Dr Amanda Lam, Associate Consultant from the Department of Endocrinology at Singapore General Hospital, a member of SingHealth group, shares the symptoms of low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia).
What is hypoglycaemia?
Hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) happens when blood glucose falls below normal levels. A blood glucose level of < 4.0 mmol/L is considered hypoglycaemia. Hypoglycaemia may happen to anyone with diabetes, but is more common in people who take insulin and certain types of oral diabetes medications.
If you are on treatment for diabetes, hypoglycaemia may occur when you:
- Take too much insulin, or certain oral glucose-lowering pills
- Do not eat enough food
- Wait too long between meals, or skip a meal
- Exercise more than usual
- Drink excessive alcohol, or drink alcohol without food
If you suspect that you may be having hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose), test your blood glucose level using a glucose meter.
"Symptoms of hypoglycaemia are unpleasant and may interfere with your daily activities. Serious hypoglycaemia may cause accidents, seizures, coma and death. Fortunately, there are ways to recognise, treat, and prevent hypoglycaemia," says
Dr Amanda Lam, Associate Consultant at the
Department of Endocrinology,
Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the
Signs and symptoms of hypoglycaemia
Early symptoms of hypoglycaemia
Early signs and symptoms of hypoglycaemia include:
- Fast heartbeat
- Tingling sensation in your fingers, lips or tongue
- Feeling hungry or nauseous
- Feeling nervous or anxious
- Feeling irritable
Severe symptoms of hypoglycaemia
Severe symptoms can include:
- Weakness and difficulty walking
- Blurred vision
- Confusion and abnormal behaviour
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
If you have severe symptoms, you or the people around you should call for an ambulance (995) immediately.
Hypoglycaemia may happen while you are sleeping. Some clues that you may be experiencing hypoglycaemia while asleep include:
- Profuse sweating while sleeping
- Feeling tired or confused, or having a headache after waking up
Find out on the next page
what to do when you have hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose).
Other diabetes articles you may be interested in:
Diabetes Foot Care Tips: 10 Steps to Healthy Feet
Diabetes Diet Myths vs Facts
Easy Diabetes Diet
Tips for Travelling with Diabetes
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