Causes and Complications of Diabetic Hypoglycemia

Causes and Complications of Diabetic Hypoglycemia

Causes and Complications of Diabetic Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level, generally below 70 mg/dl is considered hypoglycemia) can occur in diabetes patients. Because diabetes is basically a disease of abnormal carbohydrate/glucose metabolism due to lack of insulin (insulin lack may be absolute as in case of type-1 diabetes and relative as in case of type-2 diabetes with insulin resistance) and hypoglycemia occur if there is problem is diabetes metabolism. Lack of food (fasting) or overdose of insulin are common causes of diabetic hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia in a diabetic patient need to be treated promptly. The patient may not be aware of the problem, especially in late stage because there may be mental confusion (symptom of hypoglycemia) or the patient may even be unconscious. Unless patient is aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetic hypoglycemia, he/she may ignore signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and aggravate the problem. Hence, it is important for all diabetes patients to know signs and symptoms of diabetic hypoglycemia, especially early signs and symptoms., Causes and Complications of Diabetic Hypoglycemia

What are the causes of diabetic hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia can occur in any diabetic patient receiving insulin or certain oral anti diabetic medications. Common causes of hypoglycemia in diabetics include,

  • Taking insulin and/or certain anti diabetes medications (e.g. Sufonylureas)
  • Fasting or skipping a meal
  • Severe exercise suddenly without taking precaution of taking adequate food
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol
  • Not eating enough

If you take insulin (in all type 1 diabetes patients need insulin and some type-2 diabetes patients also need insulin to control blood glucose level) and take more than required quantity of insulin you may develop hypoglycemia. Short acting insulin can rapidly lower blood sugar and cause hypoglycemia, if adequate food is not taken in time. All diabetics need to be careful about their eating habit to control blood sugar.

What are the possible complications of hypoglycemia?

If symptoms of hypoglycemia are ignored for long and no treatment initiated in time, it may lead to various complications with potentially serious consequences. It is said that for a diabetic patient hypoglycemia is more serious than hyperglycemia (high blood glucose). Because brain need glucose to function and without glucose brain cannot function properly. Hence, it is very important to treat diabetes hypoglycemia promptly and adequately to avoid complications. The possible complications of hypoglycemia include,

  • Seizures
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • In severe cases death may occur.


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