People need glucose, a type of sugar, to provide them with energy. If the body is functioning normally, when blood sugar levels fall, the liver raises them by releasing stored glucose. When people have hypoglycemia, this doesn't happen, and blood sugar levels can become dangerously low. Although hypoglycemia is often associated with diabetes, other conditions can cause it, too. Signs of low blood sugar include confusion, hunger, shaking, dizziness, anxiety, weakness and difficulty speaking [source: MedlinePlus]. Left untreated, it's a dangerous condition. However, there are ways to avoid hypoglycemia.
If you have diabetes:
- Discuss which diabetes medications may be causing your hypoglycemia with your doctor. Be sure to take your medications at the time and in the dose recommended by your doctor.
- Eat regular meals and make sure to eat enough at each meal.
- Check your blood sugar before exercising, during prolonged exercise and periodically after exercise. If your blood sugar level is below 100 mg/dL, eat a snack.
- If you drink alcohol, be sure to eat a meal or a snack with your drink.
- If you are trying to maintain tight control over your blood sugar, discuss ways to avoid hypoglycemia with your doctor. Maintaining a blood sugar level that is as close to normal as possible can actually increase the risk of hypoglycemia [source: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse].
If you don't have diabetes but have reactive hypoglycemia:
- Eat a small meal or a snack every three hours.
- Exercise or engage in sports regularly.
- Eat a varied diet including lots of high-fiber foods and restrict your intake of sugary foods, especially when you haven't eaten.
If you have non-diabetic hypoglycemia, ask your doctor what condition is causing it and how to treat the underlying condition.