AK
Dr. Amit KalariaEmergency Medicine

What to do when your blood sugar is low?

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Hypoglycemia is the state of low blood sugar in the body. It is most common in diabetics who are taking medications such as insulin, but can sometimes occur in non-diabetics also.
Symptoms of low blood sugar includes weakness, confusion, altered mental state, sweating and seizures.
The body regulates glucose levels through two main hormones. Insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas, allows glucose to enter cells and provide the fuel your cells need.
If there is a lack of glucose from not eating for example, the hormone glucagon is released from the pancreas which causes the liver to release glucose from storage so your body can function. Together, these hormones regulate glucose.
In diabetics, low glucose occurs when there is too much medication taken relative to the amount of glucose available. For example, taking insulin or other diabetes medications but forgetting to eat a meal will lead to low glucose levels.
Giving some form of sugar such as juice or candy is the treatment. Glucose levels should be monitored frequently after an episode of hypoglycemia to prevent re-occurrence.
In non-diabetics, the cause of hypoglycemia include hormonal deficiencies, tumors of the pancreas, excessive alcohol intake or critical illness. Urgent medical evaluation should take place to identify and treat the cause of low glucose.