In most cases, hypoglycaemia affects people with diabetes , although more rarely it can also occur as a result of other underlying conditions.
A common cause of hypoglycaemia is taking too much insulin for your current needs. Insulin is a medication that helps control your blood glucose levels. It's commonly used to treat Type 1 diabetes and is also recommended for somepeople with type 2 diabetes .
A fall in bloodglucose levels can also occur after taking too much oral hypoglycaemia medication, such as sulphonylurea, which causes a release of insulin. This medication is often usedto lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
For people with type 1 diabetes, maintaining the correct blood glucose level involves balancinghow muchinsulin you inject, the amount of food you eat, and how much energy you burn during exercise.
Hypoglycaemia may occur if you've taken your dose of insulin as usual, but your carbohydrate intake is lower than normal or has been used up more quickly. This may happen if you delay or miss a meal or snack, don't eat enough carbohydrate, or exercise more than usual.
People with diabetes who'vedrunk too much alcohol, or drank alcohol on an empty stomach, can also get hypoglycaemia.
However, it's not always possible to identify why a particular episode of hypoglycaemia has occurred, and sometimes it happens for no obvious reason.
Hypoglycaemia even mild casesis very rare in people who don't have diabetes. The possible causes are outlined below.
People without diabetes can sometimes experience hypoglycaemia if their pancreas produces too much insulin after a large carbohydrate-based meal. This is known as reactive hypoglycaemia.
It's not clear why this happens, although it's thought to be more common in people who are overweight or have had gastric bypass surgery .
In rare cases, a benign (non-cancerous) tumour in the pancreas may cause an overproduction of insulin, or the tumour itself may use up too much glucose.
Other possible causes of hypoglycaemia in people without diabetes are:
Find out about the symptoms of hypoglycaemia, what causes it, how it can be treated and managed, and how to prevent it.
It's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of hypoglycaemia, which can include feeling hungry, sweating, dizziness, tiredness and blurred vision.
Find out what can cause hypoglycaemia in people with and without diabetes.
Find out how you can treat an episode of hypoglycaemia after recognising the symptoms, and how to treat someone who's unconscious.
How to avoid hypoglycaemia if you have diabetes, including monitoring your blood glucose levels, eating carbohydrates and keeping treatment within easy access.