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Diabetes

Low Blood Sugar Levels

06/04/2010

Question:

I recently had a 4 hour gluclose test. My levels came back dropping to 37 and then 25. What can happen to me with such low levels?

Answer:

Normal glucose (blood sugar) levels are between 90 and 110, fasting, and up to about 145-150 after eating. When a person's blood sugar is low (below 70), often he/she will develop symptoms such as jitteriness, weakness, fatigue. If it gets really low (below 40-50), sometimes he/she will lose consciousness.

Some people are able to tolerate a low blood sugar; others don't, especially individuals who are older. Sometimes if a person has underlying coronary artery disease (hardening of the arteries), a low blood sugar could precipitate a heart attack.

The purpose of your 4 hour test was to see if your blood sugar gets low after eating. Obviously, at least for this test, it does. I am sure that your doctor will explain to you that it is important for you to eat frequent small meals (or snacks) while you are awake. Having such a low blood sugar over time is not healthy.

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Response by:

W. Fred Miser, MD W. Fred Miser, MD
Professor of Family Medicine
Director of Ohio State Medicine Residency Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University