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The #1 Sign Your Blood Sugar is "Way Too Low"

Don’t ignore this sign of dangerously low blood sugar.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Low blood sugar—or hypoglycemia—is a condition where blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl. People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to experience hypoglycemia, and it can lead to serious health conditions if left untreated.

According to the CDC, here are the main causes of low blood sugar:

  • Taking too much insulin.
  • Not eating enough carbs for how much insulin you take.
  • Timing of when you take your insulin.
  • The amount and timing of physical activity.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • How much fat, protein, and fiber are in your meal.
  • Hot and humid weather.
  • Unexpected changes in your schedule.
  • Spending time at a high altitude.
  • Going through puberty.
  • Menstruation.

Unsure about whether you are experiencing low blood sugar? Here are five signs of hypoglycemia you should never ignore. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.



woman suffering from heat stroke

Sweating is a common symptom of hypoglycemia—especially at night. "If you've had hypoglycemia during the night, you may wake up tired or with a headache. And you may have nightmares. Or you may sweat so much during the night that your pajamas or sheets are damp when you wake up," explains University of Michigan Health



Stressed unhappy woman touching forehead, suffering from strong headache or chronic migraine

Low blood sugar can lead to dizziness and confusion. "Because the brain depends on blood sugar as its primary source of energy, hypoglycemia interferes with the brain's ability to function properly," says Harvard Health. "This can cause dizziness, headache, blurred vision, difficulty concentrating and other neurological symptoms."



violently shaking hands of a PD sufferer (Parkinson's disease), tremors of the wrist and hand joints are the main symptom of the disorder

According to the Cleveland Clinic, your body shaking is a sign blood sugar has dropped below normal levels: "The signs of hypoglycemia are unpleasant. But they provide good warnings that you should take action before blood sugar drops more."

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Woman looking into distance.

Did you know low blood sugar can cause anxiety and stress? Yep, being "hangry" is a real thing! "We found evidence that a change in glucose level can have a lasting effect on mood," says Prof. Francesco Leri, Department of Psychology at the University of Guelph. "I was skeptical when people would tell me that they get grouchy if they don't eat, but now I believe it. Hypoglycemia is a strong physiological and psychological stressor."

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The #1 Sign of Low Blood Sugar

Woman is clutching her chest

Elevated heart rate and palpitations are the most common signs of low blood sugar. "When blood sugar levels fall below their usual values, the body elicits a hormonal response to try to bring those blood sugar levels back up to normal," says John Clore, M.D., Diabetologist, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. "Those same hormonal responses also lead to a number of symptoms. Those symptoms include palpitations, rapid heart rate, nervousness, and sweating. For some individuals, the sweating predominates. For other individuals, it's the rapid heart rate and palpitations, but what distinguishes hypoglycemia and the symptoms associated with hypoglycemia from those same symptoms by other causes, is that when you take carbohydrate to bring blood sugar levels back up, the symptoms resolve."

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When Should I See a Doctor?

Doctor with glucometer and insulin pen device talking to male patient at medical office in hospital.

"To diagnose hypoglycemia, your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your health and any medicines you take," advises University of Michigan Health. "You will need blood tests to check your blood sugar levels. Some tests might include not eating (fasting) and watching for symptoms. Other tests might involve eating a meal that could cause symptoms of low blood sugar several hours later. The results of these types of tests can help diagnose the cause. You may also need tests to look for or rule out health problems that could be affecting your blood sugar levels."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan
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