Hypoglycemia: Know the Signs?>

Hypoglycemia: Know the Signs

by Peter Jaret  

The early symptoms of hypoglycemia—typically when blood sugar drops to 70 mg/dL or below—are a warning that you must immediately eat or drink something with sugar to raise your blood glucose level. Once blood glucose drops to below 40 mg/dL, you may develop severe neurologic symptoms that require emergency treatment.

Become familiar with both the early and the severe symptoms of hypoglycemia so you can act quickly:

  • Early symptoms: Anxiety, headache, hunger, irritability, profuse sweating, shakiness
  • Nighttime symptoms: Nightmares, profuse sweating, restlessness
  • More severe symptoms requiring urgent action: Confusion, disorientation, dizziness, drowsiness, impaired vision, lack of coordination, muscle weakness, numbness in the fingers or around the mouth, personality changes, slurred speech
  • Emergency symptoms: Seizures, loss of consciousness

This article first appeared in the January 2020 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.