Hypoglycemia means low blood glucose, or blood sugar. Your body needs glucose to have enough energy. After you eat, your blood absorbs glucose. If you eat more sugar than your body needs, your muscles, and liver store the extra. When your blood sugar begins to fall, a hormone tells your liver to release glucose.
In most people, this raises blood sugar. If it doesn't, you have hypoglycemia, and your blood sugar can be dangerously low. Signs include
- Difficulty speaking
- Feeling anxious or weak
In people with diabetes, hypoglycemia is often a side effect of diabetes medicines. Eating or drinking something with carbohydrates can help. If it happens often, your health care provider may need to change your treatment plan.
You can also have low blood sugar without having diabetes. Causes include certain medicines or diseases, hormone or enzyme deficiencies, and tumors. Laboratory tests can help find the cause. The kind of treatment depends on why you have low blood sugar.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Is Low Blood Glucose (Hypoglycemia) Dangerous? (Joslin Diabetes Center)
- What Can I Do to Prevent Serious Hypoglycemic Episodes When I Am Hypoglycemic Unaware? (Joslin Diabetes Center)
- Diabetic Hypoglycemia (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Is Hyperinsulinemia a Form of Diabetes? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Nondiabetic Hypoglycemia (Hormone Health Network) Also in Spanish
- Reactive Hypoglycemia (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Genetics Home Reference: congenital hyperinsulinism (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetics Home Reference: familial glucocorticoid deficiency (National Library of Medicine)
Statistics and Research
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Hypoglycemia (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- What Is Hypoglycemia? (Nemours Foundation)
- Diabetes - low blood sugar - self-care (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Drug-induced hypoglycemia (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Insulin C-peptide (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Low blood sugar (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Low blood sugar - newborns (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish