or a particular disease
Generally, hypoglycemia is not a disease, but it can lead to a serious condition that might require immediate treatment.
Signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia can occur suddenly and vary from person to person. One may experience from mild to severe symptoms depending on how low the blood sugar goes. In some cases, it is completely asymptomatic. Some common symptoms associated with mild hypoglycemia include:
If the hypoglycemia worsens, it may cause other severe symptoms as well. Severe hypoglycemia happens when the blood glucose level becomes so low that the person experiencing it cannot handle himself and needs help from another person. This type of hypoglycemia is more commonly found in people with type 1 diabetes. Some symptoms of severe hypoglycemia include:
Hypoglycemia in diabetic people: There are several reasons that can cause hypoglycemia in a diabetic patient. Although diabetes medicines don’t cause hypoglycemia by themselves, they can help the body make more insulin and increase hypoglycemia. When too much insulin or other diabetes drugs are taken, it may cause the blood sugar level to drop too low and cause hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia can also occur if a diabetic person eats less than usual or exercise more than the normal or engage in strenuous activity without eating enough. Skipping meals, eating later than normal but taking medication at the normal time, not consuming enough carbohydrates, or drinking alcohol while on medication can also lead to hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia in non-diabetic people: Although the chances of hypoglycemia in non-diabetic people are less, it can happen when the body produces too much insulin after a meal, causing blood sugar levels to drop. This is a condition known as reactive hypoglycemia, and it may be considered an early sign of diabetes.
Some other reasons that can also cause hypoglycemia in non-diabetic people include:
If a person notices one or more signs of hypoglycemia, they should check their blood sugar levels. If it’s below the normal range, they should eat or drink fast-acting carbohydrates. They can also consume a glucose tablet, sugar lump, candy, or a glass of fruit juice. This will help raise the sugar level quickly and make the symptoms go away. Then, they should wait and recheck their blood level again after 15-20 minutes. If the blood sugar levels are still low, the person should repeat the process or seek medical help. People with diabetes are advised to keep to regular eating times and keep high-carbohydrate snacks on hand.
Severe hypoglycemia might be life-threatening as well. In cases of severe hypoglycemia or severely low blood sugar, when the individual is unconscious or unable to self-treat, he might need medical help immediately.
However, there are also a few other types of hypoglycemia for which proper and appropriate treatment must be planned. This may include adjusting the medication dosage and tumor (pancreatic) treatment if needed.
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