Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What is Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is also known as insulin shock or diabetic shock. It is a combination of three words: Hypo that stands for less, Glyco that means glucose or sugar, and last word emia, a suffix, that stands for anything related with blood. So it is clear, hypoglycemia is less-sugar-blood.

Thus Hypoglycemia is a medical condition where amount of glucose is severely low in blood. It itself is not a disease, but a symptom of underlying disease. Generally this condition found in diabetes. It is a medical emergency where blood glucose level reduces more than 70 milligrams per decilitre (less than 70mg/dl).

Hypoglycemia Symptoms:

Symptoms of hypoglycemia can be divided in three types. Mild, moderate and severe

Mild to moderate hypoglycemia symptoms:

  • Irregular heart beat and palpitation
  • Muscle cramps
  • Shaking hands
  • Numbness of fingers
  • Sweating and excessive sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Tingling sensation

Severe hypoglycemia symptoms:

In this symptoms do look like toxicity. They are as follows:

  • Mental confusion, unable to speak, irregular and uncontrolled movement of hand.
  • Inability to walk (Walk to like drunk)
  • Blurred vision
  • Patient may become unconscious
  • Hypoglycemia shock – It is a medical emergency with severe hypoglycaemia; in this condition patient’s heart and kidney both lose their functions due to very less amount of glucose. Patient becomes restless with episode of unconscious. Hypoglycemia shock if not treated can progress toward coma and death.
  • Sleep hypoglycemia is also common in diabetic person. Cry during sleep, severe nightmare, and wet clothes are three important symptoms.

Hypoglycemia causes:

Most of time low blood sugar level is linked with diabetes; rarely could it be symptom of other diseases.

1. Mild hypoglycemia:

It is not a serious condition. It can occur to non-diabetic person due to:

  • Hunger strike, excessive fasting and severe exercise
  • Medication – Chloroquine used in treatment of malaria induce low level of sugar in blood.
  • Sweating due to hot environment or fever

2. Other degree hypoglycemia causes:

  • Less amount of carbohydrate – During metabolism all types of carbohydrate and starch breaks down into sugar or glucose. This glucose is absorbed by blood and travels through blood to every cell of body. Glucose is the key source of energy for the body. Diabetic person are advised not to eat too much of carbohydrate but even if diabetic person skips necessary carbohydrates, than blood glucose level falls down drastically.
  • Too much of medication – Diabetic medication, either directly reduce blood glucose or induce insulin, in both case excess amount of medication reduce blood glucose.
  • Skipping meal – Skipping meal can cause low sugar in blood. Sleep hypoglycemia also happens because of not taking dinner and eating too early in evening.
  • Exercise Too much of exercise that is beyond normal routine can causes low sugar level in blood for next whole day.

Hypoglycemia treatment:

Best way to treat mild to moderate hypoglycemia is to eat some glucose. Pure glucose like sugar is best option. If you are feeling symptoms of low blood sugar level then do not wait just take ½ table spoon of sugar. Fruits and soda drink also have glucose so they are also other option. If symptoms are still progressive you should consult with doctor as intravenous dextrose 5% 10% or 20% may be needed.


If there is more than 3 episode of low blood sugar level happens in 48 hours, than you should definitely consult with dietitian for hypoglycemic diet.

What is hypoglycemic diet:

Hypoglycemic diet is nothing but dividing entire meal into 8 smaller meals. In every meal you should have some amount of glucose and carbohydrate to maintain static blood sugar level for whole day. Add some fruits in diet. Fruits are best snack for prevention of hypoglycemia, because even sweetest fruits like banana and mangoes do not cause sudden rise in blood sugar but provide continuous small sugar for next 4-6 hour.


Above article is only for knowledge purpose. Please contact your healthcare provider before using any of above medicine or method. For any query or personal consultation according to your health condition Please Contact Us

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