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Hypoglycemia is a condition with low blood glucose or blood sugar levels. It arises due to the abnormalities in the mechanisms that break down the glucose molecules. Hypoglycemia is not confined to the age, but most often older adults and infants are at an increased risk.
The foods consumed are the biggest source of glucose. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose when the energy is needed. The serum glucose level below 70 mg/dL is considered as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Usually, hypoglycemia is the most common side effect of diabetic medications.
Signs and symptoms
The following are the signs and symptoms associated with hypoglycemia:
The factors that may increase your risk of hypoglycemia are:
If mild or low blood sugar levels are left untreated, it may lead to the following complications:
Severe hypoglycemia may cause life-threatening conditions such a brain damage. During extreme conditions, the brain functioning is hampered when there is lack of glucose. When the body is unable to warn the symptoms of low blood sugar such as irregular heartbeats, the complications can be life-threatening. This may lead to coma and can ultimately cause death.
The doctor would review the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and recommends certain tests to diagnose the condition. The diagnostic tests may include:
Blood tests enable to diagnose the blood glucose levels of an individual. A sample of your blood is collected at different times of the day and tested for the blood glucose levels. The serum glucose level below 70 mg/dL is considered as hypoglycemia.
Glucose tolerance test involves a collection of the blood sample after 2 hours of having a sugary drink. This raises the insulin levels in the bloodstream, and these levels are decreased when the pancreases are unable to stimulate enough amount of insulin.
Hemoglobin A1c test is a 3-month average test, which helps to check if your blood sugar levels are controlled. The abnormal test results indicate that there is an altered production of insulin by the pancreas.
A mild hypoglycemia can be treated by eating or drinking fast-acting carbohydrate foods. This helps in regaining the blood sugar levels immediately. The other treatment procedures may include:
The following are the preventive measures to prevent hypoglycemia:
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