Categories: Diabetes

Causes of Hypoglycemia and its Treatment

What is Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is the deficiency of glucose in the bloodstream or abnormally low blood sugar levels. The average indicator of Hypoglycemia is less than 70 mg/dl, but safer to consult a doctor to determine individually the blood glucose targets. Hypoglycemia can also be called an insulin reaction or insulin shock.

Signs and symptoms:

Headaches, weakness or fatigue, sweating, shakiness, chills and clamminess, Irritability or impatience, confusion, including delirium, rapid/fast heartbeat, lightheadedness or dizziness, hunger and nausea, sleepiness, blurred/impaired vision, tingling or numbness in the lips or tongue, emotional disturbances such as nervousness or anxiety, anger, stubbornness, even sadness. Symptoms can include seizures and unconsciousness.

Individual reaction to hypoglycemia differs, so it becomes important to be aware of one’s own warning signs and symptoms when the blood glucose level dips too low.

For this, checking blood glucose level is necessary. If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unable to check your blood glucose for any reason, treat hypoglycemia. Severe hypoglycemia has the potential to cause accidents, injuries, coma, even death.

Causes:

  • Taking medicines and intake of fewer carbohydrates. Or skip or delay a meal.
  • Too much insulin or diabetes pills.
  • Kidney problems, liver disorders, and infection.

Treatment:

  • Consume 15-20 grams of glucose or simple carbohydrates.
  • Hospitalize the patient if unconscious and not able to eat, in order to get intravenous glucose.
  • Recheck blood glucose after 15 minutes.
  • Repeat, if hypoglycemia persists.
  • Eat a small snack, once blood glucose returns to normal if your meal is more than an hour or two away.
  • Consult the doctor to adjust the dose of diabetic medication or insulin.

Important points to remember:

  • Carry something sugary to eat during an emergency.
  • Inform family, friends, colleagues of hypoglycemia signs and how to treat it, as the thinking ability clearly can be lost when the blood glucose level goes too low.
  • In time, the individual will be able to recognize one’s own hypoglycemia warning signs. But these signs may change over time, so be prepared to check blood glucose level when any usual symptoms are experienced.

Dr. Vikash Maskara, Consultant Internal Medicine, Narayana Multispecialty Hospital, Barasat.

Narayana Health

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