What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is also known as low blood sugar. It occurs when a person’s blood sugar level goes lower than normal, a case where a person’s blood glucose level (BGL) goes below 4mmol/L. It occurs mainly among people with diabetes.
What factors put one at risk of being hypoglycemic?
Both children and adults can be Hypoglycemic. People who stand the risk of being hypoglycemic include;
- Obese people
- People with prediabetes
- People whose family members have diabetes
- People that have had some kind of stomach surgery
- People that are pregnant
What Causes Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia can be reactive or nonreactive. Reactive hypoglycemia results from the overproduction of insulin and happens usually hours after a meal. It might mean you stand a chance of being diabetic. Non reactive hypoglycemia has nothing to do with a meal. Rather, it is caused by underlying diseases such as the following;
- Overdose of medication (insulin)
- Excessive intake of alcohol. This reduces the liver’s production of glucose.
- Poor nutrition or delayed meals.
- Exercising rigorously without adjustment of insulin.
- Disorder of the heart, liver or kidney.
- An eating disorder such as anorexia.
What are the symptoms of Hypoglycemia?
- Feeling light headed
- Excessive sweating
- A higher heart rate than normal
- Looking pale
- Blurred vision
- In extreme condition, it leads to coma
How can Hypoglycemia be diagnosed?
It can be diagnosed in many ways.
If you’re using insulin or other medication to reduce your blood sugar level, you would want to measure you blood sugar using a blood glucose metre.
If you are not on any medication to reduce blood sugar and you have symptoms, there are other ways of diagnosing Hypoglycemia.
1. You might be required to do an overnight or extended fast. This is required to make blood sugar symptoms to occur so diagnosis can be made. This is done if there is no symptom as at the time of visit to the hospital.
2. If symptoms occur after a meal, the doctor would have to check your blood sugar level after meal.
3. When symptoms of low blood sugar are there, the doctor would draw blood and analyse in the laboratory
Can Hypoglycemia be treated? How?
Yes, Hypoglycemia can be treated. It can be self tested by simply increasing your sugar intake. Medications can also be used to increase blood sugar but treatment of the underlying cause of Hypoglycemia in a patient is most important. This will prevent the condition from recurring.
P/S: Unconscious people shouldn’t be given food or water or else it can aspirate into the lungs.
In conclusion, hypoglycemia can be prevented by having a nutritionally balanced meal, meals with less sugar and more protein. Eating small meals to keep your blood sugar relatively stable.
Remember, always carry a snack!