Hypoglycemia - Low Blood Sugar

Hypoglycemia (a hypo, or low blood sugar) is a condition that occurs in diabetics who take too much insulin, resulting in too much glucose being moved out of their blood.

Hypoglycemia, or a 'hypo', can also occur if you have not eaten enough food, drank too much alcohol on an empty stomach or exercised too hard.

Symptoms of a hypo include:

  • a fast heartbeat
  • shaking
  • sweating
  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • extreme hunger
  • irritability
  • nausea

Getting hypoglycemia under control

Eating or drinking something that is high in sugar, such as a fizzy drink or raisins, can help bring hypoglycemia under control by bringing blood glucose levels back up to normal. Once the symptoms of a hypo have stopped you should then eat a longer-acting carbohydrate food, such as a piece of fruit, a cereal bar or some biscuits, to maintain blood glucose.

If a hypo is not brought under control it can lead to confusion, drowsiness, and unconsciousness, in which case you would need to have an injection of glucagon into your muscle. Glucagon is a hormone that quickly increases your blood glucose levels.

Learn to spot a hypo

If you are a diabetic or a friend/relative of someone who is, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of high and low blood sugar and to stay alert for their presence. If any of these symptoms develop you should contact your local GP for medial advice and diagnosis.

Other diabetic symptoms/complications to be aware of