Hypoglycemia also called low blood glucose or low blood sugar occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below normal. It occurs when blood glucose levels fall below 4 mmol/L (72mg/dL).
Severe hypoglycemia is when your blood glucose level becomes so low that you’re unable to treat yourself and need help from another person. It is dangerous and needs to be treated right away. This condition is more common in people with type 1 diabetes.
What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia?
Symptoms of hypoglycemia are different However, people often notice the following symptoms:
- Rapid heartbeat and pallor
If it is not treated, symptoms can worsen and lead to:
- Vague speech
- Changes in behavior, such as aggression, irritability, crying
What factors contribute to hypoglycemia in diabetes?
The following factors can make hypoglycemia more likely:
Not eating enough carbohydrates (carbs)
When you eat food that contains carbohydrates, your digestive system breaks down the sugars and starches into glucose. Glucose then enters your bloodstream and raises your blood glucose level. If you don’t eat enough carbohydrates to match your medication, your blood glucose could drop too low.
Skipping or delaying a meal
If you skip your meal, your blood glucose could drop too low.
Increasing physical activity can decrease your blood sugar level
Increasing your physical activity beyond your normal routine can lower your blood glucose level for up to 24 hours after the activity.
Drinking too much alcohol without enough food
Alcohol makes it harder for your body to keep your blood glucose level steady. Especially if you haven’t eaten in a while. The effects of alcohol can also keep you from feeling the symptoms which may lead to a severe hypoglycemia.
If you ignore the symptom too long, you may lose consciousness. That’s because your brain needs glucose to function properly.
Recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia early because untreated hypoglycemia can lead to a seizure, loss of consciousness or death.