Hypoglycemia or Low Blood Sugar: What Causes It?

by Nora Saul, M.S, R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E.

Nora Saul, M.S, R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E.

Nora Saul is Manager of Nutritional Education at the Joslin Diabetes Center

Low blood sugar occurs when there is too much insulin for the amount of glucose in the blood stream.

This can happen if someone takes insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents and doesn’t eat enough or exercises without either reducing his insulin or eating something.   This is because exercise can lower blood glucose sometimes up to 24 hours after the exercise has occurred.

Excessive alcohol can also cause hypoglycemia.  Alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to release glucose from the liver.

And, sometimes people make mistakes –they take the wrong dose of insulin or they think they are eating more carbohydrate than they really are.  Other causes can be certain medications and sometimes illness can lead to low blood sugars.

During an episode of hypoglycemia the body tries to raise the blood glucose levels by dispatching a series of hormones including epinephrine cortisol and glucagon to stimulate the liver to release glucose.

Epinephrine is responsible for the somatic symptoms of low blood sugar, such as the perspiration and shakiness.  The neurological symptoms of hypoglycemia are a consequence of the brain not having an adequate supply of glucose.

Next week:  Hypoglycemia or Low Blood Sugar:  How to Treat It.

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2 Responses to Hypoglycemia or Low Blood Sugar: What Causes It?

  1. S.MANISHA says:

    I am manisha of 16yrs old,suffering by type1 diabetes for the last 18months & i have been under the medical care of diabetologist . At present as per the advice of the doctor i am using actrapid insulin 3occ three times per day & at night lantus 30cc at bed time. Kindly suggest me how long I have to continue these medicines. Is there any medicine which can be used once in a month or in fortnight ?? Kindly help me in this aspect so as to save my future life……. Regards

  2. Pingback: 900 Blood Sugar! – Coaching YOU into Sugar Free Living!

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