Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) occurs when blood glucose drops to insufficient levels. In adults and children older than 10 years, hypoglycemia is uncommon except as a side effect of diabetes treatment, but it can result from other medications or diseases, hormone or enzyme deficiencies, or tumors.

Carbohydrates are the main dietary sources of glucose. They are an essential part of the diet, of which they provide roughly 40% to 45% of the body’s total energy supply. Carbohydrates provide the fuel for all of the bodily processes such as the immune system, cardiorespiratory function, nervous system, growth and development, respiration, blood clotting and fertilization. In addition, carbohydrates maintain a structural component in cells (cellulose in plants) and tissues (cartilage in animals), and they are also involved in the storage and transport of energy throughout the body. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps glucose enter cells. If you take in more glucose than your body needs at the time, your body stores the extra glucose in your liver and muscles in a form called glycogen. Glycogen stored in muscle is important for individuals involved in sports. When fast-twitch muscle fibers are activated (as a need for quick bursts of energy), the body will use the glycogen stores as its primary source of fuel. The primary function of liver glycogen, during exercise, is in the regulation of blood glucose levels and also to take up nutrients from the blood.  Liver glycogen, in addition to the glandular roles it plays during exercise, is also important in brain function. Extra glucose can also be converted to fat and stored in fat cells.

Hypoglycemia is mostly related to diabetes. Those who do not have diabetes, do not typically experience episodes of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia unawareness is a condition in which people no longer experience the usual warning signs of hypoglycemia.

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia


Nervousness and shakiness


Dizziness or light-headedness



Difficulty speaking


Causes of Hypoglycemia

Taking too much blood sugar-lowering medication

Delaying or missing meals

Strenuous exercise

Drinking too much alcohol

Prolonged fasting

Early pregnancy

Hereditary enzyme or hormone deficiencies

A reaction to certain foods

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