Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar or low blood glucose, is a condition that occurs when the blood glucose levels are lower than normal. Glucose is a sugar that is absorbed into the bloodstream through the foods we eat. It is found mostly in carbohydrates. The body breaks down the food and absorbs the glucose. If too much glucose is absorbed, it can be stored as fat for later use. Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, plays an important role in monitoring the amount of glucose in the body. Insulin helps glucose enter the bloodstream and store excess amounts in the liver.
Diabetics must rely on the injection of insulin to regulate their blood glucose levels. If too much insulin is taken, it can cause the blood sugar level to drop resulting in hypoglycemia. Other medications, excessive alcohol consumption, diseases, tumors or simply not eating can also cause hypoglycemia.
Causes of Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is a common occurrence in people who have diabetes, however hypoglycemia can happen for other reasons. Some of the reasons for episodes of hypoglycemia may be the result of the following:
- Blood glucose levels have been depleted
- Blood glucose is released too slowly to the bloodstream
- An excessive amount of insulin is released to the blood stream
- Diabetes medicine not taken at the correct time
- Taking too much diabetes medication
- Improper diet
- Alcohol consumption
- Change in an exercise routine
- A hormonal deficiency
- Total body infection
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
Symptoms of hypoglycemia may include the following:
- Behavior changes
- Tingling around the mouth
- Double or blurred vision
- Difficulty speaking
- Loss of consciousness
Treatment of Hypoglycemia
A mild episode of hypoglycemia can be treated by consuming sugar through food, drink, or glucose tablets. In severe cases hypoglycemia can lead to unconsciousness, and it is important that you seek immediate medical attention. Long-term care may include medication or treatment of an insulin releasing tumor. Proper diabetic care and eating small, frequent meals can help prevent a recurrence of hypoglycemia.