Symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia symptoms) vary from person to person and even from day to day. As a diabetes educator, I recommend that people taking insulin, or insulin-producing pills, know the symptoms of low blood sugar. Informing friends and family about symptoms of hypoglycemia is also an option as they can help recognize and treat hypoglycemia.
- The urgency to eat or hungry
- Shaking or trembling
- Generalized weakness
- Tiredness or drowsiness
- Racing heart or palpitations
- Difficulty concentrating or confusion
- Short-term clumsiness or decreased coordination
- Can’t find the “right” word; drawing “blanks”
- Seeing bright lights/vision changes (not a typical symptom)
- Nausea (not a typical symptom)
- Tingling of lips, face or legs if walking (not a typical symptom)
- Combative, belligerent, argumentative (this is likely severe hypoglycemia)
- Loss of consciousness (severe hypoglycemia)
More on Hypoglycemia Symptoms
Some folks with diabetes have hypoglycemia symptoms but their glucose meters show they’re not low.
This can happen if you’ve had high glucose levels for some time and suddenly drop into lower ranges. Sort of like living in Fiji where it’s hot and moving to Calgary, Canada for the summer. It seems cold in comparison. Of course, once you’ve lived in Calgary for a while, the summers start to feel enjoyable again. Trust me. So for blood sugars, this means that your body will eventually become accustomed to the healthier lower blood sugars and will start to feel better there.
If having hypoglycemia symptoms always try to verify the low blood sugar with a fingerstick glucose test. Hypoglycemia should be treated immediately so it does not progress to some of the more serious low blood sugar symptoms. Some people without diabetes have hypoglycemia symptoms but may not have low blood sugar levels as explained under “reactive hypoglycemia”.
Symptoms of low blood sugar during the night
Hypoglycemia can also happen while you are sleeping. Symptoms of low blood sugar during the night are:
- Crying out or having nightmares.
- Awaking with damp pyjamas, sheets or pillowcases from sweating.
- Feeling tired, irritable, or confused when you wake up.
- Waking for no reason (although this may also be sleep apnea – check your blood sugar if you awake early).
- Difficulty waking.
- Unexplained high blood sugars in the morning
These could all be symptoms of low blood sugar after it has occurred. In other words, unrecognized hypoglycemia during sleep. Discuss with your healthcare providers. They might suggest you test before bed, at 0300, then 0600 or when waking.
If you have diabetes and experience mild hypoglycemia more than once a week, or more often than your physician advises, call your health care provider. You should contact your physician or health care team immediately after experiencing a severe low sugar requiring someone else’s help.
Disclaimer: This site and links out are for information purposes only and not to be used as medical advice, please follow up with your doctor for medical care. Click on disclaimer for more information.