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Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, is an abnormal condition in which the sugar (glucose) level in the blood is too low.
Hypoglycemia can happen by itself or can be a symptom of or occur with a variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Hypoglycemia can be caused by over-exercising and not eating enough carbohydrates and by starvation dieting. Hypoglycemia can also occur in some people after drinking alcohol, especially large amounts of alcohol.
Serious disease, disorders and conditions that can also increase the risk of developing hypoglycemia include type 1 diabetes, insulin-secreting tumors of the pancreas, kidney disease, Addison's disease and liver disease. Hypoglycemia can also be a side effect of some medications. In some cases, it is not possible to diagnose the underlying cause of hypoglycemia. For more details on causes, refer to causes of hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia can occur in any age group or population. Depending on the cause, hypoglycemia can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when hypoglycemia occurs after a single episode of over-exercising but is quickly treated by eating a meal. Hypoglycemia can also recur over a longer period of time, such as when hypoglycemia is due to kidney disease or liver disease.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia include rapid heartbeat, hunger, confusion, fatigue, cold sweats, shakiness and headache. Severe hypoglycemia that is not treated quickly can lead to unconsciousness and even death in extreme untreated cases.
Hypoglycemia is easy to diagnose during a routine office visit with a simple blood test, called a fasting blood glucose test. Hypoglycemia is generally defined as having a fasting blood sugar level of less than 55mg/dL. In an emergency, hypoglycemia can be quickly diagnosed on a random blood glucose test.
Making a diagnosis generally also includes performing a variety of tests to help to diagnose potential underlying diseases, conditions or disorders and evaluate overall health. Blood tests can include a complete blood count (CBC), chemistry panel, urinanalysis, and liver function tests. Depending on the suspected cause, tests may also include special imaging tests, such as X-ray, nuclear imaging, CT scan and/or MRI.
A diagnosis of hypoglycemia can be missed or delayed because symptoms can mimic symptoms of other conditions and for a variety of other reasons. For more details on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of hypoglycemia.
Treatment of hypoglycemia involves ingesting foods and/or fluids that contain glucose. In severe and emergency cases, glucose may be given via intramuscular injection or intravenously. The underlying diseases, disorders and conditions also require treatment to prevent or minimize future episodes of hypoglycemia. For more details on treatment, refer to treatment of hypoglycemia....more »
Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) can arise due to diseases such as chronic hypoglycemia. People with diabetes often have hypoglycemia attacks caused by insulin or diabetes pills. Some people have mild hypoglycemia after a...more »
A diagnosis of hypoglycemia may be missed or delayed because symptoms may be mild and resolve quickly with the consumption of food and fluids that contain carbohydrates. However, in some cases, hypoglycemia can be the result of a serious condition, such as liver disease. This is why it is important to have regular medical care throughout a lifetime, even if ...more misdiagnosis »
The following medical conditions are some of the possible
causes of Hypoglycemia.
There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor
about your symptoms.
Home medical tests possibly related to Hypoglycemia:
Review the causes of these more specific types of Hypoglycemia:
Review causes of more specific types of Hypoglycemia:
Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Hypoglycemia, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.
The first step in treating hypoglycemia is prevention. Prevention measures include not over-exercising and always eating a well balanced diet that contains sufficient amounts of carbohydrates. It is also important not to go on starvation or fasting diets and not to drink alcohol or to drink in moderation.
Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Hypoglycemia may include:
Review further information on Hypoglycemia Treatments.
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Hypoglycemia may include:
Real-life user stories relating to Hypoglycemia:
Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Hypoglycemia. Some of these are listed below :
The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible
causes of Hypoglycemia as a symptom.
Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using,
including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Hypoglycemia as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Hypoglycemia may include these symptoms:
Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:
Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Hypoglycemia:
During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Hypoglycemia. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.
Create your printable checklist here.
Read more about causes and Hypoglycemia deaths.
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Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Hypoglycemia:
Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:
Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:
Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible
causes of Hypoglycemia as a symptom include:
Glucose, a form of sugar, is the body's main fuel. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, occurs when blood levels of glucose drop too low to fuel the body's activity. (Source: excerpt from Hypoglycemia: NIDDK)
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is not diabetes but may occur as a complication of diabetes, as a condition in itself, or in association with other disorders. Hypoglycemia occurs when levels of glucose, the body's main fuel, drop too low to fuel the body's activity. Carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are the body's main dietary sources of glucose. During digestion, the glucose is absorbed into the blood stream (hence the term "blood sugar"), which carries it to every cell in the body. Unused glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen. In the case of hypoglycemia, the mechanism for converting stored glucose (glycogen) back into usable glucose energy (glucose) by the body is faulty. The process normally involves the liver and other organs as well as various hormones. (Source: excerpt from Diabetes: NWHIC)
Glucose, a form of sugar, is the body's main fuel. Hypoglycemia, or low... (Source: excerpt from Hypoglycemia: NIDDK)
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is not diabetes but may occur as a complication of diabetes... (Source: excerpt from Diabetes: NWHIC)
A syndrome of abnormally low BLOOD GLUCOSE level. Clinical hypoglycemia has diverse etiologies. Severe hypoglycemia eventually lead to glucose deprivation of the CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM resulting in HUNGER; SWEATING; PARESTHESIA; impaired mental function; SEIZURES; COMA; and even DEATH.
- (Source - Diseases Database)
Abnormally low blood sugar usually resulting from excessive insulin or a poor diet
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
Syndrome of abnormally low blood glucose level; clinical hypoglycemia has diverse etiologies; severe hypoglycemia eventually lead to glucose deprivation of the central nervous system resulting in hunger, sweating, paresthesia, impaired mental function, seizures, coma, and even death.
- (Source - CRISP)
Abnormally low blood sugar.
- (Source - National Cancer Institute)
The list below shows some of the causes of Hypoglycemia mentioned in various sources:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Hypoglycemia. Of the 284 causes of Hypoglycemia that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Hypoglycemia' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Hypoglycemia or choose View All.
The following list of medical conditions have Hypoglycemia or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Hypoglycemia based
on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:
Subtypes of Hypoglycemia:
Medical Conditions associated with Hypoglycemia:
Symptoms related to Hypoglycemia:
Low blood sugar (157 causes), Dizziness (1357 causes), Hypoglycemic attack (17 causes), Diabetic hypo, Insulin shock, Insulinoma, Alcoholism, Fasting (1 cause), Hormone deficiencies, Strenuous exercise, Galactosemia, Liver disease
Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:
These general medical articles may be of interest:
Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Hypoglycemia and many other medical conditions:
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