General Illness Information

Medical Term: Hypoglycemia

Common Name: low blood sugar

Description: Hypoglycemia is a pathological condition characterized by a low level of glucose in the blood (below 3.3 mmol / l).


Factors that can trigger a drop in glucose levels are numerous. However, the most common risk factors are the following:

  • Starvation;
  • Insulinoma (a hormone-active tumor of pancreatic β-cells);
  • The intake of insulin, oral hypoglycemic drugs, less often – the intake of salicylates, β-blockers, quinine;
  • Extrapancreatic tumors;
  • Ethanol (in individuals with a significant reduction in glycogen stores due to overeating, usually 12-24 hours after drinking);
  • Diseases of the liver (fulminant viral hepatitis, acute toxic liver damage);
  • Deficiency of cortisol and / or somatotropic hormone (eg, hypothalamic syndrome, adrenal insufficiency);
  • Heart and kidney failure;
  • Gastrectomy (removal of the stomach);
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Neuropsychic disorders (eg, chronic fatigue syndrome).

Risk factors:

  • The history of diabetes is more than five years;
  • Kidney diseases;
  • Cardiovascular failure;
  • Elderly age;
  • Diseases of the liver;
  • Hypothyroidism;
  • Starvation;
  • Gastroenteritis;
  • Pregnancy and lactation;
  • Genetic aspects (hypoglycemia is the leading sign of many hereditary enzymopathies);
  • Alcoholism.

Signs & Symptoms:

Early symptoms of hypoglycemia:

  • pale skin;
  • sweating;
  • shiver,
  • palpitation;
  • strong hunger;
  • inability to concentrate attention;
  • nausea;
  • anxiety,
  • aggressiveness.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia, when sugar in the blood is critically lowered, and hypoglycemic coma is already very close:

  • weakness;
  • dizziness,
  • headache;
  • feeling of fear;
  • speech and visual impairment of behavior;
  • confusion of consciousness;
  • violated coordination of movements;
  • loss of orientation;
  • trembling of the limbs,
  • convulsions.


Diagnosis of hypoglycemia can be done by measuring the plasma glucose level and using a test for glucose tolerance. The source of insulin secretion makes it possible to detect the determination of the C-peptide. Low level of glucose with a high level of insulin is characteristic for insulinoma, which is accompanied by an elevated level of C-peptide. A low level of C-peptide indicates an exogenous cause of a high concentration of insulin.

Functional tests of the liver are carried out. They allow to determine the concentration of serum insulin and cortisol.

Computer tomography and ultrasound examination of abdominal organs are used to exclude tumors.


Treatment of hypoglycemia is based on the identification and correction of all disorders of the functioning of the organism that determine this condition, as well as dietary measures. The patient should reduce or exclude refined sugars (including honey, molasses, sugar, etc.), white flour and other products containing pure starch, and have at least six meals a day (instead of three in larger quantities). The diet should contain enough protein in the form of meat, fish, poultry and dairy products, fruits, vegetables and unmilled grains. Avoid caffeine-containing drugs and products (such as coffee and colas).

Acute attacks of hypoglycemia associated with an overdose of insulin, are usually removed by the intake of sugar or glucose, but sometimes it is necessary to receive an intravenous injection of glucose solution.

Possible Complications:

Untimely and improper care for hypoglycemia can lead to such complications:

  • Violation of cerebral circulation;
  • Myocardial infarction;
  • Stroke;
  • Visual impairment;
  • Hemiplegia (unilateral paralysis of the muscles of the legs and arms);
  • Depression of mental functions;
  • Hypoglycemia in pregnant women can lead to congenital malformations of newborns;.
  • In infants – mental retardation, neurological disorders.


All patients with diabetes who use insulin should take sugar, glucose tablets, sweets. If you have early symptoms of hypoglycemia, you need to take 10-15 grams of sugar. Before intensive physical exertion, individuals with a risk of developing hypoglycemia should take an additional 30-45 grams of carbohydrates.

People suffering from diabetes, should constantly monitor blood glucose level with the help of a glucometer, receive insulin and hypoglycemic drugs, regulate the amount of carbohydrates consumed.


It is very important to follow one meal schedule. Follow your personal schedule to control diabetes. People with diabetes should eat regularly and get enough food. Do not skip meals. For many people, snacks before physical activity or before bedtime are important. Snack before bedtime in some cases can prevent night hypoglycemia.


Not specified.

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