Hypoglycemia means that the sugar (glucose) level in your blood has fallen too low. Hypoglycemia or low glucose levels is a common problem---many people experience symptoms of hypoglycemia. In people with diabetes overmedication with insulin or other oral antidiabetic medications is the commonest cause of hypoglycemia.
However many people without diabetes can also suffer from hypoglycemia. Some of the common causes of hypoglycemia in people without diabetes include;
- 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 (Addison's disease)
- Kidney or liver failure
- Certain medications can cause hypoglycemia such as beta blockers, pentamidine, and quinine
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia Without Diabetes
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can vary from mild to severe, depending on how low the blood sugar falls to.
Some symptoms which develop in people with hypoglycemia include;
- Nervousness, anxiety
- Dizziness or giddiness
- Excessive Perspiration
- Shakiness or tremors
- Confusion or difficulty in concentrating
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty in speaking
- Loss of consciousness or coma (in severe cases)
Treatment for Hypoglycemia Without Diabetes
- If you develop symptoms due to low blood sugar eat or drink something that has sugar in it like candy, chocolate, fruit juice, raisins, or glucose.
- If the symptoms are very severe (like if you faint or lose consciousness) you may need admission in a hospital and intravenous administration of glucose.
A single episode of low blood sugar is not alarming. But repeated episodes of documented hypoglycemia or low glucose level in people not on medications to treat diabetes needs to be evaluated carefully by an endocrinologist.
Dr Poonam Sachdeva, our in-house medical expert talks about the why what and how in diabetes.
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