Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a frequent problem for people with diabetes who take insulin or a medication that has the potential to cause hypoglycemia. Many people understand that hypoglycemia is the result of a mismatch between insulin and food. On a deeper level it can be thought of as more sugar leaving the blood stream from metabolism or movement into the cells than enters the blood stream from food or production from the body. In a person without diabetes, the first line of defense occurs when their body stops producing insulin. A person with Diabetes Type I is not capable of producing insulin and consequently lacks this response. The second line of response is secretion of glucagon. As a person with type I cannot produce insulin, he or she will not have this response because the insulin response triggers this reaction. Thus the person with Type I diabetes will lose this capacity as well. The third line of response is through the sympathetic nervous system. A person with type I diabetes will be able to do this but in limited capacity. The fourth line of response occurs when he or she recognizes the symptoms and and consumes sugar. If he or she has had a number of episodes of hypoglycemia, he may not develop any symptoms. Frequent hypoglycemia will limit his or her ability to control blood sugar. People with type 2 have insulin, glucagon, and the sympathetic nervous system works reasonably well at the onset of the Disease. With time, as they keep losing the beta cells which produce insulin, they start to lose the capacity to defend against hypoglycemia in a manner similar to that of somebody with Diabetes Type I. The mechanisms that prevent hypoglycemia are similar in both people with Diabetes Type I and Diabetes Type 2 but for those with Type 2 it occurs much later in the course of the disease. Have you had problems with hypoglycemia? Please comment below and share your experience.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.