People who are not diabetic may experience hypoglycaemia, this can be triggered by malnutrition, binge drinking or certain conditions, like Addison’s disease.
Low blood glucose levels, symptoms occur when blood sugar levels drop to between 3 and 4 millimoles per litre (mmol).
Early warning signs are feeling hungry, trembling or shakiness, and sweating. In severe cases, confusion, difficulty concentrating and may even lose consciousness. During sleep causing excess sweating, disturbed sleep, feeling tired and confused when waking up.
The immediate treatment for correcting hypoglycaemia is to eat food or drink containing sugar, such as dextrose tablets, fruit juice, dried fruit to correct blood glucose levels. Then, eat a slow release “starchy” carbohydrate food, such as a banana, a few biscuits, a sandwich or a small pasta or rice meal.
Missing meals or snacks or eating less carbohydrate than planned can increase your risk of hypoglycaemia. Be careful when drinking alcohol as this can also cause hypoglycaemia, sometimes many hours after drinking.
Exercise or activity is also an important cause of hypoglycaemia and you should have a plan for dealing with this, such as eating carbohydrate before, during or after exercise. Have a banana, or glucose tablets, a carton of fruit juice (one containing sugar) or some dried fruit, in case you feel symptoms coming on or your blood glucose level is low.
When hypoglycaemia occurs because of an underlying condition other than diabetes, the condition will also need to be treated to prevent a further hypo, so see a doctor.
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