Hypoglycemia - Low Blood Sugar Symptoms & more


Glucose is crucial as it provides the body with the energy it needs to perform physical and mental tasks. The elevated insulin levels and reduced glucagon levels that occur following a meal encourage the storage of glucose as glycogen.

On the other hand, the liver produces glucose while a person is not eating or between meals by converting glycogen into glucose. Therefore, in a nutshell, since glucose impacts the essential bodily systems, changes in glucose levels or how the body processes glucose can widely affect health. 

The widespread myth is that only patients with diabetes, prediabetes and gestational diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose levels. But the logical response is that everybody should indeed.

For example, eating at the wrong time or overeating can cause blood glucose levels to spike, leading to weight gain. On the other hand, if you exercise more or eat less than you require while on diabetic drugs, which utilises extra glucose, your blood sugar may drop to a low level.

Syncing the right amount of insulin, food, and activity levels can require careful attention to detail. However, you can avoid low blood sugar levels by collaborating with your health professional, certified diabetes care and rehabilitation professional, or a registered nutritionist.

If blood sugar levels fall too low, CGM devices can be life savers. For example, HealthifyPRO 2.0, which includes a CGM device and an extensive study of metabolic parameters, can help manage hypoglycemia.

An alert notifies you that your blood sugar levels are dropping too quickly, and you can stop administering insulin. A fast-acting carbohydrate, such as glucose beverages, juices, or pills, should always be on hand. It can assist when blood sugar levels start to fall before they go too low. 

The BIOS, a feature of HealthifyPro 2.0, is a wearable device that continuously monitors your blood glucose levels. The AI-enabled technology delivers the readings to you and your coach via connected mobile devices. You get notified when the readings are higher or lower than the advised levels.

Additionally, since personal coaches have access to the information, they can assist you in creating a meal and exercise plan based on your blood sugar levels or condition. Changing your food intake, combinations, and amounts, help prevent blood glucose fluctuations and control them.

Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar): An Overview

When a person with diabetes doesn’t have enough glucose (sugar) in their blood, they experience diabetic hypoglycemia. According to studies, glucose is the body’s and the brain’s primary fuel source. It is not easy to function correctly without it.

The majority of the body’s glucose gets derived through eating. When blood sugar levels are excessively high, insulin reduces blood sugar (glucose) levels. 

If you have type 1 or 2 diabetes and are dependent on insulin to manage blood sugar, taking more insulin than you require could result in hypoglycemia. It is a condition when your blood sugar level falls dangerously low. However, you can quickly elevate your blood sugar levels by consuming simple sugar sources, such as hard candy, glucose tablets, glucose drinks, or fruit juice.

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is frequent in patients with diabetes. Let’s say you have had diabetes and are still experiencing hypoglycemia symptoms. In that situation, your doctor might need to alter your course of treatment or examine you to check for any other underlying illnesses.

Small meals throughout the day are a fix for managing hypoglycemia in persons without diabetes to prevent dangerously low blood sugar levels from occurring. However, a good long-term plan would benefit if you had a more specialised approach. As a result, work with your nutritionist and health coach to identify the source of hypoglycemia and take appropriate action.

Blood Sugar Level Range

Hypoglycemia occurs when the fasting blood glucose level is less than 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L). In contrast, hyperglycemia occurs when the fasting glucose level is more than 100 or equal to 125 mg/dL. However, the parameters may vary for children, teenagers, and expectant mothers.

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar Symptoms)

Individual symptoms can differ; therefore, it’s critical to recognise the early signs so you can treat them.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycaemia

  • Feeling hungry
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Blurred vision
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Going pale
  • Fast pulse
  • Tingling lips
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Damp sleepwear due to sweat.
  • Nightmares
  • Fatigue, irritation, or confusion when you wake up

You could experience drowsiness or even lose consciousness if you do not address hypoglycemia immediately and your blood glucose levels drop too low. Most people with diabetes who use insulin note that as their condition progresses, the hypoglycemia symptoms shift and become less noticeable. Some experience a sharp decline in the warning signs, which puts them at a high risk of experiencing severe episodes that make them dependent on others. Let your healthcare team know if you experience this issue to lower the risk. If so, your treatment plan may need to be modified.

Severe Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia might worsen if diabetic hypoglycemia does not get treated:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Unconsciousness

The HealthifyMe Note

You must take medical advice if you have hypoglycemia and persistent symptoms. However, lifestyle management plays a significant role in managing this condition when you experience low blood sugar levels. Eating small meals with food containing low GI scores, limiting junk food and sugar, and following a healthy plating method are sure-shot ways to manage it better. Always remember to have complex carbs, lean protein, good-quality fats and high-soluble fibre. 

Prevention of Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar Symptoms)

To prevent incidences of hypoglycemia you should:

Check Your Blood Sugar Levels

Depending on your treatment strategy, you might check and record your blood sugar level numerous times per week or several times daily. Careful monitoring is the only way to guarantee that your blood sugar levels remain within your desired range.

Avoid Delaying or Skipping Meals or Snacks

It is vital to be consistent with your calorie intake and meal and snack times if you use insulin or oral diabetic treatment.

Adjust Medication

The adjustment is based on your medication regimen, the nature and duration of the exercise, the results of the blood sugar test, and other factors. When making changes, adhere to your diabetes treatment plan.

Record Your Responses to Low Blood Sugar

It can assist you and your medical team identify the patterns that lead to hypoglycemia and figuring out how to stop them.

Avoid Consuming Alcohol on an Empty Stomach.

If you prefer to consume alcohol, eat a meal or a snack with it. Also, ensure that you consume it occasionally and in small quantities. Alcohol consumption on an empty stomach may result in hypoglycemia. Hours later, alcohol use may also result in delayed hypoglycemia, making it even more critical.

Ensure you keep yourself hydrated while drinking, and do not add mixers or carbonated beverages. Stay away from alcoholic beverages which are high in sugar content. They can lead to hypoglycemia unawareness, which means you do not get to realise the warning signs of low blood sugar. 

Managing Hypoglycemia – The HealthifyMe Way

If you start taking new medications, change your eating or medication schedules, or start exercising more, these changes may impact managing your diabetes and your risk of low blood sugar. Discovering the warning signs and symptoms of low blood sugar will help you identify and manage hypoglycemia before your blood sugar levels go too low. Additionally, you can see when it is getting low by routinely checking your blood sugar.

HealthifyMe, India’s leading holistic wellness platform, uses a mix of technology and nutrition science to assess individual health and parameters that lead to obesity and lifestyle diseases. HealthifyPRO 2.0 has four distinct pillars. A CGM, a smart scale, metabolic panel testing, and nutritionist involvement.

As a package, it helps you make lifestyle changes. Such an intervention is not transitory and enables you to form lifelong habits which help combat lifestyle conditions. In other words, lifestyle management has traditionally been unidimensional.

In this approach, the nutritionist studies the real-time changes in blood glucose levels. Then, through technology enablers, customises a unique meal plan that syncs with the users existing condition and lifestyle.

For example, a 25-year-old with hypoglycemia with a sedentary lifestyle and a 45-year-old with hypoglycemia and an active lifestyle require different interventions. Therefore, the same approach of a 1500-calorie meal plan cannot work for both. However, this is because real-time fluctuations in blood glucose levels can create different responses in different individuals. Therefore, two individuals with similar health conditions must manage their health challenges differently. 

HealthifyPro 2.0 by HealthifyMe offers real-time health insights with more than 60+ health indicators. With a one-on-one session with a HealthifyMe health coach, you can design an activity and dietary plan specifically tailored to your unique health needs.

Summary

When blood glucose levels are low, it is known as hypoglycemia. Foods with sufficient sugars or carbohydrates can help treat and prevent the adverse effects of low blood sugar levels.

Drinking sugary or glucose-rich beverages can help to reduce the symptoms immediately. Fruits and fruit juices are sugar-rich, nutritious options that increase energy and immunity.

Consuming 15-20 grams of quick-acting carbs is the first line of treatment. Speaking with a qualified medical practitioner is essential to comprehend the underlying reasons for hypoglycemia fully. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How do you feel when your blood sugar is low?

A. Most people receive some warning before their blood sugar or glucose levels drop dangerously low, giving them time to raise them. Blood sugar levels below four millimoles (mmol) per litre generally result in specific symptoms. A person typically feels excessive hunger, trembling or shaking, a bad headache, dizziness, and sweating. Hypoglycemia can cause a person to go unconscious under extreme circumstances. Hypoglycemia can also happen while you are asleep, resulting in excessive perspiration, a restless night, and drowsiness and confusion when you wake up.

Q. What is the most common cause of low blood sugar?

A. People who use insulin might experience low blood sugar, but certain oral diabetic drugs can also cause it. Taking too much insulin or diabetes medicine, not eating enough, inappropriate physical activity, and consuming alcohol are all common reasons for diabetic hypoglycemia. 

Q. Can you have symptoms of low blood sugar without diabetes?

A. Low blood sugar in people without diabetes is known as non-diabetic hypoglycemia. Clinicians typically seek to prove non-diabetic hypoglycemia by confirming the presence of both the classic symptoms and a low blood sugar level and the recovery of these symptoms after consuming sugar. When you don’t eat (fasting), are undernourished, or have too much insulin released after eating, this condition is known as reactive hypoglycemia or postprandial hypoglycemia (a pregnancy issue). Some symptoms of low blood sugar without diabetes include feeling hungry, sweating, dizziness, tiredness, fast pulse, shakiness or trembling, etc.

Q. Does low blood sugar make you sleepy?

A. Fatigue or feeling lethargic can also result from low blood sugar. It occurs mainly in those who experience it frequently and do not receive adequate notice that their blood sugar is lowering. Even after receiving low blood sugar medication, some may feel exhausted. 

Q. What do you eat when your blood sugar is low?

A. Fruits and fruit juices can boost blood sugar levels. First, give the patient a quick-acting sugar source (fruit juice). Sugar, candy, cake, cookies, ice cream, pastries, sweet rolls, doughnuts, etc., are among the foods you can try for a quick blood sugar boost. Then, let them consume a stable sugar source (crackers and cheese or a sandwich with meat). When your blood sugar level drops too low, you need to raise it quickly. Your doctor may advise you to consume sweet foods or beverages (such as ordinary soda, orange juice, or cake icing) or prescribe glucose pills or gel. The sugar needs around 10 minutes to work.

Q. How do I know if my blood sugar is low without a meter?

A. Sweating, feeling hungry, tingling lips, tiredness, dizziness, shaky or trembling, a fast or pounding heartbeat (palpitations), and tearfulness, anxiety, or mood swings are a few symptoms that indicate low blood sugar. Your blood glucose levels are measured more precisely using continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). It operates with a tiny sensor that gets inserted beneath your skin. The sensor measures your interstitial glucose level, which analyses your blood sugar every few minutes. The information gets wirelessly transmitted to a monitor. It is a helpful method for keeping an eye on glucose levels.

Q. What causes blood sugar to drop suddenly?

A. A low blood sugar reading is below 55 mg/dL. A diet that is unbalanced or unhealthy can sometimes be the cause. The primary energy source for the body is glucose, which you get from food. As a result, your blood sugar may drop if you go several hours without eating or skip a meal before a workout. You can also lower your blood glucose levels by taking too much insulin or by not eating enough carbohydrates for how much insulin you take. Worry and stress cause your body to release stress hormones, which can either raise or drop your blood sugar. In most circumstances, eating can aid in blood sugar stabilisation. Symptoms of hunger, shaking or shakiness, and sweating are typical early warning indicators. In more extreme situations, you can also experience confusion and difficulties focusing.

Q. Can I check if I have diabetes myself?

A. Certainly, if diabetes is present, you can look for symptoms. They include frequent thirst (polydipsia), frequent urination (polyuria), excessive appetite (polyphagia), blurred vision and fatigue in some cases. Additionally, from the comfort of your home, a blood glucose monitoring device enables you to understand your glucose levels.

Q. Can diabetes make you gain weight?

A. Diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, is a chronic condition linked to medical issues that might result in weight gain. Insulin users frequently put on weight. The hormone insulin controls how the body assimilates glucose, generally known as sugar. Weight gain can be stressful because managing diabetes requires maintaining a healthy weight. Our body stores more glucose when there is an excess of insulin and blood sugar in our bloodstream. Although our muscles and liver can store some glucose, when these are full, our body begins to store the extra sugar as fat. Naturally, this leads to weight gain.

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