Hypoglycemia refers to abnormally low blood glucose levels (typically less than 70 mg/dl). Treating hypoglycemia at the first warning sign is essential in preventing more serious manifestations, such as confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures. Early symptoms include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, headache, lightheadedness, moodiness, pallor, and confusion. As glucose levels fall further, loss of consciousness and seizures may result. To treat hypoglycemia, people with diabetes should take rapidly absorbable sugar orally in the form of fruit juice, regular (not diet) soda, glucose tablets, or glucose gel.
Some people experience a condition known as hypoglycemia unawareness, in which they do not experience the early warning signs of hypoglycemia. This increases the risk for the later, more serious manifestations, including loss of consciousness. For these people, frequent blood glucose testing is essential, especially before certain activities like driving.