Hypoglycemia may result from other
causes, but these occur much less commonly than diabetes. Other possible causes
medicines used to treat conditions other than diabetes
can cause hypoglycemia or hide its symptoms.
Too much insulin. Tumors in the
pancreas (insulinomas), certain disorders of the
pancreas, or some
autoimmune diseases can cause too much insulin to be
produced. These conditions are rare.
Factitious hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can be caused
intentionally by the inappropriate use of insulin and sulfonylurea medicines.
This is most often seen in people who have diabetes or
their relatives. The reasons for self-induced hypoglycemia vary and may be
associated with psychiatric problems or a need for attention, similar to
Inborn metabolic problems. In rare cases,
hypoglycemia may be caused by inherited enzyme or hormone deficiencies,
especially those that affect the
metabolism of sugars and other
carbohydrates. These conditions are often discovered
in infancy or childhood.
Alcohol. In some people, drinking alcohol can cause a
drop in blood sugar levels. Hypoglycemia has been associated with chronic
alcoholism and binge drinking. Hypoglycemia associated with binge drinking can
be particularly severe if a person has not eaten within about 6 hours, because
fasting can impair the liver's ability to make new glucose. The person may fall
into a coma, which can be fatal.
Postprandial hypoglycemia. This is also known as alimentary hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia within 1 to 2
hours after a meal sometimes occurs when stomach contents empty into the
intestines too rapidly. This causes the rapid absorption of glucose into the
blood and an overproduction of insulin (hyperinsulinism) in response. This
problem may occur after surgery for
peptic ulcers, obesity, or other stomach
Other causes. Hypoglycemia also may occur, though
rarely, under certain conditions in early pregnancy or with prolonged fasting
or missed meals, severe malnutrition, or prolonged strenuous exercise, such as
running a marathon. It may occur in premature or full-term newborns with a low
birth weight and in newborns whose mothers have been treated for
type 1 diabetes or
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology
March 8, 2013
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 08, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this
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Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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