Low blood sugar symptoms reflect Hypoglycemia – a condition you have when your blood sugar falls below normal level. The severity of the condition varies from one person to another. You have to go through blood tests in order to diagnose sugar level, while the symptoms give you an idea of what you’re probably facing. Find out all about having low blood sugar and going what it is takes to fight against the condition.
Facts about low blood sugar
- For starters, you must know that in medical terms blood sugar is referred to blood glucose
- You have Hypoglycemia when there isn’t enough glucose in your blood – it is also the medical term for expressing low blood sugar
- Hypoglycemia is usually a side effect of diabetes medications
- The range of blood sugar lies between 70 and 100 mg/dL when you don’t have diabetes
- People who start having low blood sugar symptoms without diabetes might experience lower than 50 mg/dL
- Some of the common symptoms are trembling, sweating, dizziness, nervousness, weakness, hunger, and palpitation
- There are some severe cases that can lead to loss of consciousness and seizure
- You can treat blood sugar problem by balancing the sugar you content you consume
- If a patient’s condition becomes severe, he/she might need glucagon injection
- Glucagon promote quick release of glucose from the liver
Low blood sugar diagnosis
If you think you have low blood sugar, you need to get yourself checked immediately. When you don’t have a meter but you’re a diabetes patient, ask your doctor to provide a blood glucose meter for regular check.
If you face the low blood sugar problem often, you must consult your doctor right away. Any doctor first goes through the medical history and asks you about eating habits. He/she will then ask you about your lifestyle and symptoms.
If you don’t have diabetes but you still experience symptoms of low blood glucose, you might have hypoglycemia. The diagnosis goes through the Whipple’s triad, which is a three-way process to diagnose low blood sugar:
1. Low blood sugar symptoms
Your doctor might ask you to abstain from eating or drinking for some time to observe blood sugar signs.
Document the blood sugar level when the signs occur. For this, the doctor will take you through blood tests and analyze the level in a lab.
3. Determine disappearance of signs
Your doctor will ask you if the low blood sugar symptoms disappear when the sugar level normalize.
Using a blood glucose meter
Your doctor might send you back with a blood sugar meter. It is a small testing device that helps you track the sugar level over time. It gives you instructions to test the sugar during specifics times all through a day. For example, when you wake up or after having a meal.
To take the test, you need to prick your finger with the lancet present in the kit. You have to put a tiny blood sample on the strip and check the blood glucose meter.
If you don’t have a testing machine near you but you’re facing low blood sugar symptoms, you need to show a doctor. You need to diagnose and treat yourself right away.
Causes of low blood sugar
There can be several reasons for low blood sugar. Here we will give you some of the most common causes – the most regular one being diabetes followed by others.
Diabetes and low blood sugar
Diabetes reacts to the way your body naturally uses insulin. Imagine insulin is the key that unlocks the cells that lets in glucose for energy. People who have diabetes problem use various treatments to make their bodies use glucose.
People who have diabetes go through various treatments to help their bodies utilize glucose in the blood. These include oral medications that enhance insulin production and injections. If you’re into too many medications, your blood sugar might drop.
Many times, people try to have big meals but they don’t end up eating a lot. Times when they skip meals, eat lesser than usual, or eat at a later time, these can also lead to low sugar levels. even an unplanned physical activity that’s goes beyond what you usually do can drop blood sugar level.
You must avoid having alcohol when you take medications. The combination can also lead to low blood sugar. Many times, when people consume alcohol they refrain from adequate food. This is even worse. Your body faces difficulty to manage blood sugar levels in such a case.
More causes of low blood glucose
Not everyone has diabetes to face low blood glucose problem. Some other causes can be:
- Medications like quinine
- Medical problems like hepatitis and kidney disorder
- Tumor that increase insulin levels
- Endocrine disorder like deficiency in the adrenal gland
Low blood sugar symptoms
Find out what are the low blood sugar symptoms that can immediately tell you what you’re probably facing:
- Quick heartbeat
- Blurry vision
- Changes in mood
- Pale skin
- Sleeping problem
- Tingling in the skin
- Trouble in concentrating
- low blood sugar seizure
People who have hypoglycemia don’t understand when they’re blood sugar starts dropping. You might find your blood sugar drop even without you notice. You can faint, face seizure, and even go into coma if the condition is fatal. In a case when your blood sugar falls really low, you can need medical emergency.
People who have diabetes will generally face a mild or moderate repercussion. It is best to consume 15 grams of easy-to-digest carbs like:
- Half cup of fruit juice or soda
- One tablespoon of sugar or honey
- A few saltine crackers
- Glucose tablets
People who have severe reactions like unconsciousness needs to administer the level of glucagon they consume. They have to contact emergency immediately in such a case. People who have low blood sugar problem must speak to their doctor and have glucagon prescribed. Make sure you don’t give an unconscious person anything by their mouth as it can choke them.
Reasons why low blood sugar is dangerous
When your blood sugar level falls, your brain senses quick drop. It triggers the series of events happening in your hormone, nervous system, and responses by pushing the glucose levels high. Insulin secretion decrease while hormones try to promote higher glucose levels. These include increase in cortisol, glucagon, growth hormone, epinephrine, and more. There is a store for glycogen in our liver that can easily convert to glucose.
Along with the biochemical process that happens in your body, you start experiencing the symptoms. The first one being craving for food as it is the quickest sign to determine hypoglycemia.
Our bodies need fuel to run, and sugar happens to one of the major sources of that. When you consume complex carbs, you fill in the level of sugar you need. During emergencies cases like prolonged fasting, your body stores sugar in your liver as glycogen.
If you need to use this store, your body will go through a biochemical process for producing new sugar. The process is known as gluco-neo-genesis and it converts the stores of glycogen to sugar. The backup process reflects that the source of fuel is important to avoid sugar deficit at any point.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes low blood sugar symptoms are signs of risks. If you have prediabetes, you can be at risk too. Of all the organs, our brain depends on glucose exclusively. Only in rare cases, our brains your ketones as fuel, but that’s not a preferable situation.
Brains cannot produce glucose and its absolutely dependent on the rest of the bodily functions to supply it. If for any reason, glucose levels fall in the blood or the brain needs more of it, you will find effects on the function.
Despite advanced treatments for diabetes, low sugar levels often limit optimal limit of blood sugar control. There are many medications effective for treating diabetes that carry the risks of lowering blood sugar levels. These reflect through the symptoms of diabetes.
Studies that look into the tight control of both diabetes types, the symptoms of low blood sugar tend to show up on people who managed intensively. It is important for diabetes patients and doctors to understand this and plan the treatment goals accordingly.
Complication due to low blood sugar
Low blood glucose level is common for people who have diabetes. However, if it goes down severely, it can be a threat to you. Condition like damage in nervous system, seizure, can be fatal. This is why, it is important to treat the condition immediately.
You need to recognize the symptoms to be able to act quick with treatment. People who have the risk of drop in blood sugar tend to carry a glucagon kit with them. It is a medication that increase blood sugar level. You must talk to your doctor to get a better insight into this.
Many people open up about this problem to friends, family, roommate, gym partners, and colleagues. They are the immediate people who can help when something goes wrong and when the blood sugar drops. People around you will be able to recognize blood sugar symptoms and use the glucagon kit when you can’t help yourself. If you go unconscious, you must have people around to call 911.
It is smart to wear a bracelet of medical identification as it will come to help during emergencies. You must the condition as soon as you diagnose the problem. Also, avoid driving when you have a risk of blood sugar drop – it can increase risks of having an accident.
How to prevent a drop in blood sugar?
There are plenty of ways to prevent the condition:
1. Keep a check on your pressure
You need to keep checking the sugar level and help meet a target range. If you have faced this condition before, you might have to check the blood sugar level before operating a machine, driving, and so on. Speak to your doctor to know how to check blood sugar and how often you should check.
2. Be wise with snacking
Considering eating snacks before you leave the home. If you know you will not be having another meal in the next five hours, make sure you have a big meal. The blood sugar levels should not go lesser than 100 mg/dL.
You must have carb-rich snacks at hand. Have a few of them if you experience the symptoms of pressure fall. Some healthy additions to your bag are granola bars, dry fruits, pretzels, cookies, and fresh fruit juice.
3. Exercise well
Exercise helps you use up energy so it has high chances of leading a drop in your blood sugar level. If you don’t eat anything before you exercise, you can experience fatality. It is important to check your sugar level once in every two hours before and after exercise. If you see a drop in blood pressure before exercising, you must have some carbs before you hit the gym.
Depending on how long you exercise, you need to have additional carbs. For example, people working out more than one hour will need a certain level of carbs. Keep sports drinks and granola bars handy. It will give you a quick burst of glucose while exercising. You need to ask your doctor to give you a proper regime.
Moderate to intense exercise can lead to blood glucose drop any time within 24 hours of exercising. You must keep a check on your blood pressure after you’re done exercising, till the time you go to bed. Avoid intense training right before you hit the bed.
4. Take doctor’s suggestion
If you’re following a meal plan or eating in a certain way, you need to know how to maintain an insulin level. It will help you control low blood sugar and stick to a proper plan to prevent a drop in blood sugar.
If you don’t eat the right kind of food or take the right medicine, it can cause a drop in your sugar levels. You need to keep a check with your doctor and adjust treatment programs accordingly.