Hypoglycemia without Diabetes

What is Hypoglycemia without diabetes?

Hypoglycemia is most commonly known as low blood sugar [1]. This is a phenomenon wherein the lowering of blood sugar is uncontrolled. Thus blood sugar in the body serves as an energy source [1]. Thus, hypoglycemia without diabetes or non-diabetic hypoglycemia means the lowering of blood sugar in person without suffering diabetes.

Types of Hypoglycemia without Diabetes

Fasting Hypoglycemia

This type of hypoglycemia without diabetes happens when a person did not impart food for duration of eight hours or longer [2].

Reactive hypoglycemia

This type of hypoglycemia without diabetes happens in duration of two to four hours after food intake. This is most commonly recognized in people who have undergone gastric bypass surgery [1].


Intake of medication/drugs

Oral anti-diabetes or anti-hyperglycemic drugs should be individualized because when a person took in drugs for the treatment of diabetes but doesn’t have diabetes, this will result to hypoglycemia. Usually anti-diabetes or anti-hyperglycemic drugs should maintain the sugar blood level in the body but once it is taken up by non-diabetic patient it will cause rapid lowering of blood sugar levels. [4]

Too much alcohol intake

People tend to drink alcohol without an intake of food. This will hinder the release of the stored sugar into the liver that will circulate throughout the entire system. As a result, there will be a lowering in blood sugar. Alcohol intake can impede the building up of sugar molecules to the liver as it is an organ for metabolism. Because of the intake of alcohol without food it will affect the production of sugar molecules as well as the stored sugar molecules in the liver. [4]

Critical Illnesses

Several illnesses can to decrease in blood sugar

  • Severe liver damage [4] can deplete blood sugar due to the decrease in metabolism caused by the impairment or destruction of the liver.
  • Kidney failure [4]. There is a low potential for the toxic substances metabolized to get out in the system, thus affecting the level of sugar in the body. Toxic substances that are filtered in the body through the kidney can hinder the production or generation of sugar molecules.
  • Anorexia Nervosa [4]. There is a long duration of starvation in the body leading for the body to deplete blood sugar. Deprivation to eat or starvation for a long duration of time not only decreases the level of sugar in the body but also causes fatigue and weakness. Sugar is the one of the sources of energy in the body. And also brain can function properly if there is enough sugar circulating the entire system.
  • Heart failure [8]. Hypoglycemia is considered the reason for angina pectoris, shortness of breathing and faster heart rate on patients with heart failure.
  • Sepsis [8] or the presence of infection can lower blood sugar levels most especially to patients with limited stored sugar in the body. Most probably because of these underlying conditions there is an overused glucose in the body cause by hormonal changes or deficiency of glucose in the system due to the impairment of these organs.

Insulin overproduction

There is an enlargement of beta cells [3] in the pancreas causing it to overproduce insulin. Thus, high insulin results to hypoglycemia.


These tumors [3] can use the glucose in the body thus depleting the sugar in the body. A tumor secretes insulin even though the blood sugar is low.

Signs and Symptoms

The following signs and symptoms are observed among people with hypoglycemia without diabetes [5]:

  • Paleness
  • Tremors or shakiness
  • Fatigue and weakness – due to decrease in energy
  • Nausea and vomiting – due to starvation
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Increase sweating and perspiration
  • Lack of focus
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsion
  • Coma

Diagnosis of Hypoglycemia without diabetes

A person should possess visible sign and symptoms of hypoglycemia without diabetes, as shown above. When a person reflects those signs and symptoms, certain tests are conducted. Once the patient is admitted to the institution, he/she will receive its normal consumption of food unless the physician orders for tests to be conducted to the patient suffering from the visible signs and symptoms of non-diabetic hypoglycemia.

72 hour fast

The test starts at 6pm until the duration of 72 hours [1]. The patient will not be advice to take in solid foods and other liquids except for drinking water. The patient will still be allowed to continue his/her medication regimen. A complete supervision should be done by the health care provider. After which blood sugar levels can be measured by finger prick blood sample.

Mixed meal tests

Health care providers will give you a meal that contributes in the lowering of your blood sugar [5]. After a while, health care providers will test your blood sugar levels if it changes significantly.

Blood test

These tests are conducted to view underlying conditions that leads to hypoglycemia.

Treatment for Hypoglycemia without Diabetes

In order to treat hypoglycemia without diabetes, a person should eat foods rich in glucose or sugar. [6] such as raisins, juice, milk, crackers or candy in order to sustain the glucose or sugar in the human’s system. You can also ask for your physician to prescribe you glucose tablets if necessary. Do not hesitate to change your lifestyle [7] for your betterment.

Have a regular exercise [7] with the advice of your doctor and have a healthy diet approved by your physician. Exercise decreases blood sugar level [6] but it will not cause hypoglycemic episodes in people.


  • In order to control the frequency of hypoglycemia in patient without diabetes, he/she should modify his/her diet accordingly.
  • Eating meals in small portion but frequent [5]. It is better to eat in 3-6 portions a day than to eat 3 big meals per day.
  • Do not starve yourself. Depriving person to eat can more likely lower blood sugar.
  • Avoid caffeinated food or drinks – has the same signs and symptoms as hypoglycemia and makes patient feel worst.
  • Do not drink too much alcohol/liquor. [5]
  • Eat nutritious foods such as green leafy vegetables (spinach, cabbage, broccoli) and fruits (pineapple, grapes, banana).


  1. http://www.endobible.com/investigation/supervised-72-hour-fast/
  2. http://healthclop.com/low-blood-sugar-without-diabetes-symptoms-and-causes/
  3. http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/kb/content/mini/rt1054.html
  4. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypoglycemia/DS00198/DSECTION=causes
  5. http://www.drugs.com/cg/non-diabetic-hypoglycemia.html
  6. http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/bloodsugarlow.htm
  7. http://www.instagucose.com/hypoglycemia-facts
  8. http://www.livestrong.com/article/146115-what-causes-hypoglycemia-in-non-diabetics/

Published on by under Diabetes.
Article was last reviewed on September 4th, 2016.

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