Low Blood Sugar
What is it?
Hypoglycemia just means that you have low blood sugar. The body
needs sugar to give you energy. When there is not enough sugar in
your body, you may feel "not quite right."
Typical symptoms include sweating, nervousness, inability to
concentrate, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, blurred vision, weakness,
fatigue, headache, irritability, hunger, abdominal pain, sudden
drowsiness, confusion, and tingling or numbness of the mouth,
hands or body. Severe hypoglycemia can result in convulsions and
unconsciousness (coma). If you have a combination of these
symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about being tested for
hypoglycemia. Of course, other conditions could cause you to have
some of the same symptoms, so it is possible that you are not
suffering from low blood sugar.
Hypoglycemia is itself a symptom, not a disease. Doctors will often
diagnose hypoglycemia without determining the source of the
problem. Hypoglycemia most often occurs in people who are
taking insulin or oral hypoglycemic drugs. In some rare cases,
hypoglycemia can result from liver or kidney disease, drug
reactions, too much alcohol, or malnutrition. Hormonal imbalances
may also cause hypoglycemia. No matter what the cause, it is
important that the diagnosis of hypoglycemia not be an end in and
of itself. Rather, the root cause must be determined so you can
receive proper treatment.
The long-term treatment for hypoglycemia will depend on the
underlying cause. However, there are some immediate treatments
that one should use to avoid the worsening of the symptoms. It
would seem that if your body was just missing sugar, then if you ate
something sweet, your body would be happy. However, small,
frequent (like six times a day) meals of complex carbohydrates will
work much better than sugars. Sweets are a quick fix, if you feel
the previously mentioned symptoms coming on. If the symptoms
continue and you do not eat anything, fainting can result. What
goes up quickly also drops again quickly, so sugars should not be
relied on, except in an emergency. Small, frequent,
carbohydrate-rich meals are your best defense against low blood
sugar levels and its consequences. If symptoms are severe and do
not improve even after you have eaten something, go to the
nearest emergency room, preferably with an escort.