A single episode of low blood sugar is not alarming and does not need to be evaluated. But repeated episodes of documented hypoglycemia in people not on medications to treat diabetes needs to be evaluated carefully by an endocrinologist. If you have repeated episodes of low blood sugar or chronic hypoglycemia, your body loses it’s ability to respond vigorously to low blood sugar.
Some common causes of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia are;
- In people with diabetes overmedication with insulin or other oral anti-diabetic medications
- Certain medications can cause hypoglycemia such as beta blockers, pentamidine, and sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim.
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Missed meals or if you remain hungry for prolonged period
- Severe infection (sepsis)
- Poor oral intake due to infection, any chronic disease like cancer
- Endocrinal disease like adrenal insufficiency
- Kidney or liver failure
- Inborn error or congenital, genetic defects of insulin release and blood glucose metabolism (congenital hyperinsulinism)
- Certain conditions that can increase insulin release (like infant born to a diabetic mother, birth trauma, reduced oxygen delivery during birth, Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, and certain rarer genetic conditions)
- Tumors of insulin-producing cells (Insulinoma or insulin-producing tumor)
- Certain other tumors such as hepatoma, mesothelioma, and fibrosarcoma (these tumors may produce insulin-like factors which can lead to hypoglycemia)
If you have repeated episodes of symptoms suggestive of low blood sugar consult your doctor.
Dr Poonam Sachdeva, our in-house medical expert talks about the why what and how in diabetes.