What Is Hypoglycemia?

blood sugar level

Story at-a-glance -

  • In hypoglycemia, patients get abnormally low levels of glucose in their blood due to increased insulin production or decreased glucose supply, with levels dropping below 70 milligrams per deciliter
  • While it is commonly seen in diabetes patients, people without diabetes may also suffer from this condition. It can be triggered by various factors, including skipping meals and taking certain medications

Glucose is the primary source of energy for the body and the brain, and is solely dependent on the food that you consume.1 The amount of glucose in the body is regulated by insulin, a hormone that keeps it at a normal range. But when the amount of glucose is not properly controlled, whether the levels get too high or too low, problems arise.

In hypoglycemia, patients get abnormally low levels of glucose in their blood due to increased insulin production or decreased glucose supply, with levels dropping below 70 milligrams per deciliter.2 This may lead to temporary impairment or, in severe cases, even death.

While it is commonly seen in diabetes patients, people without diabetes may also suffer from this condition. It can be triggered by various factors, including skipping meals and taking certain medications. Nondiabetic hypoglycemia may be a common condition, as not everyone can control their sugar levels at all times. However, there are a few precautions you can take to lower your risk of being hypoglycemic.3

Pregnancy and Hypoglycemia: Is It Dangerous?

The hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy can expose you to a variety of problems as your body learns to adjust to the pregnancy. One of these problems is hypoglycemia. While hypoglycemia may seem like a harmless condition, severe cases may lead to seizures, blackouts or even death.4

But is hypoglycemia normal during pregnancy? The truth is that severe hypoglycemia is very common among diabetic mothers, which makes simple tasks more hazardous for them, such as driving or simply walking. Hypoglycemia rarely affects mothers who do not have diabetes, but it may still happen.5

In cases of severe hypoglycemia, pregnant mothers may lose consciousness, thus losing control of all motor functions.6 It’s important that you’re aware of its signs to avoid making the condition worse through inaction. Some of the most common signs of hypoglycemia in pregnant women include headaches, dizziness, drowsiness and cold sweats.7

Can a Child Get Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia may happen to anyone at any time, including infants and children. Neonatal hypoglycemia refers to the critically low blood glucose levels in newborn babies during their first 24 hours of life. This risk is higher if the mother is diabetic or has gestational diabetes. Because of the disturbance caused by low blood sugar, long-term hypoglycemia may cause neurologic and development problems in infants and young children.8

Hypoglycemia after birth is often caused by the mother’s poor blood sugar regulation. When the child is still inside the womb, the mother supplies the child’s body with high amounts of glucose, forcing the infant’s body to produce high amounts of insulin. This supply is then cut off after birth, but the child’s body cannot automatically adjust to the normal amount of insulin it needs. Hypoglycemia symptoms may continue a few days or weeks after birth.9

After infancy, the most common type of this condition is idiopathic ketotic hypoglycemia. The exact cause is still unknown, but children often outgrow the condition when they reach their 8th or 9th year.10 This blood sugar abnormality in these patients is not linked to any metabolic or endocrine problems. The simplest explanation is that these children are just unable to tolerate extended fasting.11

MORE ABOUT HYPOGLYCEMIA

Hypoglycemia: Introduction

What Is Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia Symptoms

Hypoglycemia Causes

Hypoglycemia Types

Hypoglycemia Treatment

Hypoglycemia Prevention

Hypoglycemia Diet

Hypoglycemia FAQ

< Previous

Hypoglycemia: Introduction

Next >

Hypoglycemia Symptoms

Click Here and be the first to comment on this article
Post your comment