What Is Hypoglycemia?

It’s normal for a person’s blood sugar level to vary throughout the day for many factors. It’s hard to tell if the blood sugar number is within a specific range, but if it drops below that healthy range, it can become dangerous. Below we’ll talk about hypoglycemia, its symptoms, and how it differs from hyperglycemia.

What is Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia occurs when blood glucose levels fall past the healthy range, usually less than 70 mg/dL. If you have diabetes, this is also referred to as insulin shock or an insulin reaction. As Glucose is what your body uses as an energy source, you must take steps to attempt to keep your glucose levels within the normal range.

Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia

There are noticeable symptoms of hypoglycemia that the individual or others can observe. These symptoms include:

  • Paleness
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Irritability or anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • and others

If the hypoglycemia worsens, the person affected may have symptoms such as loss of coordination, slurred speech, nightmares, blurry vision, loss of consciousness, and seizures.

Causes of Hypoglycemia

If the individual has diabetes, one of the possible causes of hypoglycemia is taking too much insulin to lower your blood sugar levels to a healthier level. Another reason for people with diabetes is if you eat less than you’re supposed to or exercise more than you usually do after taking your diabetes medication.

For those who don’t have diabetes, other causes include hormone deficiencies, malnutrition, excessive alcohol consumption, some medications, and illnesses such as kidney disorders, heart disease, insulinoma, or other issues that can also cause hypoglycemia.

Hypo vs. Hyperglycemia

Many people unfamiliar with hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia tend to confuse the two terms even though they have different meanings, so this section discusses hypo vs. hyperglycemia. Hypo Is is a prefix of Greek origin meaning ‘under,’ ‘beneath,’ or ‘below’. In medical terms, it also means ‘low or less than normal’. The prefix ‘hyper’ is also of Greek origin, meaning ‘over’, ‘extra’, or ‘above’. When someone has hyperglycemia, their blood sugar levels are above the normal range.

How To Prevent Hypoglycemia

There are a few ways to prevent hypoglycemia, both if you have diabetes and if you don’t have diabetes. If you have diabetes, pay attention to your body to learn the signs and symptoms of when you experience lower blood sugar. This will help you identify and treat hypoglycemia before your blood sugar becomes too low. An insulin pump has a continuous glucose monitor is a good option as it provides an alert to let you know if your blood sugar is getting low.

If you don’t have diabetes and suffer from hypoglycemia, then it’s recommended to eat small meals throughout the day while you work with your healthcare provider to identify the cause of your hypoglycemia. Tandem Diabetes states that an individual should always have access to carbohydrates and emergency supplies to treat low blood sugar when it occurs.
Now that you know what hypoglycemia is, the symptoms of hypoglycemia, and have learned the difference between hypo vs hyperglycemia, you’ll be better prepared when you experience signs of low blood sugar. Talk to your healthcare provider and track when you have low blood sugar and the potential causes that lead to low blood sugar episodes.

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