Glucose, a form of sugar, is the body's main fuel. Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, occurs when blood levels of glucose drops too low to fuel the body's activity.
Carbohydrates i.e. sugars and starches are the body's main dietary sources of glucose. During digestion, the glucose is absorbed into the blood stream which carries it to every cell in the body. Unused glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen.
Hypoglycemia can occur as a complication of diabetes as a condition in itself or in association with other disorders.
The normal range for blood sugar is about 60 mg / dL to 120 mg/dL depending upon when a person last ate. In the fasting state, blood sugar can occasioinally fall below 60 mg/dL and even to below 50 mg/dL and not indicate a serious abnormality or disease. This can be seen in healthy women, particularly after prolonged fasting. Blood sugar levels below 45 mg/dL are always associated with serious abnormality.
The amount of glucose in the blood is controlled mainly by the hormones insulin and glucagons. Too much or too little of these hormones can cause blood sugar levels to fall too low or rise too high. Other hormones that influence blood sugar levels are cortisol, growth hormone and catecholamines.
Hypoglycemia, also called low blood sugar, occurs when your blood glucose level drops too low to provide enough energy for your body's activities. In adults or children older than 10 years, hypoglycemia is uncommon except as a side effect of diabetes treatment, but it can result from other medications or diseases, hormone or enzyme deficiencies or tumors.
When blood glucose begins to fall, glucagons, another hormone produced by the pancreas, signals the liver to break down glycogen and release glucose, causing blood glucose levels to rise towards a normal level. If you have diabetes, this glucagons response to hypoglycemia may be impaired, making it harder for your glucose levels to return to the normal range. The symptoms of hypoglycemia include hunger, nervousness and shakiness, perspiration, dizziness orlight-headedness, sleepness etc. Hypoglycemia can also happen while you are seeping and you might cry out or have nightmares, and feel tired, irritable or confused when you wake up.
In people taking certain blood-glucose lowering medications, blood glucose can fall too low for a number of reasons such as meals or snacks that are too small, delayed or skipped, excessive doeses of insulin or some diabetes medications, increased activity or exercise, excessive drinking of alcohol.