What Causes Low Blood Sugar?

Low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia, occurs when the levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood drop below normal levels. It can be caused by various factors, including:

  1. Medications for diabetes: One of the common causes of low blood sugar is the use of medications to manage diabetes, such as insulin or certain oral medications. These medications help lower blood sugar levels, but if the dosage is too high or not balanced with food intake or physical activity, it can lead to hypoglycemia.
  2. Delayed or missed meals: When meals are delayed, skipped, or not properly balanced, it can result in low blood sugar. The body relies on the intake of carbohydrates from food to provide glucose for energy. If there is a lack of glucose from food, blood sugar levels can drop.
  3. Excessive physical activity: Engaging in intense or prolonged physical activity without sufficient carbohydrate intake can deplete the body’s glucose stores and lead to hypoglycemia.
  4. Alcohol consumption: Drinking alcohol, especially on an empty stomach or in excessive amounts, can cause a drop in blood sugar levels. The liver prioritizes metabolizing alcohol over regulating blood sugar, leading to hypoglycemia.
  5. Certain medical conditions: Some underlying medical conditions can cause hypoglycemia. These include insulinomas (tumors of the pancreas that produce excessive insulin), adrenal gland insufficiency, liver disease, and kidney disorders.
  6. Hormonal imbalances: Imbalances in hormones other than insulin can also contribute to hypoglycemia. For example, deficiencies in cortisol or growth hormone can interfere with glucose regulation and lead to low blood sugar.
  7. Fasting: Prolonged fasting, such as during religious fasting or certain types of diets, can cause hypoglycemia if blood sugar levels are not properly maintained.

It’s important to note that while low blood sugar can occur in people without diabetes, it is more commonly associated with individuals who have diabetes and are on medications that lower blood sugar. If you experience symptoms of low blood sugar, such as dizziness, confusion, sweating, shakiness, or hunger, it is important to address it promptly by consuming a source of glucose, such as fruit juice, candy, or glucose tablets, and seeking medical attention if necessary.