What is hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia and diabetes represent two opposing ends of a spectrum. Hypoglycemia is defined as low blood sugar level in the body that can lead to fatal conditions, whereas diabetes is when the blood sugar level is higher than the normal range.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a syndrome, or a collection of signs and symptoms of high blood sugar. In general, there are two types of diabetes; type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is when patients require insulin to sustain their daily activities because their own immune cells have attacked and destroyed most of the insulin-producing cells in their pancreas. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a condition where patients have elevated levels of insulin that are not put to use because the cells in their body have become resistant to insulin. Additionally, factors such as diet and an inactive lifestyle leads to further hormonal imbalances that impede blood sugar metabolism.

Difference between hypoglycemia vs diabetes

Hypoglycemia is a sign of danger and not necessarily a disease on its own. It is most frequently caused by certain medications, such as insulin injections, oral anti-diabetic medications, and alcohol. Other causes, such as liver, heart, or kidney failure and tumors that produces excess insulin, such as insulinoma, are less common. There are three developments or symptoms that will indicate a hypoglycemia diagnosis: the development of certain symptoms, such as tremors, muscle weakness, dizziness, blurry vision, hunger, and sweating; low blood sugar levels during the onset of these symptoms; and the recovery from these symptoms upon the administration of glucose or the hormone called glucagon.

People with diabetes will experience symptoms such as increased eating and drinking, excessive urination, and unintentional weight loss. Patients with these symptoms should undergo clinical investigations into their fasting glucose levels and glycosylated hemoglobin levels and other metrics. Diabetes can have a multitude of causes, and these causes usually determines its time of occurrence in the patient and the type of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, it has been reported that it is caused by antibodies in the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas in 90% of the cases, while type 2 diabetes are caused by genetic inheritance in 90% of the cases.

Overall, the differences between hypoglycemia and diabetes are vast, and they should never be confused for one another.

Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.