Hypoglycemia is the medical term for low blood sugar, and is considered the body’s reaction to insulin. It’s closely associated with diabetes though not every person who has hypoglycemia has diabetes.
A person is considered hypoglycemic when their blood glucose level falls to below 70 mg/dl.
A person who’s first diagnosed with this condition should have questions about hypoglycemia for their doctor. Here are a few of them:
What Causes Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia can have many causes. An insulin dependent diabetic might have taken too much insulin, which caused their blood sugar level to crash. Some people get hypoglycemia when they go for a long time without eating or they skip meals they’re used to eating at a certain time. Some people get hypoglycemia after they’ve exercised too much, or after they’ve drunk an alcoholic beverage.
What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia?
This is important to know so the person can treat themselves if they feel an episode of hypoglycemia developing. The symptoms of hypoglycemia are:
- Intense hunger
- Mood Swings
- Tingling around the mouth
How do I counteract the symptoms of hypoglycemia?
A person who feels the symptoms coming on can raise their blood sugar by eating some form of sugar, like hard candy or fruit juice. People who suffer from chronic hypoglycemia should always carry some form of sugar around with them.
Are there any tests to find out if I have hypoglycemia?
These can help definitively diagnose whether a person has hypoglycemia as opposed to some other condition. Among the tests are:
- An insulin test, which is usually taken with a glucose tolerance test.
- The C-peptide test. This test finds out how much insulin the person is producing.
How Dangerous is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is rarely fatal, and it is actually the effects of the symptoms that are worrisome. Obviously, a person who passes out from hypoglycemia while they’re driving or operating heavy machinery is in an extremely dangerous situation, as are the people around them. Also, repeated seizures can cause brain damage.
People who need to drive or operate heavy machinery should check their glucose levels. Failing that, they should pull over or stop what they’re doing if they feel symptoms coming on and treat themselves. They should check or have someone check their glucose levels fifteen minutes later and not perform any dangerous operations till their hypoglycemia is cleared.
A doctor should be able to answer their patient’s questions about hypoglycemia truthfully and in language a layman can understand. With vigilance and treatment, hypoglycemia is controllable.
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