Hypoglycemia is a dangerous condition resulting from low blood sugar that can ultimately cause damage to the pancreas as well as pain and discomfort. Hypoglycemia symptoms are easy to detect and vary little from person to person. Common hypoglycemia symptoms include weakness, hunger, trembling, heart palpitations and dizziness, among others. More severe symptoms, however, can include seizure or loss of consciousness. In mild or moderate cases, it's usually pretty easy to treat these symptoms by eating sugary foods or drinking soda or fruit juice. More severe instances typically require immediate medical attention.
Most people who have hypoglycemia are diabetic or prediabetic, but anyone can experience symptoms. Low blood sugar causes hypoglycemia symptoms because sugar acts like fuel for the body, and the brain needs sugar to function. Blood delivers sugar, specifically glucose, to the brain. If blood sugar is low, the brain must rely on ketones for fuel, which causes hypoglycemia symptoms.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can strike suddenly and without warning, and can range from mild to severe, usually getting worse if left untreated. Mild symptoms may include a rapid heartbeat, sweating and an extreme sense of hunger. Tingling in the lips or fingertips also is common.
If mild symptoms are left untreated or if a patient has a more serious condition, moderate hypoglycemia symptoms may present. These can include blurred vision, anxiety, a lack of coordination and sudden mood changes. Sufferers also may experience mental confusion and have trouble concentrating. Slurred speech also is a possible symptom at this stage.
As low blood sugar episodes get worse, so do the symptoms. More severe and potentially dangerous symptoms can include seizures and loss of consciousness. Falling into a coma also is possible at this stage, and hypothermia becomes a major concern as well. Anyone experiencing these sorts of symptoms requires immediate emergency medical attention at a hospital emergency room.
Treating mild or moderate hypoglycemia symptoms is fairly easy, but treatment should be swift and administered as soon as the symptoms develop. Since the body is signaling that it needs more sugar to function normally, someone experiencing symptoms can try drinking fluids such as fruit juice, and eating candy, fruit, chocolate or granola. Eating sugary foods usually helps moderate hypoglycemia symptoms almost immediately.
Regardless of prevention measures, some people will still experience low blood sugar symptoms from time to time. Wearing a medical identification bracelet or necklace can be helpful, especially if symptoms include fainting or passing out. A medical ID bracelet can help people nearby to respond appropriately by providing food or drink or by calling an ambulance.