The Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

One condition that many diabetics need to keep an eye out for, especially if taking medication to reduce blood sugar, is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. While hypoglycemia is mainly characterized when blood sugar drops below 70, it can vary from person to person.

The many questions about low blood sugar

How do you tell the symptoms are from low blood sugar and not something else that could be going on in your body? If my blood sugar is above 70, can I still have signs of low blood sugar? There are a lot of questions doctors don’t necessarily think to review with patients that could make a big difference in how they understand hypoglycemia to get through the day and adjust their diet and treatment for optimal health.

Common signs of hypoglycemia

If you ever had these symptoms, they are very recognizable, and luckily, they usually resolve pretty quickly after getting some carboydrates in your system. According to MayoClinic, early signs of hypoglycemia are (but are not limited to):

  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety or nervousness

Severe symptoms of hypoglycemia include clumsiness or jerky movements, muscle weakness, blurry or double vision, confusion, convulsions or seizures, unconsciousness, and in rare cases, death.1

Focus on how your body reacts to your blood sugar reading

First of all, you can have low blood sugar if your blood sugar reading is over 70. It can be misleading to a diabetic because many of us can have symptoms well before reaching 70 on our meter. This number is when the majority of people will being to start having symptoms, but that isn't true for everyone.

If your body is used to having extremely high blood sugar, like in the 200’s or even 300’s and above, a blood sugar of 120 could cause you to have many symptoms of hypoglycemia. You still need to treat yourself as directed by your doctor for low blood sugar. The number is not as important as how your body is actually reacting to the number.

Monitor your blood sugar if you feel new symptoms

The only real way to know with a good amount of confidence that your symptoms are related to low blood sugar is to check your blood sugar. This does not mean the symptoms are from it completely. Only your doctor can say if they think something else is contributing to your symptoms. If you do have symptoms of hypoglycemia, the first thing you want to do is treat the low blood sugar the way you are instructed to. Right after, you should check your blood sugar to see if it changed.

Record your experiences when feeling hypoglycemia symptoms

I would not recommend delaying treatment to check your numbers. Give the allotted time to start feeling better. If you do, check your numbers again. Keep a record of the symptoms, your numbers, and your medication timing and foods for that day so you and your doctor can maybe see why this happened, especially if it becomes a trend.

Pay attention to the sensations in your body

It is important to pay attention to your body and combat these symptoms before they become severe. As always, when these symptoms occur, keep a journal of your blood sugar readings, medication timing, and meals for your doctor to go over with you and help prevent this from happening in the future.

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