One common misconception is that if you have low blood sugar, it automatically means diabetes. However, there are many reasons why someone can develop a drop in blood sugar levels.
Why Do Some People Have Low Blood Sugar?
Hypoglycemia refers to low blood sugar, and you might be surprised to learn that it’s not just associated with diabetes. According to Tandem Diabetes, “In fact, less than 50 percent of people with hypoglycemia have diabetes or another metabolic disorder like hyperthyroidism or pheochromocytoma, an adrenal gland tumor that causes high blood pressure.” You can also bring on hypoglycemia by skipping meals or consuming too many carbohydrates.
The most common hypoglycemia symptoms include dizziness, nausea, shakiness, confusion, and hunger. Many people will recognize these classic signs of low blood sugar. But if you think someone is experiencing low blood sugar and these classic symptoms aren’t present, don’t assume they aren’t.
What Causes Low Blood Sugar?
It can be caused by health conditions, medications, or lifestyle choices. Most cases of hypoglycemia are not from diabetes. If you have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia, your doctor may recommend tests to determine its cause. Hypoglycemia doesn’t harm your overall health, but it can be dangerous if left untreated. Signs and symptoms vary depending on how severe they are and how long they last.
Types of Hypoglycemia (Blood Sugar Levels Too Low):
1) Reactive hypoglycemia
The cause is a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, usually after eating. Reactive hypoglycemia can be triggered by overeating or by consuming foods that are high in simple sugars, such as fructose (in fruit), sucrose (table sugar), glucose (dextrose), lactose (milk sugar), and maltose (malt sugar).
2) Endogenous hypoglycemia
It can come from a defect in your body’s ability to produce or use insulin, which usually converts glucose into energy.
3) Secondary hypoglycemia
Its cause is another medical condition, such as a tumor or infection.
If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia, try to eat something sweet right away. If you don’t feel better, call your doctor and tell them about your symptoms. For example, you may have diabetes or another health condition that requires extra monitoring. It is also crucial for people with hypoglycemia not to smoke or drink alcohol, as these can worsen symptoms by stimulating insulin production in an already tired pancreas.
Testing Blood Sugar at Home
Even though many people with low blood sugar don’t have diabetes, testing your blood sugar levels at home can help detect symptoms of low blood sugar. You can test your blood sugar in several ways. However, it is most accurate when done through a finger prick. When you take a finger prick test, also called a blood glucose test or blood glucose monitoring, you can check your blood sugar and get immediate results.
While hypoglycemia is a severe issue for those with diabetes, there are also times when people experience low blood sugar levels without being diabetic. When that happens, it’s usually due to some other medical condition or medication they’re taking.