What Causes Low Blood Sugar In Men and Women?

Both men and women will experience low blood sugar at least once in their lifetime. In a majority of these cases, the condition is not dangerous and can be easily corrected. But what causes low blood sugar – and can it be prevented?

The Relationship to Insulin

In diabetics, the most common cause of low blood sugar is accidental overmedication. This can be caused by switching insulin types, taking the wrong dose or injecting doses too close together to compensate for a high blood sugar spike. In mild cases, consuming a healthy snack (no simple sugars) or glucose tablet can restore normal glucose levels. This recent post covers the treatment of low blood sugar more extensively.

Reactive Hypoglycemia

Starting a fitness routine can provide a number of benefits, including lower cholesterol, increased control of sugar levels and reduction of obesity. Performing activities (such as walking) for 15 to 30 minutes a day can reverse many of the effects associated with a sedentary lifestyle and poor weight management. However, some individuals feel an intense start will “jump start” their health, but in fact the opposite is true.

Sudden and extreme exercise routines can trigger reactive hypoglycemia, or a sudden blood sugar low. This condition can cause mild to moderate symptoms at first, and may onset with no or little warning. It is the bodies’ natural warning too much glucose has been used to fast, and glycogen stores are being consumed – impacting some or all of the vital functions required for daily living. If exercise is continued and warning symptoms are ignored, this condition has the potential to become life threatening.

Consumption of Simple Sugars

Adult men and women of today are constantly on the go, and this often leads to poor meal choices. Grabbing a quick, sugary snack is often the solution to temporarily curb hunger or satisfy a sweet tooth. After consuming a meal or snack high in simple sugars, the molecules are broken down quickly, causing a temporary burst of energy.

But in non-diabetic individuals, this sudden increase is followed by the occurrence of low blood sugar levels. This “crash” can cause feelings of fatigue, irritability and trigger headaches. Consume sweets in moderation – otherwise the highs and lows cause your body to repeat an unhealthy cycle.

Irregular Eating Habits

Missing meals is the most common cause of low blood sugar today. Balancing multiple jobs, kids and pursing educational goals can cause men and women to forget or dismiss signs of hunger until the body falls into a hypoglycemic state. Creating a schedule or meal plan and adding snacks is the easiest way to correct this issue, and can help your body maintain normal glucose levels through the day.

Role of Alcohol

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or consuming beverages on an empty stomach can cause low blood sugar in normally healthy individuals. Because this substance is considered a poison by your body, it changes the flow of hormones and glucose. Eventually the body will stop producing energy, and focus on removing alcohol from the bloodstream. This change in focus will not only stall the production of energy, but cause glycogen to be consumed at a rapid rate. This condition is particularly dangerous to heavy drinkers, and those being treated for a hypoglycemic disorder or diabetics.

By knowing the causes of low blood sugar in women and men, hypoglycemia can be easily prevented. And if this condition does occur, glucose levels can be stabilized by eating a healthy snack or meal, and stopping strenuous activity in most cases.

For more on the topic please see this post which outlines some more simple and effective low blood sugar diet tips.

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