What are the Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar?

Sheri Cyprus

One of the most common and prominent symptoms of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is trembling — especially in the hands and arms. Chills or a feeling of being cold may also occur when blood sugar levels dip too low. The stomach is also often affected by extreme hunger pangs and/or nausea in hypoglycemia since it can be caused by not eating often enough. Some people who experience low blood sugar may feel confused, weak or dizzy as well as experience throbbing temples and a lack of focus in their vision.

Anything below 70 milligrams per deciliter is considered a low blood sugar level.
Anything below 70 milligrams per deciliter is considered a low blood sugar level.

Blurry vision may be one of the symptoms of low blood sugar, although not everyone with low blood sugar will experience it. Some hypoglycemics have reported that scenery such as mountains and trees seem to be softly blurred or fuzzy. Weakness, especially in the legs, is one of the most common symptoms of low blood sugar. Dizziness is another common hypoglycemia symptom. In severe cases of hypoglycemia, the individual may even have difficulty walking straight.

Nausea is often an early sign of low blood sugar.
Nausea is often an early sign of low blood sugar.

A feeling of pressure or throbbing in the temples may also occur if the blood sugar becomes very low. It's important to get medical help and/or consume sugar candy, glucose tablets or orange juice immediately when the blood sugar becomes dangerously low, as unconsciousness, coma or even death could result. Diabetics and others with hypoglycemia often carry glucose, or sugar tablets, with them as well as their blood sugar monitor so they can be prepared to act quickly if they notice symptoms. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms of low blood sugar, but it's important that individuals with a tendency toward being hypoglycemic learn to recognize, and if possible measure, their glucose levels if they do feel unwell.

Extreme hunger pangs often accompany low blood sugar.
Extreme hunger pangs often accompany low blood sugar.

During an episode of low blood sugar, the stomach growling sounds that usually first signal hunger tend to change to the feeling of an empty stomach and nausea. For many people who experience hypoglycemia, the nausea is often combined with dizziness and confusion. The three conditions together may make it difficult for someone experiencing these symptoms to focus on how to find the needed sugary food or beverage that will raise his or her body's sugars. An intense feeling of sudden hunger may be experienced by some hypoglycemics; a rush to consume everything in sight may be the initial reaction in this case, but only high sugar items will adequately raise the blood sugar to appropriate levels.

Low blood sugar can cause dizziness.
Low blood sugar can cause dizziness.
Eating hard candies can quickly raise blood sugar.
Eating hard candies can quickly raise blood sugar.
A glass of orange juice is one of the best treatments for low blood sugar.
A glass of orange juice is one of the best treatments for low blood sugar.

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Discussion Comments

anon336718

I am 51 and was diagnosed as having hypoglycemia at 18. Recently, I've noticed episodes seem to go hand in hand with hormonal changes. I have always broken out in a sweat when my blood sugar drops.

LoriCharlie

@indemnifyme - My sister was diagnosed with hypoglycemia when we were younger, so I have a little bit of experience in this area. After she started having symptoms, my mom took her to the doctor.

The doctor had her go get a blood test to get her blood sugar levels tested (I think she did a test in the morning before she had breakfast, but I'm not 100% sure). After the doctor got the results of the blood test, he was able to diagnose her.

After the diagnosis, the doctor suggested a diet lower in sugar. That way, your blood sugar levels aren't spiking throughout the day, and will stay a little bit more even.

indemnifyme

After reading this article, I think I might have hypoglycemia. I get a lot of the symptoms of low blood sugar levels that are listed in this article. How can I find out if I definitely have low blood sugar or not?

Monika

@betterment - I get low blood sugar symptoms too, and I always mean to have a snack with me. However, I forget sometimes and then I have to run around trying to find something to eat. I've definitely gotten myself into a few dangerous blood sugar situations though. Luckily most of my friends and family know about my low blood sugar, so I have help if I need it.

betterment

I am so jealous of people that have normal blood sugar. I get low blood sugar if I go too long without eating, and it is a real pain to deal with. I get dizzy and very shaky when my blood sugar gets low, but I also feel confused and cranky. As the article said, this makes it very difficult to solve the problem.

Usually I make sure to carry snack with me at all times (usually some kind of protein bar), and I try to head off the low blood sugar before it even starts. If I know I'm going to be late having a meal, I try to eat the snack before I start feeling bad.

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