Hypoglycemia is a condition where blood glucose levels fall dangerously low and it affects mostly people suffering with diabetes. When blood sugar levels fall too drastically due to efficient uptake of insulin, fasting, alcohol consumption, or other factors, the diabetic will need to immediately raise their blood sugar to avoid painful consequence including coma, unconsciousness, or seizure.
“Low blood sugar” is one of those terms we’ve all heard thrown around a bunch but probably don’t know much about. It’s understandable that you’d feel a little cranky when a last-minute work meeting or general busyness forces you to push back a meal. But how do you know if you’re annoyed due to low blood sugar or if your irritability is due to regular old hunger?
Here are 10 Warning Signs You May Have Low Blood Sugar:
Ravenous hunger: If you’ve already eaten but still aren’t satisfied, or if you suddenly, inexplicably feel as if you’re starving, your body is signaling that it needs more glucose preferably 15 grams from a carbohydrate-rich food source.
Feelings of anxiety: When glucose levels fall too low, your body tells the adrenal glands to release the hormone ephinephrine (also called adrenaline), which signals the liver to make more sugar. The excess ephinephrine creates an “adrenaline rush,” which can make you feel anxious.
Restless nights: Nocturnal hypoglycemia, which is very common, can cause a number of sleep disturbances. Symptoms include night sweats, nightmares, episodes of waking suddenly and crying out, and feelings of unrest and confusion upon waking. A snack before bed can reduce the frequency and severity of sleep disturbances.
Shaking or trembling: The central nervous system starts to malfunction when glucose levels are off balance. As a result, it releases catecholamines: chemicals that encourage glucose production and also produce these symptoms.
Emotional instability: Mood swings and sudden emotional episodes not typical of your normal behavior are among the neurological symptoms of hypoglycemia, including irrational outbursts, random or hysterical crying, uncontrollable anger, and a strong desire to be left alone. Mild mood changes that may not be as severe, such as general irritability or becoming easily annoyed, can also be a signal that your blood sugar may be dropping.
Sweating: This symptom is controlled by the autonomic nervous system (the part of the central nervous system that governs the skin, among other things) and is usually one of the first signs of hypoglycemia. The excessive perspiration comes on without warning, regardless of how warm or cold the external temperature may be.
Dizziness and light-headedness: If you experience these common symptoms of hypoglycemia, heed them and treat the hypoglycemia quickly. Dropping blood sugar levels can also cause you to faint, so if you feel yourself start to swoon, sit or lie down immediately to avoid injuring yourself.
Wandering thoughts: Because the brain is especially sensitive to a drop in glucose, you may experience a sense of confusion and an inability to concentrate on one thing at a time.
Vision problems: If your vision suddenly becomes blurry or you see double, a drop in blood sugar may be to blame.
Slurred speech: Your sugar-starved brain may not allow you to detect a change in how you sound, but others will notice a difference. To someone else, you may sound as though you’ve had a few too many drinks even though you haven’t touched a drop.