Last Updated: February 24, 2019

Definition - What does Hypoglycemia mean?

Hypoglycemia is the term used to describe a blood glucose level that is lower than normal. Glucose is a type of sugar. The human body uses glucose as a source of energy for the cells. Normally, the symptoms of low blood sugar will appear gradually as a person's blood glucose levels drop but this varies some depending on the individual's body chemistry and whether or not they are diabetic. A person who has a blood glucose level of 90 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) and shows symptoms of low blood sugar such as those listed below will be considered hypoglycaemic. However, if a person shows no symptoms of low blood sugar, levels of 80 mg/dl will trigger a hypoglycemia diagnosis even in the absence of symptoms.

Some of the early symptoms of hypoglycaemia are dizziness, shaking, weakness, sweating, confusion, and hunger. As a person's blood glucose level drops lower, the symptoms of hypoglycaemia worsen. An individual with extremely low BLG may be unable to drink or swallow and may lose consciousness.

Hypoglycaemia is also called low blood sugar.

WorkplaceTesting explains Hypoglycemia

While hypoglycaemia has several causes, the condition is often associated with diabetes. Individuals with diabetes have difficulty regulating their blood sugar levels. This situation can cause sufferers to experience extreme blood glucose level fluctuations, both high and low.

Diabetes suffers are often treated with doses of insulin that help the body to process sugars. However, if too much insulin is administered, it can cause the person's blood glucose to drop too low. As a result diabetics must carefully monitor their blood sugar levels and be aware of the symptoms of hypoglcaemia.

Other causes of hypoglycaemia include dietary imbalances such as missed meals or failure to eat enough carbohydrates. Drinking alcohol can increase the chances of experiencing hypoglycaemia. Excessive exercising without adequate energy intake may also trigger hypoglycaemia.

In cases of mild hypoglycaemia not caused by diabetes, an individual can usually recover by eating or drinking something with sugar. Fruit, sweetened soda or a small serving of candy can help the body recover. In severe cases, a person suffering from low blood glucose may need an injection of glucagon to restore their blood sugar levels.

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