The other day, I was feeling a little dizzy while at a friend’s house. I hadn’t eaten in a while, so my friend suggested I check my sugar on her glucose meter. It was borderline low, at 80 mg/dL. I checked my daughter and she was right at 95 mg/dL, which is considered normal. We ate and my sugar went up to 92, so my friend was satisfied that nothing was wrong. Concerned for what it would have meant if I or my daughter had been or stayed low, I asked my friend to explain what low sugar means and how to spot it.
Low Sugar without Diabetes
If you have never been diagnosed with diabetes or any other sugar issues, low blood sugar may mean that you are having a hypoglycemic reaction. This can occur if you have not eaten in a long while or if you have severely changed your diet recently. It can also occur if you have done strenuous exercise or activity, especially if you are hungry or dehydrated. Certain medications can also trigger hypoglycemia. If you have more than one hypoglycemic reaction in one week, it may be a sign of a larger underlying issue.
Signs of Low Sugar
Low sugar causes many different signs and symptoms. Most often, you will feel dizzy, lightheaded, and hungry. In some cases, you may feel irritable, tired, shaky, anxious, and your heart rate may increase. Eating something or drinking juice or soda will cause these symptoms to subside as your sugar returns to normal levels. If you do not eat anything, you may pass out, begin to experience numbness, and experience bad dreams if you go to sleep.
Low Sugar as a Diabetes Symptom
Low sugar may be a sign of diabetes if it occurs frequently. Diabetes is most often associated with high sugar, but people that do not eat at regular intervals may experience large fluctuations in sugar, with lows as well as highs. Extreme lows can be life threatening, so it is important to carefully monitor sugar and seek medical attention if you or your child is experiencing frequent bouts of low sugar.