Hypoglycemia: 10 Signs of Low Blood Sugar


YOU?VE SEEN THAT Snickers commercial with Betty White, right? Where she’s transformed into a man so mad with a hunger that only chomping on the candy bar can return her to normal?

Turns out, the commercial is spot-on when it comes to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which is defined as blood glucose below 70mg/dL. It’s an uncomfortable and sometimes life-threatening condition.

1. Hunger

Hunger is one of the first symptoms of hypoglycemia, a condition that causes blood sugar to drop too low. This can happen when you don’t match your insulin with your food and activity, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

You can treat this symptom by eating 15 to 20 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates such as glucose tablets or gel, fruit juice, regular soda, honey, or sugary candy. Then recheck your blood sugar level in 15 minutes.

Severe hypoglycemia that doesn’t respond to treatment can lead to unconsciousness and even death, warns the Mayo Clinic. The best way to prevent hypoglycemia is to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, eat healthy snacks and meals, and stay active.

2. Dizziness

Dizziness is a common symptom of diabetes, but it can also be a sign of serious health problems. If you have regular episodes of dizziness, see a doctor right away.

If you’re feeling dizzy, eat a small snack to boost your blood sugar levels. Or, check your blood glucose level with a blood test.

People with type 2 diabetes who are taking some medications to lower their blood pressure, such as SGLT2 inhibitors or sulfonylureas, may experience dizziness.

Symptoms of dizziness may occur when you stand up or move your head, so if these symptoms come on suddenly or are severe, see a doctor. They can treat it by bringing your glucose levels up or giving you an injection of the hormone glucagon, which raises blood sugar levels and restores consciousness.

3. Slurred Speech

If you suddenly have slurred speech, it is a warning sign that your blood sugar levels are low. This can be a sign of a stroke, drug overdose, brain injury, or other serious condition that requires immediate medical treatment.

Slurred speech can also be a result of neuromuscular disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s disease. In some cases, slurred speech can be permanent if the condition is not treated.

If you have hypoglycemia, treat the low glucose level immediately by eating or drinking 15 to 20 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates like fruit juice, regular soda, honey, or a candy bar. Then, recheck your blood sugar levels in 15 minutes. Repeat this process until your blood sugar levels are above 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L). If you lose consciousness, an injection of the hormone glucagon can help restore your consciousness.

4. Clumsiness

Hypoglycemia is a serious medical emergency. It can cause unconsciousness and even death.

People who are prone to hypoglycemia should know how to recognize the symptoms and keep easy-to-eat, high-carb snacks in their homes. They should also inform their family, friends, and co-workers about this condition so they can react quickly to a potential episode.

If you have a low blood sugar level, eat or drink 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates (eating three or four glucose tablets or hard candies) or drink fruit juice every 15 minutes until your blood sugar is back to normal.

Then, check your blood sugar again and repeat treatment if you are still feeling low. If you experience severe symptoms, such as slurred speech, disorientation or unconsciousness, you may need to administer glucagon. This is a synthetic form of the hormone that raises your blood glucose levels.

5. Fatigue

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is when your body’s level of glucose, or sugar, drops too low. It can happen anytime you eat, but it’s most common after a meal.

It’s also sometimes caused by medications, including some drugs used to treat high blood pressure and rheumatic disease. It can also be a side effect of some cancer treatments.

People who have diabetes are especially at risk for hypoglycemia because their bodies can’t make enough of a hormone called insulin to absorb glucose from the blood.

Treatment for hypoglycemia usually involves consuming something that’s sugary to raise your blood sugar quickly. This can be a candy bar, a drink of fruit juice, or a tablet of glucose.

6. Headaches

Hypoglycemia is a serious medical problem that can occur from too much insulin or from medications used to treat diabetes. It can also happen if you miss a meal or exercise more than usual.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include confusion, weakness, headache, and loss of consciousness. They can be severe, requiring immediate treatment by emergency services.

In severe cases, seizures can develop if you don’t get medical help. To prevent this, you should test your blood sugar often and keep a supply of quick-sugar foods on hand.

In addition, you should inform your friends and family about the symptoms of low blood sugar. They should be familiar with how to use a glucagon kit and know to call 911 if they’re unconscious.

7. Sweating

Sweating is a common symptom of hypoglycemia, which is when your blood sugar drops too low. It’s often the result of adrenaline, a hormone that increases as glucose levels drop.

If you’re experiencing sweating, try eating or drinking a sugary snack to raise your blood sugar. Then recheck your blood sugar in 15 minutes to see if symptoms are resolved.

Some people are more prone to low blood sugar than others. These include those who have long-term diabetes, or who use certain medications for other conditions.

8. Nausea

Nausea is one of the most common symptoms of hypoglycemia, which is defined as blood glucose below 70mg/dL. It can happen to anyone, even those who do not have diabetes.

It is often caused by a change in diet, such as going from eating a lot of carbohydrates to having little or no carbohydrates at all. It is also possible for some medications to cause nausea, including antidepressants and some chemotherapy drugs.

In addition, some people may have an underlying condition that causes their blood sugar to drop. In these cases, they will be given a special type of glucose test before and after food to check for the condition.

9. Loss of Appetite

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is a serious condition that affects many people, especially those with diabetes. It can be triggered by several factors, such as insulin doses, missed meals, or exercise that depletes energy stores.

It can also be a sign of an underlying health problem, such as pancreatic cancer. That’s why it’s so important for patients to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia early, so they can act quickly before the situation gets worse.

The first thing to do if you think you have low blood sugar is to eat a small amount of food that contains a quick-acting form of glucose, such as fruit juice or hard candy. Check your blood sugar level again after 15 minutes to make sure it’s back up to normal.

10. Seizures

Seizures are the most serious symptom of hypoglycemia and can be fatal. They can cause a person to pass out, shake, see things that are not there, and feel confused.

People with diabetes are at increased risk of seizures, as their blood glucose levels can change quickly and easily. However, there are steps you can take to prevent this.

If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about getting a blood sugar monitor. This device will help you detect low blood sugar and treat it quickly.

In a study, researchers examined the relationship between blood glucose levels and seizure threshold in adult rats. They found that the clonic flurothyl seizure threshold was lower in STZ-induced diabetic rats than in nondiabetic controls.

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