Low sugar levels (hypoglycemia) are the name given to the condition where your glucose (blood sugar) levels are lower than the standard range.
Glucose is your body’s primary energy source. If your glucose levels drop lower than usual, this can result in dizziness, hunger, or excess tiredness.
Hypoglycemia is often related to diabetes treatment and can occur due to:
- Intense exercise
- Skipping or delaying a meal
- Taking too high a dose of diabetes medicine, such as insulin
However, hypoglycemia can also occur in people without diabetes, known as non-diabetic hypoglycemia. This can occur due to various conditions or reactions to certain drugs.
Hypoglycemia is a condition that needs immediate treatment. Treatment for hypoglycemia includes quickly getting your blood sugar back to the standard range, either with a high-sugar drink or food with medication. Long term treatment will require identifying and treating the cause.
What symptoms will I get with low blood sugar?
It is usual for everyone’s blood sugar levels to vary throughout the day, but it is essential to take action when blood sugar levels fall particularly low.
Diabetes UK state that the normal blood sugar levels for healthy individuals are:
- Between 4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L (72 to 99 mg/dL) when fasting
- Up to 7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dL) 2 hours after eating
Although low blood sugar levels will affect everyone differently, and symptoms may change over time, it is essential to know the common symptoms of hypoglycemia.
Common symptoms of glycemia include:
- a fast or pounding heartbeat
- becoming easily irritated, tearful, anxious or moody
- feeling tired
- feeling hungry
- feeling shaky or trembling
- tingling lips
- turning pale
If these early symptoms of low blood sugar are not treated early enough, then you may get other symptoms such as:
- blurred vision
- collapsing or passing out
- confusion or difficulty concentrating
- feeling sleepy
- seizures or fits
- unusual behaviour, slurred speech or clumsiness
Low blood glucose, or hypo, can also happen when asleep. This may cause you to wake up during the night or cause damp sheets (from sweat), headaches or tiredness when you wake in the morning.
One of the most reliable ways to know whether your blood sugar has fallen too low is to check your blood glucose levels at home with Test2Go Blood Glucose Test. If you confirm that your blood sugar levels are low, then you need to contact your doctor to discuss what the next steps should be. Only medical professionals should make decisions regarding your health.
What can happen if low blood glucose levels are not treated?
If you have low blood glucose levels and it is not treated, this can cause severe hypoglycemia. This severe condition must be treated with glucagon (a hormone).
Symptoms of severe hypoglycemia include:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slurred speech or clumsiness
It is important to remember that severe hypoglycemia is a medical emergency and needs to be treated.
If I don’t have diabetes, what causes low blood sugar?
While hypoglycemia is often related to people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes – particularly if the person with diabetes needs insulin to help keep their blood glucose levels under control, it can also occur in those without diabetes.
Certain conditions and drugs can cause low blood sugar in people who don’t have diabetes, in sporadic cases. This is known as non-diabetic hypoglycemia, and it occurs in two forms:
- Fasting hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar occurs after a long period of not eating. It can also be caused by alcohol, certain medications, illnesses that affect the heart, or a tumour in the pancreas.
- Reactive hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar within a few hours after eating a meal. It can also be caused by alcohol, metabolic disorders, and surgical procedures.
Suppose you find you are frequently suffering from symptoms of hypoglycemia. It is essential to contact your doctor to find out more and rule out any underlying conditions or causes.
Test2Go’s Blood Glucose Test is based on an enzymatic reaction where special dyes are activated, producing a colour change in proportion to the blood glucose content. The test is used to check if your blood sugar level is within the normal range.
You should consider taking the blood glucose test if:
- you are aged 40 or over
- or you are suffering from raised cholesterol