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Hypoglycemia is the term used for low-blood sugar or low-blood glucose. It means that your blood sugar level has gone below normal. Symptoms usually come on very quickly, and they can be troublesome. If your sugar is really low, it can even cause seizures.

Hypoglycemia can have a number of symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Shakiness
  • Nervousness
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Numbness
  • Abnormal behavior or thinking

Hypoglycemia occurs in diabetics when their condition is not under control. Diabetics try to control their sugar levels with a special diet and often with insulin.

Non-diabetics can develop low-blood sugar as well. The reasons they may develop hypoglycemia are:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Medications
  • Critical illness
  • Insulin overproduction (could be caused by a pancreatic tumor)
  • Hormone deficiencies
  • Fasting

Non-diabetic hypoglycemia can be discovered by a doctor who reviews your symptoms, conducts a physical exam looking for diabetes risk factors, and checks your blood glucose level. If you have non-diabetic hypoglycemia, a doctor will rule out tumors or medications as a cause.

To avoid low blood sugar in the future, you should:

  • Eat small meals and snacks every three hours
  • Be sure to eat protein, dairy and high-fiber foods
  • Limit high-sugar foods