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Hypoglycemia is the medical term for low blood sugar levels. In medical terminology, hypoglycemia is considered when blood sugar level is below 70 mg/dL.

Every diabetic patient should know about the symptoms, management as well as complications of prolonged hypoglycemia. It is equally important to have a plan to manage hypoglycemia at home.

What is hypoglycemia?

Blood sugar levels below 70 mg/dL is considered hypoglycemia. Many a times patient feels the symptoms of hypoglycemia and takes necessary remedial measures. But many times, it happens that blood sugar level is so low that it impairs the patient’s physical and/or mental functioning and patient requires help for remedial measures.

What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia?

Symptoms may vary from patient to patient. Common symptoms include:

  • Palpitations
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Sweaty, cold clammy skin
  • Shakes
  • Increased hunger

Severe hypoglycemia can lead to patient being unconscious and patient may need hospitalization.

Why hypoglycemia should be avoided?

Hypoglycemia is not good for your heart. Persistent hypoglycemia can lead to cardiovascular health deterioration. Prolonged untreated hypoglycemia can lead to permanent brain cell death and hypoglycemic encephalopathy.

Is it possible to have no symptoms of hypoglycemia?

Yes. Some patients have hypoglycemic unawareness. Autonomic dysfunction patients may have hypoglycemia without any symptoms.

But that doesn’t mean you can live with it. Patients should avoid hypoglycemia at any cost.

What are the common causes of hypoglycemia?

Among many, most important causes are:

  • Taking diabetes drugs without food
  • Taking too much Insulin
  • Excess physical activity than planned
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Underlying Kidney disease

How to treat it?

Diabetic patients, especially those on Insulin, should keep sugar pouches with them and if they feel any hypoglycemic symptoms, they should take sugar pouches. Juice, glucose tablets or honey can also be taken. Patients should carry their glucometer with them while going out. Usually, blood sugar level improves after taking sugar and symptoms improve, but if symptoms persist then patient should report to hospital.

What is glucagon?

If you are at high risk of having hypoglycemia, then you may need glucagon injections. Glucagon is a hormone present in our body which raises blood sugar levels. It comes as an injection and nasal spray and is prescribed by doctors in cases of severe hypoglycemia. Family members should be trained in using glucagon.

What to do if I am having frequent low blood sugars?

Talk to your doctor if you are having frequent episodes of low blood sugars. You may need to undergo various tests and may need adjustments in your medications.

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