Low glucose levels in blood may occur not only in diabetic patients but also in normal healthy people. This also refers to hypoglycemia were the serum glucose levels falls below 70 mg/dl which is considered as the lower range limit for normal blood sugar levels. Normal healthy people may sometimes feel the signs of low glucose levels in blood; however, a medical condition may be diagnosed if it happens frequently and blood tests would show a low plasma glucose concentration but tend to be relieved after raising the level of blood plasma glucose.
The symptoms for low glucose levels in blood or hypoglycemia may vary depending on how fast the normal blood sugar decreases. A mild hypoglycemia may make patients feel hungry, jittery or nervous. They may want to vomit as their skin turns cold or may make them sweat as well as feel a racing heartbeat. A moderate hypoglycemia is observed in patients who may experience blurred vision, irritability, and confusion as well as motor coordination problems. A severe hypoglycemia may cause patients to faint or to have seizures though at times it can cause coma or even death. It is important for diabetic patients to be aware of the signs and dangers of low glucose levels in blood.
Diabetic patients need to know what causes their low glucose levels in blood and try to avoid it as much as possible. Sometimes it may be due to the overmedication of patients who are using insulin or anti-diabetic medications. Some drugs like beta blockers may also cause hypoglycemia. Patients need to take their medications on time and in the right dosage. They must consult with their doctors any changes in medication that may affect their health condition. Missed meals as well as excessive exercises may also be some causes of low blood glucose levels in blood.
Diabetics may need to abstain from alcoholic beverages because it is one of the causes of low glucose levels in blood too. Studies indicate that alcohol consumption no matter how much volume is taken in may cause the body to produce more insulin that can bring down normal blood sugar levels. Diabetic patients may be affected even with a very small amount of alcohol intake. Even healthy people who sometimes combine alcohol drinking while playing some sports like tennis or hockey are putting themselves at risk of experiencing hypoglycemia as both factors bring down glucose levels at the same time.
Some diabetic patients may also be affected by reactive hypoglycemia when the release of insulin is prolonged especially after a high carbohydrate meal. Thus insulin stays in the blood longer than usual and may cause low glucose levels. Patients need to check on their carbohydrate intake to avoid flooding the bloodstream with glucose that may signal the pancreas to produce too much insulin. Patients who are taking insulin must also see to it that they take the right amount in their insulin shots or oral medications. They must also regulate their meals together with their medications.
Other causes of low glucose levels in blood include chronic and severe illnesses such as cancer which usually is related to loss of appetite. Cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy may not want to eat because food may taste differently. They may be given special diets to help them eat for nourishment and to avoid low blood sugar levels. Sometimes medications will help them to improve their appetite as well. Other critical diseases may also be causes of low glucose levels in blood such as severe hepatitis, kidney problems and eating disorders such as anorexia.
Tumors especially in the pancreas may also be one of the causes of low glucose levels in blood. Insulinoma which is considered as a rare tumor in the pancreas may cause the over secretion of the hormone insulin. Sometime the tumors feed on the blood glucose supply of the body and this causes the normal blood sugar levels to drop. Tumors like hepatomas, fibrosarcomas and mesotheliomas may likewise cause hypoglycemia because they may produce some insulin-like factors. When the beta cells of the pancreas become enlarged or inflamed, it may also cause the over secretion of insulin causing hypoglycemia to take place.
Impaired adrenal functions that result to insufficient release of cortisol and epinephrine may bring about hypoglycemia and low blood pressure as well. Poor kidney functions prevent the body from getting rid of insulin at the right time causing low glucose levels in blood. Kidney problems also contribute to loss of appetite that may result to hypoglycemia. Other health problems like liver failure may result to the body’s inability to make glycogen or stored energy. It also prevents the release of glucose when the body needs it. When the energy sources of the body are depleted because of the impaired organ functions, patients will experience to low glucose levels in blood.
Severe hypoglycemia can be a life-threatening medical condition especially for people who are affected by diabetes. Medical intervention may be needed to save the patient from getting into a coma or possible death. Diabetic patients may ask how they should be given treatment by any member of the family, friends or even people at work especially when they pass out. They should know or train somebody to administer glucagon immediately through injection to bring the blood glucose level up to normal levels. This would help them regain consciousness and prevent further damage to their health.
Diabetic patients need to be aware of the causes of low glucose levels in blood. They should also be able to detect as they feel the early signs of hypoglycemia. The best thing that they can do is to be prepared for it just in case. Regular monitoring of their normal blood sugar levels may help them prevent severe hypoglycemia. They may have a prepared quick-sugar fix handy all the time. Patients should also wear identification tags or diabetic bracelets especially when they go out on their own. This would help other people to respond properly should they suddenly pass out. Notifying family, friends and coworkers about their glucagon treatment in emergency cases would help them a lot too.
Read about the A1C levels test and see an A1C Levels Chart.