Diabetes vs. Hypoglycemia: What Is The Difference?

Diabetes and hypoglycemia appear as very similar conditions because one of the consequences of diabetes can be hypoglycemia. Both conditions involve glucose, the body’s main form of energy. But there are important differences between the two phenomena.

Diabetes

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes involve either a lack of insulin or insufficient insulin functioning. Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar (glucose) and thus it is very important to maintain proper levels of insulin. Diabetics often encounter highly elevated levels of glucose in the body, but these levels can plummet due to diabetes medications.

Low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia, develops when the body does not have enough glucose to fuel the cells, usually as a result of diabetes medication. Too much or too little glucose can cause major problems in the body. The symptoms of low blood sugar differ from person to person, but common symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia itself is typically a symptom of other conditions and events, such as excessive alcohol consumption, liver and kidney diseases, and endocrine deficiencies. Most cases of temporary hypoglycemia occur when the body is in a fasting state and can be relieved by eating a good source of carbohydrates such as crackers, fruits, or milk.

Sources: WebMD and the Mayo Clinic
Photo: Pexels

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