Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Hypoglycemia

frequently asked questions about hypoglycemia

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  • Hypoglycemia is commonly caused by underlying conditions that affect glucose levels in the body
  • Hypoglycemia itself is not genetic, but it may be caused by a genetic disorder: congenital hyperinsulinism
  • Hypoglycemic episodes may be treated with glucose tablets, sweets or fruit juices

Q: Is hypoglycemia dangerous?

A: In most cases, hypoglycemia is a harmless condition that only causes minor debilitations. However, severe hypoglycemia can cause fainting spells, blackouts and seizures, which may lead to numerous dangerous repercussions. It may also cause young diabetes patients to suffer from a condition called "dead-in-bed" syndrome, where they die in their sleep due to complications of severely low blood sugar.1

Q: How do you treat hypoglycemia?

A: Hypoglycemic episodes may be treated with glucose tablets, sweets or fruit juices. In severe cases, a glucagon injection may be required to raise your blood sugar faster.2 For long-term treatment, diet therapy may be recommended to properly facilitate food intake and regulate blood sugar levels.3

Q: Can hypoglycemia be cured?

A: Hypoglycemia is commonly caused by underlying conditions that affect glucose levels in the body. This means that the occurrence and cure of hypoglycemia in different situations largely vary. However, there are certain techniques and ways to prevent hypoglycemic episodes from happening. By properly regulating your blood sugar, there is a high chance that you can permanently remove your risk of hypoglycemia.

Q: What is reactive hypoglycemia?

A: Reactive hypoglycemia, or postprandial hypoglycemia, refers to the dropping of blood sugar within four hours after a meal. The exact reason why this happens is unclear, but it is said to be the pancreas’ overproduction of insulin after a carbohydrate-rich meal. The raised levels of insulin do not normalize even after the meal has been digested, which can then trigger low blood sugar levels.4

Q: What do you do if you have hypoglycemia?

A: During hypoglycemic episodes, you can relieve the symptoms by drinking fruit juice or taking glucose tablets to rapidly increase your glucose levels. However, if you want to completely eliminate hypoglycemia from your life, you can control your blood glucose levels through a variety of ways, one of which is optimizing your diet to properly incorporate glucose into your system, which will ward off dangerous dips at certain times of day.

Q: What can I eat if I have hypoglycemia?

A: Just because you have hypoglycemia doesn't mean you can eat as much candy as you want. The best way to battle hypoglycemia is by eating protein-, fiber-rich and low-glycemic index foods. This will help normalize your sugar levels without the risk of overdoing it.5

Q: Is hypoglycemia the same as diabetes?

A: While they are closely linked together, hypoglycemia is a different condition. Hypoglycemia is sometimes a symptom of diabetes, where the body is unable to correctly regulate its insulin and glucose levels. In some cases, diabetes medications trigger hypoglycemia, which makes it a side effect of treatment.

Q: Can metformin cause hypoglycemia?

A: Metformin is used to help control blood sugar in diabetes patients. However, if used together with other diabetes medications, it may cause an excessive drop in your blood sugar.6

Q: Is hypoglycemia genetic?

A: Hypoglycemia itself is not genetic, but it can be triggered by a genetic disorder: congenital hyperinsulinism. This condition is caused by the abnormality in the pancreas’ beta cells, which are responsible for insulin production.  It is usually observed in infants and young children, with lethargy, irritability and difficulty feeding being the primary symptoms.7

Q: How can you test for hypoglycemia?

A: Doctors and health practitioners follow the Whipple's Triad in diagnosing hypoglycemia. You may be asked to fast to make the symptoms more apparent. The doctor will then get a blood sample to measure your glucose levels. After the tests, your physician will be able to determine whether normalizing the blood sugar causes the disappearance of the symptoms.8

Patients may be asked to undergo a glucose tolerance test when diabetes is suspected. When the blood sugar drops occur after meals, a mixed-meal tolerance test may be done in case the patient has reactive hypoglycemia.


Hypoglycemia: Introduction

What Is Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia Symptoms

Hypoglycemia Causes

Hypoglycemia Types

Hypoglycemia Treatment

Hypoglycemia Prevention

Hypoglycemia Diet

Hypoglycemia FAQ

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