What Causes Hypoglycemia in Non-Diabetics?

Reviewed on 10/12/2021

Causes of (hypoglycemia) low blood sugar in non-diabetics include some medications, drinking too much alcohol, hypothyroidism, side effects of weight loss surgery, liver or kidney problems, anorexia nervosa, problems in the pancreas, and certain genetic disorders.
Causes of (hypoglycemia) low blood sugar in non-diabetics include some medications, drinking too much alcohol, hypothyroidism, side effects of weight loss surgery, liver or kidney problems, anorexia nervosa, problems in the pancreas, and certain genetic disorders.

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is when the level of sugar (glucose) in a person's blood gets too low, usually below 70 mg/dL.

Low blood sugar causes in diabetes

Hypoglycemia in people with diabetes is caused by:

  • Taking too much medicine, including insulin or certain oral diabetes drugs
  • Not eating enough food
  • Waiting too long between meals
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Too much exercise without eating a snack or reducing insulin dosage

Most cases of low blood sugar occur in people who have diabetes. It is very uncommon in people who are not diabetic. 

Low blood sugar causes without diabetes

Causes of low blood sugar in non-diabetics includes:

What Are Symptoms of Hypoglycemia?

Early symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can include:

  • Shaking/trembling
  • Sweating
  • Feeling hungry
  • Feeling worried

Untreated low blood sugar levels can lead to severe symptoms of hypoglycemia, such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision/other vision problems
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Trouble walking
  • Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue or cheeks
  • Confusion
  • Not thinking clearly
  • Acting strangely 
  • Seizure

How Is Hypoglycemia Diagnosed?

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is diagnosed when a person has symptoms of low blood sugar and:

  • Low blood sugar levels are present when symptoms occur 
    • Measured with a blood test from a blood glucose meter (usually less than 60 mg/dL)
  • The person feels better after eating something that raises blood sugar levels to normal

To determine the cause of hypoglycemia, tests may include: 

What Is the Treatment for Hypoglycemia?

Treatment for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) includes:

  • Consuming quick sources of sugar 
    • Glucose tablets or gel
    • Sugary candy such as jelly beans, gumdrops, or hard candies
    • Honey
    • Fruit juice
    • Regular soda
    • Corn syrup
    • Diabetics should carry a quick source of sugar at all times
  • Glucagon, a hormone, used to quickly raise blood sugar levels and stop severe symptoms

QUESTION

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Reviewed on 10/12/2021
References
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/low-blood-sugar-in-people-without-diabetes-the-basics?search=Hypoglycemia&source=search_result&selectedTitle=3~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=3

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/low-blood-sugar-in-people-with-diabetes-the-basics?search=Hypoglycemia&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=2

https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/medication-management/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/hypoglycemia