What Causes Low Blood Sugar?


Quick Answer

Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, is caused by a sharp spike and then rapid fall of blood glucose after a high-carbohydrate meal or when blood glucose falls due to fasting for more than eight hours. Some diabetes medications also cause hypoglycemia, according to Mayo Clinic. Other causes include excessive alcohol consumption, severe liver and kidney disorders, insulin overproduction by a pancreas tumor and endocrine deficiencies.

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Full Answer

According to the American Diabetes Association, hypoglycemia occurs when a person's blood glucose levels fall below 70 milligrams per deciliter. People with diabetes are more susceptible to low blood sugar because their bodies are not as equipped to handle the effects of insulin due to the pancreas not producing sufficient amounts of it or because their bodies' cells are not as sensitive to it, according to Mayo Clinic.

The symptoms of low blood sugar include shakiness or nervousness, sweating and chills, moodiness, confusion, a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, hunger and nausea, which can lead to more severe symptoms, such as blurred vision, numbness in the lips or tongue, headaches and weakness. Home treatment at these stages includes eating at least 15 grams of simple carbohydrates, according to the American Diabetes Association. Emergency symptoms include seizures and unconsciousness.

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