What is the prognosis of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)?

Updated: Jul 23, 2020
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

The prognosis of hypoglycemia depends on the cause of this condition, its severity, and its duration. If the cause of fasting hypoglycemia is identified and treated early, the prognosis is excellent. If the problem is not curable, such as an inoperable malignant tumor, the long-term prognosis is poor. However, note that these tumors may progress rather slowly. Severe and prolonged hypoglycemia can be life threatening and may be associated with increased mortality in patients with diabetes.

If the patient has reactive hypoglycemia, symptoms often spontaneously improve over time, and the long-term prognosis is very good. Reactive hypoglycemia is often treated successfully with dietary changes and is associated with minimal morbidity. Mortality is not observed. Untreated reactive hypoglycemia may cause significant discomfort to the patient, but long-term sequelae are not likely.

A study by Boucai et al found that drug-associated hypoglycemia was not associated with increased mortality risk among patients admitted to general wards. This suggests that hypoglycemia may be a marker of disease burden and not a direct cause of death. [18]


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