Q: Sometimes I have episodes where my blood sugar drops and I feel very shaky. I don't have diabetes, so I don't understand why this happens to me. Do I have hypoglycemia?
A: Hypoglycemia is caused by low glucose levels and is usually seen in people with both types of diabetes. Glucose comes from what we eat and drink and is the main source of energy for your body and brain. Insulin is a hormone that helps keep blood glucose at normal levels so your body can work properly. Insulin helps glucose enter your cells, where it's used for energy. If your glucose level is too low, you might not feel well. Non-diabetic hypoglycemia is actually pretty rare and is usually connected to other illnesses or health conditions.
If you find yourself having these periods of low blood sugar frequently, you need to see your doctor for a full workup as soon as possible. You may be referred to an endocrinologist for the workup. Your test results will help you and your doctor develop a care plan. If they show you do have non-diabetic hypoglycemia, you will likely have more testing. Some known causes include hormone imbalances, tumors on the pancreas and enzyme deficiencies. Your doctor may also involve a registered dietitian in your care plan to look at what you eat and how it impacts your glucose levels.
Hypoglycemia is not a condition you can self-diagnose. Please make an appointment with your doctor so you can get on the path to feeling better.
— Dr. Laura Hill, CHI Memorial Family Practice Associates - Soddy Daisy; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society