Hypoglycemia

hypoglycemia diagnosis

Last Updated April 10th, 2018

Defining hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is the condition where the body’s sugar level falls below the normal range. Though it is commonly associated with diabetes, it can also occur in non-diabetic people too. Sugar is the primary source of energy for our cells. When the sugar level reduces below the normal values, the body can start exhibiting a number of symptoms such as loss of consciousness, pangs of hunger, sweating etc. The onset of these symptoms is often sudden.

 

Causes and risk factors

hypoglycemia causesThe hormone insulin is responsible for breaking down sugar in our body which gets converted to energy in the cells.

Higher levels of insulin cause faster metabolism of sugar which causes the glucose levels to dip.

This usually happens with diabetes medications.

These medicines increase the production of insulin to control the elevated glucose levels associated with diabetes.

 

This is why diabetic people have more hypoglycemic tendencies as compared to non-diabetic people.Other reasons that could trigger hypoglycemic symptoms are:

  • Diabetic patients who haven’t eaten in a long while can witness their blood sugar levels dropping.
  • Exercising more than the required amount can also cause the glucose levels to drop as the body uses more energy for these activities.
  • Diabetic patients who consume alcohol can also go in the hypoglycemic phase.
  • In non-diabetic people, several medical conditions can lead to hypoglycemia. These could range from kidney or liver failures to metabolic disorders such as hypothyroidism.
  • Starvation is the leading cause of hypoglycemia. Eating disorders such as anorexia could also make a person hypoglycemic.
  • In hospitalized patients whose diet has been restricted for treatment, purposes can suffer from hypoglycemia.
  • Individuals who are in pre-diabetic condition will also find themselves frequently going in the hypoglycemic phase.

 

Conditions symptomatic of hypoglycemia

hypoglycemia treatmentWhen the brain senses a drop in the blood sugar level, it sends a range of signals to the body which aims to restore normalize the condition.

This includes changes in the hormonal and metabolic functioning of the body.

The production of insulin needs to be regulated at this point to bring the blood sugar levels to normal values.

This triggers a chain of bodily reactions which are seen as the symptoms of hypoglycemia.

Every organ in the human body is solely dependent on glucose for its energy needs, including the brain. Hence, hypoglycemia can adversely affect the functioning of the brain too, in addition to the normal working of other organs.

  • The main symptoms of hypoglycemia are dizziness, an onset of fatigue, and sweating.
  • Extreme pangs of hunger.
  • Anxiety and increased palpitations.
  • Confusion and irritability.
  • Trembling and shaking of the body.
  • In extreme cases, seizures, unconsciousness and even coma.

Driving and/or operating heavy machinery is strictly prohibited when these symptoms arise.

 

Diagnosis of hypoglycemia

Since hypoglycemia is often a result of underlying diabetic or a pre-diabetic condition, the correct diagnosis procedure includes the doctor asking a detailed medical history about the following factors:

  • The frequency of symptoms.
  • The current list of medications.
  • If diabetic, then recent blood sugar reports.
  • Lifestyle choices – alcohol intake, exercises, diet, sleeping patterns.

The diagnostic method employed here mainly involves checking fasting sugar levels at different times of the day to observe the sugar spikes. The normal glucose levels of human should lie between the ranges of 70-110 mg/dL. A value lesser than 70mg/dL (around 50-70 mg/dL) implies that the person suffers from hypoglycemia.  For those who exhibit hypoglycemia just after eating, mixed-meal tolerance test is used to determine the blood sugar levels.

After these sugar levels have been observed, the doctor will ask the person to increase the sugar level in a controlled manner and observe the frequency of symptoms. If the symptoms go away once the sugar-levels were restored, it means that the person was hypoglycemic.

 

Treating hypoglycemia

The treatment measures adopted for hypoglycemia are often long-term in nature. The immediate treatment method involves restoring the glucose levels to the normal range by consuming 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate. The person can eat/drink any one of these to achieve this result:

  • 3-4 glucose tablets or one tube of glucose in gel form.
  • Hard candies which are not sugar-free.
  • Fruit juice or skim milk (1 cup).
  • ½ cup sugar-containing aerated drink.
  • 1 tbsp honey

hypoglycemia preventionIf the symptoms of hypoglycemia still persist (after 15 minutes check blood sugar), then one more round of one of these foods should be consumed. In the extreme case that the person has lost consciousness due to hypoglycemia, he/she should be injected with glucagon.

Feeding glucose-containing food to an unconscious person will cause him/her to choke hence this technique should be avoided.

People who frequently face these symptoms and are being treated for insulin should ideally keep a glucagon kit with them.

Medication dosage is adjusted according to the blood sugar levels. Sometimes, a tumor in the pancreas may be responsible for glucose level fluctuations. In this case, a surgical removal of the tumor is required to treat the condition.

 

List of preventive measures

  • Follow the diabetes treatment plan strictly along with the prescribed diet and lifestyle changes.
  • Include proper exercise routines to manage blood-sugar levels.
  • Glucose levels should be monitored regularly through CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) devices.
  • Carry some amount of fast-acting carbohydrate food with you.
  • Avoid eating processed carbohydrates.
  • Don’t allow large gaps between meals. Keep eating small meals every 2-3 hours to regulate your glucose levels.
  • Regulate alcohol intake. Do not consume alcohol on empty stomach.
  • Have an identification badge which tells that you are diabetic. This will help people to provide you the immediate medical help needed in case of severe hypoglycemic incidents.

 

Facts

  • Hypoglycemia can have adverse side-effects on insulin-dependent diabetic patients leading to severe convulsions, amnesia, and even unconsciousness. This is called as insulin shock.
  • Insulin shock can also lead to chronic colitis, emotional outbursts, skin inflammation, neck pain and even insomnia.

Facts

  • This type of hypoglycemia attack usually occurs within 4 hours of eating.
  • Drugs such as quinine (for treating malaria) or aspirins may also trigger hypoglycaemic episodes.

Facts

  • New-born babies who have diabetic mothers have a high risk of developing hyperinsulinism (excessive insulin production), which can cause hypoglycemia attacks.
  • In some cases, pancreatic tumors may also be responsible for hyperglycemia.

Related Conditions

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Eat small meals within every 3 hours.
  • Always keep quick and easily digestible snacks handy, especially when traveling or at work.
  • Check blood-sugar level 15 minutes after taking such snack. Make sure that the level comes down to 70mg/dL.
Don'ts
  • Consume sugary diet, especially on an empty stomach.
  • Skip breakfast or overeat.
  • Eat processed or packaged foods which have added sugars or trans-fats.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

ASTtest-liver
AST- Aspartate Aminotransferase Test AST test is a blood test that is used to measure the level of a particular liver enzyme…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
Vitamin K2: 8 reasons why you need this bone-building & cancer-fighting nutrient Vitamin K2 is claimed to be essential for your bone health, for reducing the risk of cancer, and…
folate test
Folate test The Folate test is used to measure and monitor the levels of folic acid in the blood. The…
anti-thyroglobulin antibody
Anti-Thyroglobulin Antibody test Anti-thyrogloubin antibody test measures the level of antibodies that attack the thyroid gland cells and are hence indicative…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol and is used…
Lectin: The common link of proteins between peas and people Lectins are a type of protein that are found majorly in legumes. Most people are find it easy…
abdominal-CT-scan- image
Abdominal CT scan Abdominal CT scan is a diagnostic imaging technique that provides a clear picture of the state of internal…
diverticulitis diet
Diverticulitis diet: The right way to eat if you suffer from the disease Are you suffering from diverticultis but clueless about your diet ? Read this complete plan for diverticulitis diet…
Top 6 remedies to treat a razor burn at home Symptoms of razor burn include bumps on the skin, redness, and irritation of the skin. Find easy and…
TBHQ: A carcinogen lingering in your child’s favorite snacks TBHQ - Why you should shun the practice of eating instant noodles or microwave popcorn to get rid…
BRAT Diet: What is the right way to follow this diarrhea-relieving diet? BRAT diet, a simple diet consisting of just bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, can help you combat the…
rubella IgG test
Rubella IgG Test The rubella IgG test is a blood test that checks for the rubella virus IgG antibodies present in…
cytomegalovirus iGG
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)- IgG Test The cytomegalovirus IgG is the immunoglobulin protein produced by our immune system when the body is infected by…
Stye : The best natural home remedies to ease the pain Styes developing inside the eyelid tend to be more painful whereas external styes are less painful and ooze…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
hlab27 test
HLA-B27 test The HLA-B27 is a blood test that is used to determine the level of a particular protein called…
IGE test
IgE test – Immunoglobulin E IgE or immunoglobulin E test is a test that measures the level of IgE in the blood and…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
Chromium Picolinate: An essential mineral supplement for faster weight loss Did you know that about 1.6 million deaths were directly linked to diabetes globally? How is it linked…
Pulmonary Function Tests Pulmonary function tests (PFT’s) are non-invasive breathing tests employed for diagnosing and monitoring lung diseases such as bronchitis
The real reason why you shouldn’t be eating ramen noodles Instant ramen noodles might be your go-to snack for your hunger pangs. But with each spoonful you are…
How do neutrophils protect you from fatal bacterial attacks? During an infection, certain enzymes alert the mature neutrophils.  Neutrophils then travel through the bloodstream to the affected…
Poop chart: Top things you didn’t you your poop could reveal about you Bristol poop chart was designed during the 1990s in order to help doctors identify various types of poops…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try CLA supplements, derived…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century.
serum electrolyte test
Serum Electrolyte If there is an electrolyte imbalance in the body, a serum electrolyte test will help to find out…
Ferritin blood test
Ferritin Test Ferritin test is a blood test that provides vital information on the level of RBCs and iron in…
HELICOBACTER_PYLORI---IgG
Helicobacter Pylori – IgG Test Helicobacter pylori IgG test is a blood, saliva, and urine test performed to determine if the patien is…
serum zinc test
Serum Zinc Test The serum zinc test is a blood test performed to assess the zinc level in the blood (serum)…
Free T3 test
Free Triiodothyronine (FT3) Test The free triiodothyronine or FT3 test is an important blood test that is used to detect the level…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
Bloodtestalbumin
Albumin Test Albumin test or blood serum test is a liver function test that measures the amount of the protein…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
CBC blood test
CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test refers to the test that measures the number of RBCs, WBCs, etc…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
Silicon Dioxide: How can a component of sand be essential to your wellbeing? Silicon is one of the most abundant elements in the nature. Find out how silicon dioxide can prove…
TPAB test
Treponema Pallidum Antibody(TPAB) test Treponema pallidum bacteria a gram-negative bacteria that has helically coiled, corkscrew-shaped cells, responsible for STDs such as syphilis.
beta 2 glycoprotein 1 IgG
Beta 2 Glycoprotein 1 IgG Beta 2 glycoprotein 1 antibody test involves detecting and measuring the presence of the IgG class of beta…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
bilirubin-test-result
Bilirubin Test Bilirubin is a substance produced in the body as a result of red blood cell breakdown. A bilirubin…
RHEUMATOID_FACTOR_(RF)
Rheumatoid Factor (RF) Rheumatoid factor or RF is a blood test used to diagnose painful joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does it harm some…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
Eustachian Tube : Functions and top home remedies to prevent its infection Pressure equalization, mucus drainage and protecting the middle ear from bacteria and viruses are the three important functions…
POSTPRANDIAL-BLOOD-SUGAR
Post-Prandial Blood Sugar Postprandial blood sugar test is an important diabetes diagnosing tool. This simple blood test measure the level of…
Bronchoscopy procedure
Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a procedure where in a scope is inserted into the lung pathway to observe any growth…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
Helicobacter pylori IGA
Helicobacter Pylori – IgA Test The H.pylori IgA test is a blood test used to identify the level of IgA antigen in the…
lifestyle diseases
The Big 5 lifestyle diseases: How your everyday living might be killing you You'd be shocked to know how unhealthy and potentially fatal your everyday routine could be. Has the modern…
ashwagandha brain
Ashwagandha: The best-kept secret of Ayurveda now revealed! Ashwagandha literally means "smell of horse". Don't get bogged down by that one tiny detail because this ayurveduic…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
lipid-profile
Lipid Profile Lipid profile is a blood test that provides complete information on how much cholesterol is present in the…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
random blood sugar test
Random Blood Sugar Test The random blood sugar or RBS test is a blood test prescribed mainly to check the level of…
lipoprotein A
Lipoprotein (A) Test Lipoprotein (A) test is used to measure and monitor the levels of LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) in the bloodstream in…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket The dragon fruit is packed with nutrients and yet low on calories and is the dream food that…
bananas exercise
10 health reasons why you should go “bananas” over bananas! Bananas:The world's most popular fruit comes with a host of unbelievable health benefits. Find out how you can…
Top natural diuretics: The instant benefits you can get from nature’s water pills Since diuretic drugs are known to cause side effects, it is better to choose a natural diuretic that…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
Jackfruit: Slice your way into higher immunity, better digestion, & more… Native to the South East Asia, the jackfruit is a fruit brimming with thousands of health benefits. Discover…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
Internal bleeding brain
Beware: Ignoring these tell-tale signs of stroke could cost a life The signs and symptoms of a stroke differ depending on which part of the brain has been affected.…
CT-scan-machine
CT – Computed Tomography Scan CT scan or computed tomography scan is an diagnostic imaging technique where cross-sectional images of body are obtained…
EEG
Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
Cystoscopy Cystoscopy is intended to look at the abnormalities in the ureters, bladder, and urethra, to assist surgeries performed…
EMA antibodies
Endomysial Antibodies (EMA) Test EMA test is an investigative blood examination to locate the presence of certain antibodies, called Endomysial antibodies or…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test is a blood test that measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood…
anti-chlamydia antibody tets
Anti-Chlamydia Antibody -IgG Test Anti-Chlamydia Antibody - IgG test is performed by collection of urine or genital fluids as sample for testing…
free thyroxine ft4
Free thyroxine test (FT4) The FT4 or free thyroxine test is a blood test used to detect the level of free thyroixine…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
low carb diet meal
Low carb diet : Go high on fats and low on carbs for a leaner body! Did you know that sugar is the new fat? Going low on carbs and high on fats &…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to the Himalayas may…
dandelion weight loss
Caralluma Fimbriata: How to eat this cactus to lose weight Caralluma fimbriata is a miracle cactus that can be safely consumed by most for losing weight and boosting…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
Microneedling: Does this cosmetic procedure live up to the hype? Is microneedling a safe and painless procedure? How can pricking your skin with a series of pins help…
Is bronchitis contagious? And how to prevent this infection? It is acute bronchitis that is contagious which means you can contract it from another person or you…
beta hcg test
Beta hCG Test A Beta hCG test measures the level of human gonadotropin hormones present in the blood that is primarliy…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
erythropoetin test
Erythropoietin (EPO) Test Erythropoetin stimulates the production of RBCs in bone marrow thus an erythropoetin test is done to diagnose blood…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know that pumpkin seeds…
boost brain health
The ultimate tips on how to boost your brain health Would you like to be smarter? Want a sharp memory but bored of doing sudoku? Try salsa or…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Exercises or diet? Find out the healthiest way to gain weight Tired of being called skinny all the time? Looking for healthy ways to beef up? Why not try…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Trisodium Phosphate: How a paint thinner made its way into your breakfast Ever thought how toxic chemicals find their way into our foods? How can they harm our body? And…
Colloidal silver benefits
Colloidal silver: An essential dietary supplement or yet another pharmaceutical hoax? Colloidal silver is hailed as an effective home remedy for infections. Many believe it can treat HIV and…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
GERD heartburn
Heartburn: What are the exact symptoms and the best home remedies? There are easy home remedies for heartburn, which not only acts as a first aid when you experience…