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What causes low blood sugar? Treatment Guide – HealthifyMe

Written by hana

Blood sugar, or glucose, is the primary type of sugar found in the blood. The main source of sugars are the carbohydrates available in various foods. In general, 80 to 99 mg/dL of blood sugar before a meal and 80 to 140 mg/dL after a meal is considered normal.

When the blood sugar level falls below the normal level, it leads to hypoglycemia. This medical condition of low blood sugar can be challenging to diagnose early and manage. However, treatments are available to prevent hypoglycemia from progressing to an emergency situation.

Although it is commonly believed that low blood sugar is more commonly associated with diabetes, people without diabetes may also experience episodes of hypoglycemia. Read more about the different causes of low blood sugar.

Hypoglycaemia – an overview

Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, occurs when an individual’s blood sugar levels drop below a healthy level. Everyone has different blood sugar levels, which vary at different times. However, for most people, hypoglycemia is less than 70 mg/dL.

The standard classification for low blood sugar is as follows:

Low blood sugar at night

Although low blood sugar can occur at any time of the day, some people experience low blood sugar levels when they sleep. There are several reasons why this might happen, and they include the following:

  • Being very active during the day
  • Physical activity too close to bedtime
  • Taking too much insulin
  • Alcohol consumption at night

To avoid this drop in blood sugar, you must eat regular meals. You can also have a healthy snack before bed if you feel that you are at risk of having low blood sugar during the night.

Very low blood sugar

Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar falls below 54 mg/dL, making you feel faint.

There are a variety of symptoms associated with an episode of low blood sugar. Although these symptoms may start out mild, they tend to progress very quickly

  • shivering / shaking
  • Feeling dizzy or dizzy
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating and chills
  • Headache
  • Hunger/nausea
  • Feeling nervous or irritable
  • restless sleep and fatigue;
  • A tingling or numbness sensation around the mouth

What causes low blood sugar?

in patients with diabetes

If you have diabetes, your body may not use insulin effectively to break down glucose in your bloodstream. As a result, it can cause glucose to build up in the blood, potentially reaching extremely high levels.

You can take insulin or other medications that lower blood sugar levels to correct this problem. However, these drugs and too much insulin can cause your blood sugar level to drop too low, leading to hypoglycemia.

Low blood sugar can also arise if you eat less than usual, specifically after taking diabetes medication or exercising more than you normally would.

In addition, drinking alcohol while taking these medications, especially if you don’t eat while drinking, can cause your blood sugar to drop too low. This is because while your body is trying to get rid of the alcoholic substance, it tends to fail to manage your blood sugar levels.

in non-diabetics

Low blood sugar is less common in people without diabetes. However, it can sometimes happen for the following reasons:


A study showed that drugs such as cefditoren, tigecycline, ertapenem, and clarithromycin are often associated with hypoglycemia.

Furthermore, some patients taking antibiotics, including fluoroquinolones, experience low blood sugar when taking sulfonylureas or meglitinides.

Too much alcohol

Heavy drinking, especially without eating, can prevent the liver from releasing glucose into the bloodstream. As a result, this may lead to low blood sugar.

Medical conditions

Some severe diseases, such as cirrhosis of the liver, kidney disease, heart disease, and others, can lead to low blood sugar.

Kidney disorders, in particular, can prevent your body from getting rid of medications, which can affect your sugar levels due to excess medication in your body.

starve yourself

Low blood sugar appears when your body is not receiving the nutrition it needs, which means that you may not be eating enough. Eating disorders, in which individuals do not eat consistently, can lead to hypoglycemia.

Excess insulin production

Although rare, a tumor in the pancreas, known as an insulinoma, can lead to an overproduction of insulin, which can then lead to low blood sugar.

Similarly, other tumors can also lead to an overproduction of substances such as insulin that cause the same effect. In addition, abnormal cells in the pancreas can overproduce insulin, leading to hypoglycemia.

hormonal imbalance

Certain disorders of the adrenal and pituitary glands can lead to an imbalance in the hormones that regulate glucose production or metabolism. In these cases, if there is too little glucose in the blood, it can lead to hypoglycemia.

HealthifyMe note

For those with diabetes, diabetes medications may cause your blood sugar to drop occasionally. However, if you do not have diabetes, low blood sugar is rare. Such conditions are likely to arise from medications, long-term starvation, hormone deficiencies, increased insulin production, critical medical conditions, or alcohol abuse.


If you have hypoglycemia and do not have diabetes, it is worth talking to your doctor to find out if there is an underlying cause such as an eating disorder, excess insulin production, or hormone deficiency. Once you know the root cause, you and your doctor can work on a treatment plan.

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