Hypoglycemia – Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
Hypoglycemia is a complication of diabetes treatment whereby blood sugar levels fall too low.
It’s a condition brought on by medical intervention. Hypoglycemia is the most common complication of diabetes treatment with insulin.
Causes of hypoglycemia/Frequent urination
Hypoglycemia occurs when blood glucose levels fall below 4 mmol/L (72mg/dL).
Symptoms of hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia can be dangerous and its onset can be quick. As a result, it is important to learn how to recognize its symptoms.1
Mild or moderate hypoglycemia can lead to symptoms including the following:1,2,4
Sweating, chills or clamminess
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Other symptoms include:
Trembling or shakiness
Paresthesias such as tingling or numbness in the lips or tongue
The neuroglycopenic symptoms can be the most severe and result from glucose deprivation of the brain. These symptoms include:1,3,4
A sensation of warmth
Weakness or fatigue
Severe cognitive failure
Seizure or convulsions
Treatments for hypoglycemia
An episode of hypoglycemia can be treated quickly and effectively with 15-20 grams of glucose.
A tablespoon of honey can be used as fast-acting for an episode of hypoglycemia.
If glucose is not available, other fast-acting, simple carbohydrate alternatives include a tablespoon of honey, sweets such as jelly beans and 250ml of a non-diet soft drink or fruit juice.
Around 15 minutes after administering the initial treatment, the patient should check their blood glucose level if possible.
If it is not over 4.4 mmol/L (80 mg/dL), another 15 grams of glucose should be taken.
In cases where there is unconsciousness or an inability to swallow, trained health care professionals can treat hypoglycemia by injecting either one milligram of glucagon (which causes the liver to release glucose) under the skin or into the muscles.
An emergency ambulance should be called for a case involving loss of consciousness or if treatment is not available. Further infusion may follow glucagon or dextrose injection.
What is Hypoglycemia Unawareness?
People who have had type 1 diabetes for a long time may develop hypoglycemia unawareness.1,2 The condition is more common in cases of type 1 diabetes – occurring in about 40% of cases – than it is in cases of type 2 diabetes.6
If episodes of hypoglycemia are frequently occurring, it is important to consult a doctor. Hypoglycemia may be related to the treatment regime rather than any mistakes over missed meals, excess insulin, alcohol consumption and physical activity.5