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What Causes Your Low Blood Sugar Levels?

What Causes Your Low Blood Sugar Levels?

It is true no-one wants to receive a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes but if there was ever a time to be told you have this problem, this is it. Fortunately, enough is known about diabetes nowadays to make a reasonably normal life possible… but sometimes things can go out of control. This can be frustrating, but it doesn’t mean its time to throw in the towel. Type 2 diabetes is defined and diagnosed according to abnormally high blood sugar levels but for diabetics low blood sugars can be equally problematic.

Your diabetes can go out of control for a number of reasons. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is defined as a blood glucose level of below 70 mg/dL (4 mmol/L).

Reasons for hypoglycemia include:

problems with diet, exercise, or medications

skipping meals or snacks

eating later than usual

eating too much sugar or carbohydrate can trigger hypoglycemia. This may sound paradoxical but your blood glucose level may actually go down below normal because your pancreas, sensing a high level, can over-react and produce too much insulin, which can bring your blood glucose down to below the normal level. This is particularly true for type 2 diabetics who are being treated with insulin injections and who still have some pancreatic function.

Despite the obvious benefits to your blood sugar control through exercise, too much of a good thing can cause trouble. Check with your health care provider first so he can review your exercise program. Most providers will recommend:

measuring blood sugar levels before sport or other strenuous exercise

having a snack before beginning exercise if your blood glucose level is below 100 mg/dL (5.5 mmol/L)

it is a good idea to check blood glucose levels after your exercise as well.

Sometimes medications may be adjusted if unusual activity is planned.

Anti-diabetic medications can also be responsible for hypoglycemia:

a higher dose of insulin than is needed can lower your blood sugars far too much

oral hypoglycemic agents, which stimulate your pancreas to produce insulin, can be one of the culprits… Diabinese, Tolinase, and Orinase can cause your blood sugars to drop too far

it is important to take the right dose at the same time every day

Various drugs that can cause hypoglycemia include:

coumadin, or warfarin, given to prevent blood clots

arthritis drugs Zyloprim (allopurinol), Benemid and Probalan (probenecid).



These can all lead to hypoglycemia when combined with anti-diabetic medications.

Did you know that when reversing hypoglycemia, it is more difficult to reverse low blood sugars caused by taking a large dose of insulin than it is to reverse hypoglycemia caused from missing a meal?