Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is often associated with a health condition of glucose metabolism problem such as diabetes, especially type-1 diabetes. But does it also occur in people without diabetes? What are the symptoms and causes of too low blood glucose in non diabetics? Well … In type-1, the production of insulin by pancreas drops significantly – even there may be no any insulin produced by pancreas.
Therefore, most patients with type-1 needs to take insulin replacement through injection or medicines to provide adequate insulin for blood glucose control. But if this insulin replacement is taken improperly or too much, glucose in the blood can drop drastically and reach too low! Though hypoglycemia is pretty common associated with diabetes, but it also can occur in non-diabetics (in rare cases).
Can low blood sugar occur after eating?
In many cases, low blood glucose occurs in a fasting state or when we don’t eat for many hours. But sometime it also can occur even after meal. For this case, the reason is usually the over production of insulin after meal. As a result, glucose in the blood drops drastically even after eating. Postprandial hypoglycemia (low blood sugar that occurs after meal) is more likely to occur in people who have a personal history of gastric bypass surgery.
Insulin is a crucial hormone to regulate the amount of sugar or glucose in your bloodstream. It helps cells of the body to absorb glucose from the bloodstream which then will be used for energy or stored as glycogen in the liver. Normally, the release of this kind of hormone is equivalent with the amount of sugar or glucose in the bloodstream.
Due to certain reason, the release of insulin into the bloodstream can be too much or too low. Too much insulin in the bloodstream can lead to hypoglycemia. And on the other hand, too low insulin can lead to hyperglycemia (too high glucose in the blood). See also the differences between hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, before continuing!
Low blood sugar symptoms without diabetes
The symptoms of hypoglycemia in non-diabetics vary, depending on how far glucose in the blood drops. These may include:
- You may have paleness.
- Shakiness and trembling.
- Having lack of energy, as a result you will feel fatigue, weakness, and have poor coordination.
- Increased hunger that may also be accompanied by nausea or even vomiting.
- Irritability, anxiety, agitation, or altered mental status may also occur.
- You may also have excessive sweating /perspiration. If hypoglycemia occurs during the night when you sleep, your pajamas can be damp and then you wake up from your sleep with dizziness.
- Problem in concentrating or difficulty concentrating.
- Confusion, decreased consciousness or even loss of consciousness. This may also be followed with blurred vision.
- Increased rhythm of your heart-beats which then may lead to a condition called tachycardia (very fast beats of heart) if left untreated.
- In severe case, hypoglycemia may lead to coma.
Causes and reasons of low blood sugar without diabetes
Again as mentioned before, low blood glucose typically occurs due to the excess insulin in the bloodstream. In diabetes, the improperly taking insulin replacement (too much insulin injected into the body) is usually the major cause. And in non-diabetics, it may occur due to one /some of the following reasons:
- Certain health conditions. These may include diseases that cause a decreased performance of liver, cancer or tumor (especial cancer /tumor that affect pancreas), a personal history of surgery of stomach area, a problem of pituitary gland, a problem of adrenal gland (such as Addison’s disease), and some critical diseases (such as long term starvation due to eating disorder, severe hepatitis, or problem of kidneys).
- Abusing alcohol or bad habits of drinking alcohol too much! Excessive alcohol consumption (especially with poor diet or without eating) can obstruct the mechanism of converting glycogen stored in the liver to become glucose.
- Reactive hypoglycemia, a condition to describe too much insulin produced and released in the bloodstream. Your risk of having reactive hypoglycemia is high if you have a bad habit of often eating a large meal at short time. Eating a large meal at once can trigger your pancreas to produce a lot of insulin at short time. This can put you at high risk of having an overproduction of insulin in long term.
Accidentally taking insulin or glucose-lowering medicines in people without diabetes also can put them at greater chance of developing hypoglycemia. Kids who play for long hours and tend to neglect their foods are also at greater chance to develop low blood sugar.