Extremely low blood sugar occurs in people with diabetes, although it can happen for other reasons. It’s accompanied by severe symptoms like confusion, fast heartbeat, nausea, feeling shaky, and others. If sugar goes below the healthy range and is not treated, it can lead to both short-term and long-term complications.
Blood sugar is the amount of glucose in your blood that’s vital to your health. It provides energy for your muscles and brain. Your brain needs glucose to function well. Glycemia, the medical term for low blood sugar, can be caused by diabetes, certain medications, diet, and hormone or enzyme deficiencies. If you suspect you regularly experience low blood sugar, watch out for these signs of hypoglycemia:
1. Cold pale skin
Cold and pale skin is a common sign of low blood sugar. It occurs because your body diverts the blood away from your skin and delivers it to vital organs making you look like a vampire.
Extreme sweating is another side effect of low blood sugar levels. If you notice unusual and excessive sweating along with chills, that’s because of increased adrenaline. Hypoglycemia raises the levels of a stress hormone called adrenaline, since having too low blood sugar level is a big stress for your body.
Each person's reaction to hypoglycemia might be different, but fatigue is a pretty common symptom. Glucose is the biggest source of energy for your brain. Your brain will not function properly if you have a lack of sugar in the blood. Sugar deficiency in your blood will also make you tired and sleepy.
4. Constant hunger
Low blood sugar levels can cause increased appetite. Hypoglycemia can make your body use the glucose that’s in your liver. This can make you crave food to replace glucose. The only way to increase blood sugar levels is to eat something.
Dizziness might be provoked by hypoglycemia. This symptom usually means you have extremely low glucose levels in your blood, and it often comes with fatigue and confusion. Dizziness can also be caused by other serious conditions. If your experience this symptom, it’s a good idea to call your primary care doctor right away.
Shakiness is a hallmark of hypoglycemia that typically appears when your glucose levels just start falling. Shakiness might be accompanied by anxiety and tachycardia (too fast heart rate). It's a part of your body's adrenaline response.
7. Anxiety and irritability
Some people with hypoglycemia might experience anxiety when their blood sugar drops. Anxiety is considered a neurogenic symptom, meaning it’s caused by an adrenaline rush. The stress hormone can provoke severe mood swings or anxiety.
8. Brain fog
Yes, brain fog can also be provoked by low blood sugar levels. As you already know, your brain needs sugar to work properly. With hypoglycemia, it doesn't get enough energy, and brain fog is another consequence of this process. Brain fog might be accompanied by blurry vision.
One of the most common warning signs of hypoglycemia is heart palpitations. Again, adrenaline is to blame. Since it courses through your system, it can contribute to a rapid heartbeat and heart palpitations.
Hypoglycemia-related headaches are typically described as a dull, throbbing feeling in the temples. Low blood glucose can also provoke migraines, but they don’t come with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound as regular migraines do. Instead, hypoglycemia-related headaches are accompanied by fatigue, blurry vision, irritability, and confusion.
The Bottom Line
Now, you know the most common warning signs of hypoglycemia and if you suspect you’re experiencing at least a few of them, you should contact your healthcare provider. Keep in mind that hypoglycemia can get severe and can damage your body systems.
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