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Hypoglycemia

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Updated August 20, 2006

Definition:

Hypoglycemia is also known as low blood sugar. It occurs when your blood sugar level drops too low. It happens more often with Type 1 diabetes, but it can sometimes happen with Type 2, if your medication is too potent or if you've been exercising a lot. Not enough sugar in your blood means that your cells don't have enough glucose for energy.

Your brain also needs glucose to function. It doesn't make it's own glucose and is dependent on the glucose in your blood. When you are experiencing hypoglycemia, you might feel nervous or shaky, dizzy or lightheaded, sleepy or hungry. You may be confused, sweaty, or have difficulty speaking or walking.

If you feel these symptoms, eat or drink a sugary snack right away, such as a half cup of orange juice, half a can of regular soda, 5 to 7 lifesavers or jelly beans or 2 teaspoons of sugar, honey or corn syrup. Test your blood sugar as soon as possible and then in fifteen minutes after your sugar dose. Some people carry a tube of Cake Mate decorator gel with them at all times, in case they feel these symptoms.

If someone is severely hypoglycemic and is unable to swallow, do not try to give them sugar orally. This is an emergency situation, and paramedics or hospital personnel must administer the glucose intravenously.

Also Known As: Low Blood Sugar
Examples:
If you are experiencing hypoglycemia, you do not have enough glucose in your blood for your cells to function properly.

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