Skip to main content
Yoga support for Diabetes

What is Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar?

Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar level drops too low to provide enough energy for your body’s activities. This is also called as low blood sugar.

The normal range is about 65 to 99 mg/dL. In most cases, patients with levels below 70 mg/dL are treated for low blood sugar.

Different stages of Hypoglycemia and their symptoms

  • Mild – Blood Glucose
  • Moderate – Blood Glucose
  • Severe – Blood Glucose

Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

Early warning signs and symptoms

Initial signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • Shakiness
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Hunger
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Confusion
  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Headache

Night time signs and symptoms

If diabetic hypoglycemia occurs when you are sleeping, signs and symptoms that may awaken you include:

  • Damp sheets or night clothes due to perspiration
  • Nightmares
  • Tiredness, irritability or confusion upon waking

Severe signs and symptoms

If diabetic hypoglycemia isn't treated, signs and symptoms of severe hypoglycemia can occur. These include:

  • Clumsiness or jerky movements
  • Inability to eat or drink
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death, rarely

Complications

If you ignore the symptoms of hypoglycemia for too long, you may lose consciousness. That's because your brain needs glucose to function. Recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia early, if untreated, hypoglycemia can lead to:

  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

Take your early symptoms seriously. Diabetic hypoglycemia can create serious health complications if not treated immediately.

When to see a doctor

Severe hypoglycemia can lead to serious problems, including seizures or unconsciousness, that require emergency care. 

Causes of hypoglycaemia in diabetes

  • Insulin & other anti-diabetic medication
  • Fasting
  • Physical activity
  • People who don't feel low blood sugar symptoms (hypoglycemia unawareness)
  • Excessive alcohol drinking
  • Young children and older adults
  • Those with impaired liver or kidney function
  • Those taking multiple medications

How to manage Hypoglycemia ?

Step -1: If you think your blood sugar is too low, use a blood glucose meter to check your level.

Step -2: If it is 70mg/dL or below, take 15 grams of carbohydrate ( Glucose Tablets, Sugar candy, Biscuits, Sugar, Fruit Juice etc.). Wait 15 minutes, and check your blood sugar again.

Step -3: You can remember this as the 15:15 rule. Repeat the treatment until your blood sugar is within normal range.

If you do not have your meter

Treat with a fast-acting sugar that will help raise your blood sugar quickly, such as:

  • 3 to 4 glucose tablets
  • About 100ml of any fruit juice or regular soda
  • Hard candy
  • Prevention

    To help prevent diabetic hypoglycemia:

    • Monitor your blood sugar regularly
    • Don't skip or delay meals or snacks when you are on medication
    • Take your medication as recommended by your doctor.
    • Adjust your medication or eat additional snacks if you increase your physical activity.
    • Avoid drinking alcohol, however if you wish to drink eat a snack
    • Use a diabetes identification band, wallet card etc. for easy identification during emergencies
    • Don’t undermine the symptoms of hypoglycemia