Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

Low blood sugar (also called hypoglycemia) occurs when the medication some people with diabetes take cause their sugar levels to go too low. This can become dangerous.

Low blood sugar has been defined as having blood glucose levels lower than 3.9 mmol/L.


The common symptoms of low blood sugar are:

  1. Feeling weak or shaky
  2. Sweating
  3. Sudden nervousness, anxiety, or irritability
  4. Sweating or chills
  5. Extreme hunger
  6. Confusion
  7. Fast heart rate, or palpitations

The common causes of low blood sugar are:

  1. Too high a dose of medication (insulin or hypoglycemia causing tablets)
  2. Delayed meals
  3. Excessive exercise
  4. Consumption of alcohol

Dangers of low blood sugar are:

  1. Seizures
  2. Loss of consciousness
  3. Death

Immediate treatment for low blood sugar:

  1. Consume 15-20 grams of glucose or simple carbohydrates (e.g. 3 teaspoons of sugar or honey)
  2. Recheck your blood sugar level after 15 minutes
  3. If low blood sugar continues, repeat from step 1.
  4. Once blood glucose returns to normal, eat a small snack if your next planned meal or snack is more than an hour away.

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