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Low Blood Sugar Can Occur in People with Diabetes and Possibly Prediabetes

Blood Glucose MonitorDiabetics and even prediabetics can suffer from hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. People who don’t have diabetes (such as those with rare conditions) may also have hypoglycemia.

Sugar in the blood is important—it’s the body’s main energy source. But when levels get too low, it can cause severe symptoms that need to be treated right away.

When a person has hypoglycemia, it’s important to get blood sugar levels back into a normal range as quickly as possible. Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar falls lower than 70 mg/dL. (Normal levels are between 70-100 mg/DL).

People with prediabetes who have insulin resistance may have low blood sugar occasionally if their high circulating insulin levels are accompanied by extended periods of fasting.

The symptoms of hypoglycemia are:

  • Shakiness or weakness
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Hunger
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the lips or tongue
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

The only way to know whether you are experiencing hypoglycemia is to check blood glucose. If you do have hypoglycemia, the American Diabetes Association recommends consuming 15-20 grams of glucose or simple carbohydrates (such as candy, fruit juice, cake, packaged cereal). Medication may be needed for people with recurrent hypoglycemia.

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