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Understanding Blood Sugar Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, and Management

Mar 23, 2024
Dive into the essentials of blood sugar deficiency—understand the triggers, recognize the symptoms, and learn effective management strategies for maintaining optimal health.
Homed-Understanding Blood Sugar Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, and Management

Hypoglycemia low blood sugar

Understanding Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a condition where the glucose levels in the blood drop below normal levels. This is most commonly linked to the treatment of diabetes through medications. However, there are other causes such as specific medications, serious illnesses, reactions to certain foods, tumors that produce insulin in the pancreas, and some types of weight loss surgeries.

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

Symptoms vary from mild to severe, starting with hunger, sweating, trembling, and fatigue, and can escalate to confusion, seizures, or unconsciousness in extreme cases. The diagnosis is typically confirmed by identifying low blood sugar levels during these symptomatic periods.

The Body’s Normal Blood Sugar Regulation

Normally, the body keeps blood sugar levels within a range of 70 to 110 mg/dL. In individuals without diabetes, hypoglycemia is uncommon but can occur due to the adverse effects of diabetes medications aimed at controlling blood sugar levels.

How the Body Responds to Low Blood Sugar

The brain, which primarily uses sugar for energy, triggers several hormonal responses when blood sugar levels drop, including the release of hormones from the adrenal glands, pancreas, and pituitary gland. These hormones aim to increase blood sugar levels, but may not always be effective, leading to potential brain function impairment and serious health risks.

Causes of Hypoglycemia

Medications and Diabetes

The most common cause of hypoglycemia is medications taken by people with diabetes, particularly when the medication dose does not match food intake and physical activity levels. Other medications and certain conditions can also lead to hypoglycemia.

Other Health Conditions

Conditions such as alcohol consumption without eating, liver diseases, rare enzyme disorders, insulin-producing tumors, and hormonal deficiencies can cause hypoglycemia.

Symptoms and Progression

Initial symptoms resemble an anxiety attack, progressing to more severe symptoms like confusion, dizziness, and loss of consciousness as the condition worsens. These symptoms can develop slowly or suddenly and may be mistaken for other conditions.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis involves measuring blood glucose levels during symptomatic periods. Immediate treatment is to consume sugar. For those with recurrent or severe hypoglycemia, especially diabetics, it’s advisable to carry glucose tablets or emergency glucagon. Long-term management may include medication adjustments, dietary changes, or surgery for insulin-producing tumors.

Prevention and Management

For individuals prone to hypoglycemia, preventive measures include eating frequent smaller meals, limiting simple carbohydrates, and carrying medical identification for emergencies. These strategies help manage and prevent hypoglycemia episodes, ensuring quick and effective treatment when necessary.

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