Low blood sugar is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar levels are abnormally low, but return to normal after taking glucose. The medical term for low blood sugar is hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia occurs most frequently in conjunction with diabetes, but can also be a problem for those who are not diabetic. Low blood sugar tends to occur early in the morning because your blood sugar levels drop drastically while you sleep.
Low blood sugar often occurs in diabetics who use insulin to treat their condition. Other causes include long periods of fasting and in people who take beta blocker medication and exercise too much. Some children may experience low blood sugar symptoms if they take aspirin. People who are very sensitive to the effects of alcohol may also get low blood sugar after consuming a significant amount of alcohol.
Low blood sugar can cause many different symptoms. These symptoms vary depending on individual body chemistry. Common symptoms include feeling weak or shaky, a temporary depressed mood, and extreme hunger. People with low blood sugar also frequently feel confused or tired. They may also feel anxious and have an increased pulse and speed of breathing until they experience a raise in their blood sugar levels.
If you think you may have bouts of low blood sugar, you should see your doctor. The goal is to test early in the morning, when you are feeling the effects, so the doctor may have you test yourself using a home glucose monitor. Then, you must fast for awhile. Once this fasting has produced low blood sugar, the doctor will draw blood and run tests on it. This helps the doctor to pinpoint why you have low blood sugar.
Most of the time, early morning low blood sugar can be treated easily. If you can feel that your blood sugar levels are too low when you wake up, eat or drink something with sugar in it. Examples include soda (not diet), candy, or juice. You can also take glucose tablets or gels to boost your blood sugar.
Low blood sugar can be prevented with planning and dietary changes. Make sure you eat a small snack before you go to bed. It should include a bit of natural sugar, like a piece of fruit. You should also eat several small meals throughout the day to get your body used to a stable blood sugar level. Avoid ingesting alcohol before bedtime, because it will cause your blood sugar to spike, then drop drastically.