Weekly Wellness: All about low blood sugar
COLUMBIA - Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) happens when the level of glucose in your blood drops below normal. The people who are most at risk for hypoglycemia are those with diabetes. Other rare conditions, including hormone deficiencies, liver and kidney disorders, and pancreatic tumors, can cause hypoglycemia. And otherwise healthy adults may experience low blood sugar if they've been fasting or if they work out without properly fueling.
Why is it important to know the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar? It can be scary. And since the early warning signs can be a bit non-specific, they could indicate high or low blood sugar or something completely different. So whether you interpret these signs as blood sugar related or something else, check in with a physician.
The vague, earlier signs are:
1. Feeling shaky or weak.
3. Feeling lightheaded or dizzy.
5. Feeling anxious.
There are also a few more serious low blood sugar signs that can happen when your blood sugar levels continue to decrease and your brain is less able to function properly. These symptoms are definitely signs of an emergency and can include:
8. Slurred speech. (According to the Mayo Clinic, slurred speech that occurs with hypoglycemia might make it seem like you're intoxicated.)
9. Blurred vision. (Having blurred vision and eye floaters are also symptoms of diabetes on their own.)
10. Confusion. (As your brain is deprived of glucose, thinking becomes more difficult.)
11. Seizures. (In the severe stages of hypoglycemia, seizures may occur.)
12. Passing out. (If you go long enough without treatment, it's possible to lose consciousness.)
If you do have diabetes, your doctor has probably already discussed methods of alleviating hypoglycemia, including drinking fruit juice, eating a sugary snack, or taking a glucose tablet.
For persons who are generally healthy, not diabetic but feel like you're experiencing these symptoms, it’s good to have a snack readily available that will provide some carbohydrates. Also, if you notice that you start to feel shaky between meals, you might review your overall diet. You may need to tweak your plan.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of low blood sugar regularly, talk to your doctor to make sure you don’t have an underlying medical problem.