Hypoglycemia Symptoms

Hypoglycemia or an abnormally low blood sugar level is a common complication among diabetic patients. People with diabetes have poor control of their blood sugar level due to either a relative or absolute deficiency in insulin, the hormone that helps the body utilize glucose effectively.

Hypoglycemia may also occur in other disease states such as hormonal disorders or Addison's disease and due to starvation, malnutrition or poisoning.

The symptoms of hypoglycemia mainly arise due to over activity of the sympathetic nervous system which occurs in response to a fall in blood sugar. Some examples of such symptoms include:

  • Tremors - The patient often complains of feeling shaky or weak
  • Sweating - There may be intense sweating, with the skin appearing cold and clammy
  • Palpitations - There may be a rapid heart rate and palpitations
  • Anxiety, depression, tearfulness and feeling of dread
  • Restlessness
  • Dilated pupils
  • A sensation of pins and needles or tingling in the extremities such as the fingers and toes

Other symptoms that may manifest

As the blood sugar levels fall, the hunger centre in the brain may be stimulated, giving rise to intense hunger and noises made by the stomach called borborygmus. Nausea and sometimes retching can also result.

In newborn babies with hypoglycemia the symptoms include irritability, crying, jitters and jerky movements, difficulty in breathing, sweating, cold extremities (hands and feet), increased sleepiness, bluish discoloration of the hands and feet (cyanosis), refusal to feed and convulsions.

The brain

The brain is especially sensitive to a decreasing blood sugar level. Since the brain has a very minimal glucose reserve, it depends on the continuous availability of glucose and symptoms may manifest soon after the blood sugar drops. Some of these include:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness and light headedness
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty in concentrating and loss of judgement
  • Impaired coordination of movement
  • In cases of severe hypoglycemia, there may convulsions or seizures, loss of consciousness and even coma and death. Seizures or coma can also cause irreversible brain damage.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, June 20). Hypoglycemia Symptoms. News-Medical. Retrieved on June 14, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Hypoglycemia-Symptoms.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Hypoglycemia Symptoms". News-Medical. 14 June 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/Hypoglycemia-Symptoms.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Hypoglycemia Symptoms". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Hypoglycemia-Symptoms.aspx. (accessed June 14, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. Hypoglycemia Symptoms. News-Medical, viewed 14 June 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/health/Hypoglycemia-Symptoms.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
The Lancet study unveils exciting findings on retatrutide as a novel treatment for type 2 diabetes