What is hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)?

Updated: Sep 12, 2019
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Hypoglycemia is characterized by a reduction in plasma glucose concentration to a level that may induce symptoms or signs such as altered mental status and/or sympathetic nervous system stimulation. This condition typically arises from abnormalities in the mechanisms involved in glucose homeostasis. The most common cause of hypoglycemia in patients with diabetes is injecting a shot of insulin and skipping a meal or overdosing insulin. [1]

The image below depicts a diagnostic algorithm for hypoglycemia.

Diagnostic algorithm. A systematic approach is oft Diagnostic algorithm. A systematic approach is often required to establish the true cause of hypoglycemia, using an algorithmic approach.

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