What Is Low Blood Sugar?

Low blood sugar is also called hypoglycemia (hy-po-gly-SEE-mee-uh). Hypoglycemia is when your blood sugar is much lower than normal (usually less than 70 mg/dL). Talk to your health care provider about your blood sugar goal and what level is too low for you.

Low blood sugar can occur when you

Common symptoms of low blood sugar include

  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Hunger and nausea
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating, chills, or clamminess
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Sleepiness
  • Irritability or impatience
  • Rapid/fast heartbeat
  • Blurred/impaired vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the lips or tongue
  • Headaches
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Anger, stubbornness, or sadness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Nightmares or crying out during sleep
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Symptoms may be mild at first. They may worsen quickly if you do not treat them. If you have these symptoms, test your blood sugar right away.

Low blood sugar may not cause any symptoms. Checking your blood sugar is the best way to know what your blood sugar is. Ask your health care provider when and how often you should check your blood sugar.

If you think your blood sugar is low but you can’t check it for any reason, raise your blood sugar by eating or drinking a quick-acting source of sugar. Severe low blood sugar can cause you to lose consciousness, which may require emergency treatment. Make sure to talk to your health care provider if you experience low blood sugar often.

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