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Recognizing Hypoglycemia: Common Symptoms and Causes

Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is the primary type of sugar in the body. It serves as a crucial energy source for cells, including brain cells. Throughout the day, your blood sugar level fluctuates due to factors like eating, exercise, sleep, stress, and hormones.

For most healthy individuals, the normal blood sugar levels are as follows:

  • Fasting (before meals): Between 4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L (72 to 99 mg/dL).
  • 2 hours after eating: Up to 7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dL).

However, these targets can vary based on individual factors such as age, health conditions, and lifestyle. People with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar levels closely to stay within the appropriate range. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Normal Range:
    • Fasting: Between 70 mg/dL and 100 mg/dL.
    • Prediabetes: Fasting blood glucose between 100 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL. Lifestyle changes can help manage prediabetes.
    • Diabetes Diagnosis:
      • Normal: Less than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L).
      • Diabetes: More than 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) after two hours.
      • Prediabetes: Between 140 mg/dL and 199 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L and 11.0 mmol/L).
  2. Why Blood Sugar Matters:
    • High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia):
      • Can lead to conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.
    • Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia):
      • Causes confusion, anxiety, weakness, sweating, and vision problems.
      • Extremely low levels can result in seizures and fainting.
  3. Managing Blood Sugar:
    • Diet and Lifestyle: Choose foods with minimal glucose impact.
    • Regular Monitoring: Test blood sugar levels as advised by your healthcare provider.
    • Medication and Insulin: Follow prescribed treatments if you have diabetes.
    • Medical Alert: Wear a bracelet indicating hypoglycemia episodes.

Remember, maintaining optimal blood sugar levels is essential for overall health and well-being.

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