What Are the Different Types of Hypoglycemia?

hypoglycemia types

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  • Hypoglycemia can be divided into two types: diabetic and nondiabetic hypoglycemia. Both of these are triggered by different factors
  • Know the types of hypoglycemia and the differences that set them apart from each other

Hypoglycemia can be divided into two types: diabetic and nondiabetic hypoglycemia. Both of these are triggered by different factors, such as hormone imbalances or drastic diet changes. Differentiating between these two types is crucial to get appropriate treatment.

What Is Diabetic Hypoglycemia?

The majority of people who suffer from hypoglycemia belong to the diabetic population. This is probably due to their body’s inability to properly control the amount of glucose and insulin circulating in their body. However, even if diabetes comes with these regulatory problems, most of the cases of hypoglycemia are caused by improper use or accidental miscalculations in medication dosages.

If you’re on insulin, sulphonylureas or glucose regulators, it’s absolutely necessary that you monitor your blood sugar to ensure your glucose stays at optimal levels. This will also help you determine whether the dosages you’re taking are effective or if they need to be adjusted.

Take note that poorly regulated insulin in diabetes patients may lead to severe complications, one of which is dead-in-bed syndrome. Dead-in-bed syndrome refers to the sudden death of young Type 1 diabetes patients. Insulin-dependent individuals are especially vulnerable to dead-in-bed syndrome. This usually happens when nighttime hypoglycemia occurs and causes damage in the heart’s nerves. To avoid this, it’s advised that you keep your blood sugar within 6.5 to 8.0 mmol/l before you go to sleep.1

What Is Reactive and Fasting Hypoglycemia?

Nondiabetic hypoglycemia may be triggered by different external and internal factors. Reactive hypoglycemia and fasting hypoglycemia are two subtypes of nondiabetic hypoglycemia, with both stemming from different reasons. To make the distinction clearer, here is a differentiation between the two types:

Reactive hypoglycemia refers to hypoglycemia that happens after a meal. This type is harder to diagnose because the blood sugar levels may be normal during fasting but may suddenly drop a few hours after eating.

The mechanism as to why this happens is not quite clear, but it may be triggered by stomach dumping, gastritis, hypothyroidism or enzyme deficiencies.2 It is commonly observed in people who have had stomach surgery or who suffer from congenital enzyme intolerances.3

Fasting hypoglycemia usually occurs after a period of fasting, commonly in the morning after a full night’s sleep, after exercising or during the period between meals. The most common cause of fasting hypoglycemia is medication use, but it may also be caused by binge drinking, hormonal deficiencies or critical illness.4

These two subtypes of hypoglycemia may be diagnosed using a series of tests that may be done by a physician. For fasting hypoglycemia, a glucose tolerance test is the most common type of test conducted, especially if diabetes is a possible cause. Patients with reactive hypoglycemia undergo the mixed-meal tolerance test, where they are given a drink filled with protein, fats and sugar and tested a number of times to monitor the rise and fall of their blood sugar.5

MORE ABOUT HYPOGLYCEMIA

Hypoglycemia: Introduction

What Is Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia Symptoms

Hypoglycemia Causes

Hypoglycemia Types

Hypoglycemia Treatment

Hypoglycemia Prevention

Hypoglycemia Diet

Hypoglycemia FAQ

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