Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is often associated with glucose metabolism problems such as diabetes, especially type-1 diabetes (when the production of insulin by pancreas drops significantly – even there may be no any insulin produced by pancreas.). But does it also occur in people without diabetes? What are the symptoms and causes of the condition?
Interestingly, hypoglycemia is not only for diabetics. Although in general it is commonly found in diabetes, sometimes it may also affect non-diabetics.
In many cases, low blood glucose occurs when we don’t eat for many hours (such as when fasting). But sometimes it also can occur even after meal. For such case, the over production of insulin after meal is likely to blame.
If there are too many insulin in the circulation, glucose in the blood can drop (lower than normal) even after eating. Postprandial hypoglycemia is term used to call low blood sugar that occurs after meal. It 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 glucose in your bloodstream. Normally, the release of this hormone is equivalent with the amount of glucose in the circulation.
This hormone plays a key role in your glucose metabolism. It helps cells of the body to absorb glucose from the bloodstream for energy. Without adequate insulin, your blood sugar will spike easily.
In some people, (due to certain reason) the release of their insulin into the bloodstream can be higher or lower than normal. Both of these imbalances are bad.
While too much insulin in the bloodstream can lead to hypoglycemia, too low insulin can lead to hyperglycemia (when the amount of glucose in the blood is higher than normal).
You might also like to read differences between hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia!
The symptoms of hypoglycemia in non-diabetics vary, depending on how far glucose in the blood drops. But some of the common ones are as follows [reference]:
- Lack of glucose in the circulation may lead to paleness.
- Shakiness and trembling.
- Lack of energy.
- Fatigue (weakness or /and tiredness)
- Poor coordination.
- Increased hunger, which may be followed with nausea or even vomiting.
- Irritability, anxiety, agitation, or altered mental status may also occur.
- Excessive sweating /perspiration. If hypoglycemia occurs when you sleep at night, your pajamas can be damp and you may wake up with dizziness.
- Problem in concentrating (difficulty concentrating).
- Confusion, decreased consciousness or even loss of consciousness. Typically, it comes with lack of vision or blurred vision.
- Increased rhythm of your heart-beats. It’s quite possible for hypoglycemia to cause tachycardia (very fast heart-beats), especially if it lasts longer or left untreated.
- In severe case, hypoglycemia may lead to serious complication such as coma.
Again as mentioned before, low blood glucose typically occurs due to the excess insulin in the bloodstream. In diabetics, the improperly taking insulin replacement (too much insulin injected into the body) is often to blame.
How about in non-diabetics?