Dangers of Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), also known as low blood glucose, happens when your blood sugar drops below normal levels. In most cases, low blood sugar is mild and temporary. However, serious cases can lead to serious complications. If you have diabetes or another medical condition that affects your blood sugar, monitor and manage your glucose levels routinely. If you experience unexplained, serious or recurrent low blood sugar, seek prompt medical guidance.

Dizziness or Lack of Coordination

Low blood sugar can affect the brain and lead to dizziness, mental confusion and impaired coordination. Such symptoms may pose dangers such as falling, difficulty or accidents while driving or personal injury while operating machinery or using sharp objects, such as kitchen knives. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, people with diabetes who skip meals, fail to properly take prescribed medications, exercise strenuously or drink alcohol in excess run high risk of hypoglycemia. In addition to diabetes, fasting, hormone deficiencies, tumors and organ failure can lead to hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar symptoms should be discussed with your doctor promptly, so that any underlying cause may be diagnosed and treated.

Seizure or Loss of Conciousness

Seizures or loss of conscious may result from severe or untreated cases of low blood sugar. Most often, milder symptoms arise first, which may include hunger, headache or sweating. To prevent serious complications of hypoglycemia, address mild symptoms promptly. Immediate ways to raise blood sugar to healthier levels include taking glucose tablets or gels, drinking 1/2 cup of orange juice or 1 cup of milk, or consuming 1 tablespoon of honey. Once serious symptoms arise, however, do not attempt to treat them on your own or wait for them to improve. If you have diabetes or other conditions that put you at risk for hypoglycemia, wearing a medical bracelet that indicates your condition may help improve your chance of receiving efficient treatment.

Coma or Death

Coma and death are rare potential risks of serious, untreated hypoglycemia. The best means of preventing life threatening consequences of hypoglycemia include consistent monitoring and management of your blood sugar as well as receiving proper diagnosis and treatment for any and all medical conditions that my impact your glucose levels. The Mayo Clinic warns that people with diabetes can potentially “over treat” their blood sugar symptoms, which increases risk of additional complications such as organ or blood vessel damage. In most cases, once underlying causes of hypoglycemia are treated and managed efficiently, adverse symptoms of the condition dissipate.

About this Author

August J. McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as “Healthy Aging,” “CitySmart,” “IAmThatGirl” and “ULM.” She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit – a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.