All You Should Know About Hypoglycemia

We have all heard that high glucose level in the blood is one of the health concerns throughout the world and in medical terms, it is known as diabetes mellitus. But having a low glucose level in the blood is also a problem of concern.

Hypoglycemia is a medical term used to describe the low glucose level in the blood. Glucose is basically a sugar that is used by our body in the form of energy. Whenever any fluctuations occur in the level of glucose in the body, the body starts to react to it. The severity of the reaction of the body can vary from mild to severe. Some of the signs that may occur when an individual experience low sugar level are as follows:

  • Headache
  • Problems with vision
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness

Hypoglycemia can occur in an individual suddenly. Generally, hypoglycemia is mild and can be treated quickly by changing diet. But if left untreated, it can worsen a condition and could lead to some serious complications. Normally, a blood sugar level should be within a range of 70 to 99 mg/dL.

Most often, hypoglycemia results in people who are suffering from diabetes and this can result from various factors such as diabetes medications, but hypoglycemia can occur in non-diabetic patients as well. Primarily there are two conditions that can affect people who are non-diabetic include:

1. Postprandial hypoglycemia – It is a type of disorder in which the glucose level in the blood becomes low within 5 hours after the meal. Postprandial hypoglycemia is subdivided into two:

  • Early postprandial hypoglycemia in which the hypoglycemia occurs two hours after the meal. It is believed to be secondary to abnormally rapid gastric emptying.
  • Late postprandial hypoglycemia in which the hypoglycemia occurs between three to five hours after the meal. It is believed to be a precursor in the onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

2. Reactive hypoglycemia – It is a type of disorder which indicates having a low glucose level in the blood after eating a meal. The symptoms occur a few hours after the meal and the symptoms of this type of hypoglycemia go away after drinking or eating.

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Possible causes of hypoglycemia

1. Excessive consumption of alcohol

Increased consumption of alcohol is one of the common causes of hypoglycemia. It is often known as alcoholic hypoglycemia and it occurs as a result of prolonged fasting and excessive intake of alcohol. Increase in the consumption of alcohol indicates enhanced ethanol in the body. Enhanced ethanol oxidation leads to an increase in the level of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide which inhibits the regulatory enzymes of gluconeogenesis. This blocks the release of glucose from the liver and results in hypoglycemia.

2. Exercise addiction

Exercise addiction indicates a condition in which an individual is involved in more than three hours of exercise, to an extent that it starts to affect health. Physical activity is always considered to be one of the best ways to maintain a glucose level as it can lower the glucose level in diabetic patients.  However, physical activity can make glucose levels too low and can cause hypoglycemia. Exercise is important for a healthy life but addiction can have a negative impact on an individual.

3. Severe illness

There are certain medical conditions that can result in hypoglycemia. Severe hepatitis is one of the diseases that is associated with a low glucose level in the blood. Hepatitis C which is a chronic liver disease, characterized by inflammation is linked with recurrent hypoglycemia. Hepatitis C causes glycogen depletion that induces hypoglycemia. In chronic liver diseases, glycogen stores are depleted due to extensive fibrosis.

Anorexia nervosa is another serious medical illness that is associated with hypoglycemia. Anorexia nervosa is considered to be a life-threatening eating disorder that is characterized by excessive starvation and weight loss. Excessive starvation is a well-known cause of hypoglycemia or drop in the glucose level.

4. Medication

Medication is one of the common causes of hypoglycemia in diabetic patients. There are many medications that are prescribed to diabetic patients that can cause hypoglycemia as its side effects.

Preventive measures for hypoglycemia

Some of the preventive measures to avoid hypoglycemia are as follows:

1. Meal – We all are aware that what we eat has a direct impact on our health. Therefore, ensuring the right meal plan is essential to maintain the right level of glucose in the blood. Know the right meal plan that fits best with your health.

2. Regular check-up – Regular blood glucose check-up is not only important for a patient suffering from diabetes, but it is important for all. Glucose check up after every interval is important to ensure that well being of health.

3. Medicines As stated above, medication is one of the causes of hypoglycemia, share your medical history with your doctor and know about all the medicines that can have a side effect on your body.

Tags:  Reactive hypoglycemia, Hypoglycemia causes, Hypoglycemia treatment

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.