Hypoglycemia is a low level of blood sugar. A person may
tremble, feel nervous or jittery, break out in a cold sweat, have a headache,
or feel sick to his or her stomach.
Blood sugar levels are measured in mg/dL. A fasting blood sugar
level of 70 to 99 mg/dL is normal, 50 to 70 mg/dL is mildly low, and less than
50 mg/dL is very low.
If blood sugar, also called glucose,
continues to fall, a person may experience mood changes, such as irritability,
anxiety, restlessness, anger, or confusion. And he or she may have symptoms
such as weakness, blurred vision, dizziness, fatigue, and poor coordination.
Hypoglycemia may also result from taking certain medicines or drinking alcohol. It can also be caused by certain health problems, such as not processing
carbohydrates properly or having an enzyme deficiency. Sometimes the cause is
Treatment for a sudden (acute) episode of hypoglycemia
involves eating or drinking some form of sugar to restore blood sugar to a
normal level. Episodes of hypoglycemia caused by a long-term (chronic) health
condition are treated the same way. But to prevent future episodes of
hypoglycemia, treatment or cure of the long-term condition is needed.
March 16, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Alan C. Dalkin, MD - Endocrinology
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