Blood sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day, but keeping it within the optimum range is crucial to avoid serious health issues. It's not just high blood sugar that is always a concern – low blood sugar also requires immediate medical attention.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says your blood sugar target should be 80 to 130 mg/dL before a meal and less than 180 mg/dL two hours after a meal.

Hypoglycemia is a medical condition that occurs when the blood sugar level is lower than the normal range (below 70 mg/dL). While it is commonly linked with diabetes, it can also occur in people who are on certain medications or dealing with serious conditions like severe hepatitis, cirrhosis, infections, kidney problems and advanced heart disease.

It may also happen to people when they miss a meal, exercise too much, take too much insulin or drink too much alcohol.

Signs of Hypoglycemia

When you have very low blood sugar, you may experience a range of symptoms, including headache, dizziness, fatigue, sweating, drowsiness, anxiety, hunger, tingling sensation on the skin, difficulty speaking, confusion and loss of consciousness. If not treated on time, it can lead to complications such as seizures, numbness in the mouth and tongue, loss of coordination and coma.

However, some people who have diabetes for a long time may not experience any of the symptoms even when their sugar level drops to a dangerously low level. The condition is called hypoglycemia unawareness. The best way to know if you have hypoglycemia is to check your blood sugar levels.

What to do when blood sugar levels are low

If you experience any of the symptoms, or the blood sugar levels are below 70 mg/dL, the CDC recommends taking any of these quick fixes: taking four glucose tablets, drinking four ounces of fruit juice or regular soda, or eating four pieces of hard candy. Check the blood sugar again after 15 minutes. If the blood sugar is still below 70 mg/dL, repeat them until the optimum levels are reached.

If the blood sugar levels are dangerously low, below 55 mg/dL, injectable glucagon is the recommended treatment. However, the patient may not be able to check blood sugar and treat it by themselves at this stage. People who are at high risk of very low blood sugar levels can keep a glucagon kit at home and get help from friends or family members to administer it. It is important to contact a doctor for emergency medical treatment immediately after the glucagon injection is given.

If the patient passes out with severely low blood sugar, giving a glucagon injection may help them recover within 15 minutes. If the person doesn't regain consciousness after the first injection, a second dose is recommended. Once the patient is awake and can swallow, feed the person a rapid sugar source like a regular soft drink or fruit juice, followed by a longer-lasting sugar source such as crackers with cheese or a meat sandwich.