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Hypoglycemia: Introduction

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 »

Hypoglycemia: Misdiagnosis

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 »

Causes of Hypoglycemia:

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.

» Review Causes of Hypoglycemia: Causes | Symptom Checker » | Assessment Questionnaire »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Hypoglycemia

Home medical tests possibly related to Hypoglycemia:

Causes of Types of Hypoglycemia:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Hypoglycemia:

Review causes of more specific types of Hypoglycemia:

Hypoglycemia: Symptom Checker

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.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

Hypoglycemia Treatments

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.

Prevention of hypoglycemia cause by an insulin reaction in ...Hypoglycemia Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Hypoglycemia may include:

Review further information on Hypoglycemia Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Hypoglycemia

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Hypoglycemia may include:

Stories from Users for Hypoglycemia

Real-life user stories relating to Hypoglycemia:

Diagnostic tests for Hypoglycemia:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Hypoglycemia. Some of these are listed below :

  • Blood tests
    • Measurement of overnight fasting glucose and insulin levels on three occasions, if suspect insulinona
    • Hospitalization for repeated blood sugar levels during a 72 hour fast, if overnight testing is inconclusive
    • Plasma cortisol. If decreased consider Addison's disease
  • more tests...»

Hypoglycemia: Animations

Medications or substances causing Hypoglycemia:

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.

Drug interactions causing Hypoglycemia:

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.

  • Acitretin and Glyburide interaction
  • Lisinopril and antidiabetes drug interaction
  • Prinvil and antidiabetes drug interaction
  • Zestril and antidiabetes drug interaction
  • Lisinopril and insulin interaction
  • more interactions...»

Hypoglycemia: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Hypoglycemia may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Hypoglycemia

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Hypoglycemia:

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

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.

See Hypoglycemia Assessment Questionnaire (13 listings)

Hypoglycemia: Deaths

Read more about causes and Hypoglycemia deaths.

In-Depth Reports: Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis

Diabetes diagnosis and misdiagnosis (In-Depth Report): Detailed report on diabetes misdiagnoses, rare curable types, and less common diagnostic full report »

Misdiagnosis and Hypoglycemia

Metabolic syndrome often undiagnosed: Metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X, is an often overlooked medical condition that causes a cluster more »

Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. It is altogether too common for people to die from undiagnosed heart attack, more »

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, more »

Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, but often fails to be more »

Cluster of diseases with difficult diagnosis issues: There is a well-known list of medical conditions that are all somewhat difficult to diagnose, and all can present in a variety of different severities. Diseases in more »

Poorly healing leg rashes a classic sign of chronic disease: Recurring leg rashes, or poorly healing leg rashes, are a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes, particularly of Type 2 diabetes, more »

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, there are also various other causes. See causes of leg cramps or misdiagnosis more »

Obesity-related conditions undiagnosed in children: A variety of conditions are associated with obesity (see obesity), but these tend to be undiagnosed more often in child patients than in adults. Some of the overlooked conditions may include more »

Hypoglycemia: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Hypoglycemia

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Hypoglycemia:

Hypoglycemia: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Hypoglycemia: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Hypoglycemia listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Hypoglycemia as a symptom include:

Article Excerpts about Hypoglycemia

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)

Definitions of Hypoglycemia:

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)

Detailed list of causes of Hypoglycemia

The list below shows some of the causes of Hypoglycemia mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Hypoglycemia?

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:

  • 4 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 1 causes are "common" diseases
  • 4 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 6 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 277 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Hypoglycemia:

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.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T V W #





















Conditions listing medical complications: Hypoglycemia:

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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Causes of Hypoglycemia Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Hypoglycemia based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    What are the alternative names for Hypoglycemia:

    Hypoglycaemia, Glucose levels low (blood, serum or plasma)
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Hypoglycemia:

    Subtypes of Hypoglycemia:

    Low blood sugar (157 causes), Hypoglycemic attack (17 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Hypoglycemia:

    Blood symptoms (2297 causes), Abnormal blood test symptoms (1538 causes)

    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

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Hypoglycemia

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Hypoglycemia and many other medical conditions:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Hypoglycemia:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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