Pin Me

Does Shakiness From Low Blood Sugar Indicate Diabetes?

written by: weborglodge • edited by: lrohner • updated: 10/31/2010

If I get shaky from low blood sugar does that mean I am diabetic? The short answer is yes and no. Low blood sugar can be a symptom of other conditions not related to diabetes. Yet, it can be a serious health issue which requires careful monitoring.

  • slide 1 of 6

    Hypoglycemia

    The shakiness you feel from low sugar is a classic symptom of hypoglycemia. Other symptoms may include sweating, dizziness, and irritability. You may also feel sleepy or weak, explains the American Diabetes Association. If left untreated, the condition can progress to more serious symptoms such as fainting or seizures.

  • slide 2 of 6

    Diabetic Hypoglycemia

    blood-sugar-test Low blood sugar in a diabetic can be caused by problems with diabetic medication dosage. The dosage may be high, causing a drop in glucose levels. You may also not be eating enough to meet your body's need for energy, especially if you've been physically active.

  • slide 3 of 6

    Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia

    Although having low blood sugar can occur with diabetes, the question "If I get shaky from low blood sugar does that mean I am diabetic?" may be no for some individuals. Some people with reactive hypoglycemia may experience similar symptoms.

    You may feel shaky if you have eaten foods with a high glycemic index (GI) which cause a spike in blood sugar, followed by a rapid drop. You may feel these symptoms if it has been too long since you last ate. While the precise cause is not known, hormonal issues may play a role.

    Insulin acts to lower blood sugar after you have eaten. Another hormone, glucagon, supports the release of glucose when your blood sugar levels fall below normal. If you are not releasing enough glucagon, you may have issues with blood sugar.

  • slide 4 of 6

    Other Causes

    If you wonder if I get shaky from low blood sugar does that mean I am diabetic know that it can have other causes unrelated to health conditions. Some medications such as aspirin may trigger an episode of low blood sugar, explains the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. You may also experience symptoms if you are taking sulfa medications to treat a bacterial infection.

    Alcoholic beverages can also cause hypoglycemia in diabetic and non-diabetic individuals. Blood sugar is controlled in part by the liver which stores excess sugar. Glucagon promotes stored sugar breakdown for use by the body. When you drink, your body acts to break down the alcohol rather than raise your blood sugar. This causes those feelings of shakiness.

  • slide 5 of 6

    Prevention

    You can prevent low blood sugar if you are diabetic or not. Eating frequent, small meals during the course of your day ensures that your body has adequate sugar. You can also avoid the triggers for low blood sugar such as alcohol or starchy and sugary foods.

    Since low blood sugar can potentially be fatal, you should take your symptoms seriously. A snack of fruit juice or glucose tablets if you diabetic can restore your blood sugar to safe levels. The important thing is to be aware of low blood sugar symptoms so you can take the necessary actions.

    Photo by cohdra, MorgueFile

  • slide 6 of 6

    References

    American Diabetes Association: Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose)

    Mayo Clinic: Diabetic Hypoglycemia

    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Hypoglycemia