Causes and Symptoms

Hypoglycemia happens when the blood sugar level is abnormally low (usually less than 70 mg/dl). This is just an indication, because it is important to talk with your doctor about your personal blood glucose targets.

It is necessary to learn your own signs and symptoms of low blood glucose, because each person’s reaction is different. Hypoglycemic symptoms are important because they alert you of the low blood sugar level.

In addition to knowing the symptoms you can be sure about having hypoglycemia only by checking your blood glucose. If you don’t have the possibility to check your blood glucose but you are experiencing hypoglycemic symptoms it is advisable that you treat hypoglycemia. If untreated, severe hypoglycemia can cause accidents, injuries, coma, and even death.


  • Too much or poorly timed insulin or diabetes medications/pills
  • Not eating regularly or eating less foods high in carbohydrates than usual
  • Eating at irregular hours, missing or skipping meals
  • More exercise or physical activity than usual or poorly timed exercise
  • Emotional stress
  • Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach

Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

  • Usually, sudden onset over hours or minutes
  • Cold, clammy skin or sweating
  • Hard, fast heartbeat
  • Hunger
  • Numbness or tingling (in fingers and toes)
  • Shaking, confusion, nervousness, or irritability
  • Slurred speech
  • Headache
  • Convulsions
  • Night sweats
  • Restless sleep
  • Unconsciousness

Hypoglycemia Unawareness

Often hypoglycemic symptoms appear when blood sugar levels fall below 70 mg/dl. But it could bethat somebody may have levels of blood sugar below 70 mg/dl and feels no symptoms. This is called hypoglycemia unawareness. This can happen more frequently to those that have frequent low blood glucose episodes of if you have had diabetes for a long time. If you suspect hypoglycemia unawareness you should speak with your doctor. He/she may want to raise your blood glucose targets to avoid risk of hypoglycemia in the future.

Other Causes of Symptoms

There are people that feel hypoglycemic symptoms when their blood sugar level is above 70 mg/dl. This may happen when the blood sugar level is high and start decreasing rapidly. In such cases you should discuss this with your doctor and adjust your treatment.

Hypoglycemia can be prevented with good diabetes management. Another important practice is to learn to detect hypoglycemia early thus to treat it before it get worse.