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Identifying Hypoglycemia And The Different Types. Find Out Now If You Have It.

Updated on December 21, 2010

I am a sufferer of severe hypoglycemia for over 19 years now, what I'm going to discuss is how what seems to be the same type of of hypoglycemia, could very well be stemming from different problems, and what test you should ask the doctor to do for you to get the diagnosis, and what you can do to help minimize hypoglycemic episodes.

THIS ARTICLE IS NOT MEANT FOR CONSTANT DRINKERS OF ALCOHOL, as alcohol lowers the blood glucose artificially.

This article will also tell you how you can test yourself for hypoglycemia with almost 100 percent accuracy at home for less than $35. I spent tens of thousands getting properly diagnosed, so don't follow my mistakes.

Wouldn't my doctor know what to do? Not really at all, hypoglycemia without diabetes is actually not a very common thing to be diagnosed with at all. Some doctors can properly diagnose it, but they are the rarity. I had to go to over 20 different specialists, and over 15 different regular doctors to even begin getting diagnosed.

First of all, let's discuss the symptoms of hypoglycemia first, then we will categorize what could be causing them, and what tests you should ask for.


  • feelings of ravenous hunger
  • foggy-headed feeling
  • hunger
  • shakiness
  • nervousness
  • sweating
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • sleepiness
  • confusion
  • difficulty speaking
  • anxiety
  • weakness

Now that we have the symptoms out of the way, we must keep in mind that these symptoms can come from a variety of illnesses, but hypoglycemic symptoms ALMOST ALWAYS come after eating, or are relieved by eating. So if you are having symptoms and eating makes them go away, or you are having symptoms AFTER eating, then you should consider checking for Hypoglycemia!


The problem with going to the doctor to get diagnosed with hypoglycemia are the following:

  1. If they do a blood glucose level on you at the doctor's office, quite often the blood glucose level comes back fine. Low blood sugar tends to come in waves, cycles, and bouts, it usually does not last the entire day, so when a doctor draws your blood or pricks your finger, there is no telling if you are having a low blood sugar episode at that exact moment, so the test could be completely inaccurate.
  2. The standard tests doctors do ONCE they finally get a low blood sugar reading is send you off for a Glucose Tolerance Test. Even though this test is a good way to diagnose a certain type of hypoglycemia, it will leave out many other forms of hypoglycemia, so it, too can be unreliable in certain forms.

So, how can you find out today if you have hypoglycemia?

First of all, you will need a little over $30, but compared to a doctor visit/copay/tests/etc, this is not bad at all, because this $30 will allow you to check your blood glucose at many different times, not just once.

STEP 1) Go to your local WalMart, and purchase this Meter: Reli-On Ultima

ReliOn Ultima: $9

Why do I recommend this monitor specifically? Besides the fact that it's only $9:

1) It's accuracy is almost perfect with laboratory blood draws from the vein. The reviews on this monitor are near perfect!

2) The monitor and the strips for the monitor are one of, if not the the lowest cost test strips sold publicly across the USA.  You can find cheaper strips online, but the quality of the readings are NOT accurate most of the time. 

ReliOn Ultima Strips - Box of 50: $20

STEP 2) Buy a box of 50 strips for the meter, make sure they are for Reli-On Ultima.

These strips will cost you $20 for a box of 50. Keep in mind that OneTouch test strips cost $60 for a box of 50.

These strips are amazingly accurate for lows and highs.


Now keep in mind, if you are curious if you are having hypoglycemia, this test will be almost 100 percent accurate, as long as you test with the following rules:

  1. TEST WHEN SYMPTOMATIC!: I cannot stress enough that just taking a random blood glucose level will almost be of no use.  If you test your blood glucose level when symptomatic, and it comes back low, then you know that you are suffering from hypoglycemia and you can take these results to your doctor!
  2. ALWAYS USE ALCOHOL: (No, this is not an excuse to get drunk :) ) Never check your blood glucose level without wiping your finger off with rubbing alcohol.  Any items you may have touched during the day may have contained molecules of sugar, and they will remain on your finger, and if you do not wipe your finger, your reading will be higher than your actual glucose level.  
So go ahead, I promise it won't hurt long, prick your finger and make sure you have enough blood, and get your reading.


What is low? Well, the standards are different for every institution, which I find ironic, because we are who we are despite what hospital or doctors office we are in. It also depends on YOU, some people can be low in the 70s, some people can be low in the 80s, but some people may not be low until the 60s.

The American standard is now any level below 70 is considered low. Ten years ago it was any value below 80 that was low.

Personally, you can be hypoglycemic at different levels, I have always been hypoglycemic at anything below 90. My glucose level have been into the 30s, but I start to feel them in the 80s.

Write down all of your glucose values in your logbook to show to your doctor, and note what you were doing when you had a low, was it after you ate, was it when you hadn't eaten in a long time, were you having caffeine, etc.

If your readings are below 70, eat! If they are below 55, you may be in need of calling 911 if you cannot get it back up, in every ambulance they have dextrose shots and a shot called glucagon that raises the blood sugar very quickly.


  • Ask yourself this question: Was this blood sugar drop from not eating after a long period of time, or was this blood sugar drop AFTER eating?
  • Did you have any caffeine around the time of your drop or alcohol?
  • Are you a diabetic and did you take insulin?
  1. ) If you were drinking alcohol, your hypoglycemia is artificial and self-inflicted, alcohol naturally lowers the blood sugar, if you got a low reading after drinking alcohol, these results mean absolutely nothing.
  2. ) If you are a diabetic and have taken insulin; your results are also mean nothing, as insulin lowers the blood sugar level tremendously, talk to your doctor about controlling your dosage of insulin better.
  3. ) If you were having a caffeine energy drinks, also again this drop could be artificial, go off of all caffeine after 24 hours.
  4. ) If you had a drop AFTER eating, within 4 hours after eating you may have "Reactive" or "Postprandial Hypoglycemia", this means that your food has caused an unnatural increase in insulin which has in turn dropped your blood sugar too low. If you have this type of hypoglycemia, insist that your doctor give you a 4-6 hour glucose tolerance test, along with the doctor himself a level of your insulin, c-peptide, glucose from the vein, and any additional labs.
  5. ) If you had a drop upon waking, in the night, or after having not eaten for a long time, you may have "fasting hypoglycemia." This is the more rare type of hypoglycemia, and more dangerous, it generally comes from tumors, you will want to ask your doctor to give you a 72 hour fasting hypoglycemia test. This test is hard, I have done it twice, you have to fast from all foods and liquids (except water or diet Sprite) for 3 days, and they will take your blood sugar every so often in the hospital until it gets below a certain point, then the test is stopped, and blood is drawn to see if you have indications of a tumor.
  6. ) There is a very rare form of "fasting" hypoglycemia called Nesidioblastosis, that I was diagnosed with, and this form of hypoglycemia is very disabling to your lifestyle, it is also very difficult to diagnose.
Do not give up, keep a log of all of your sugars that are low, what you did around that time, and show the evidence to the doctors, if the doctor will not do more testing, change doctors, take your health into your own hands about a few issues. You can get this resolved!
For peace of mind during these hard times:
Give it to God, He has the power of healing, the power of sustaining, the power of mercy. He has kept you alive probably way longer than what natural circumstances would have allowed, if you only knew how many times He had spared all of our lives, you would be forever grateful. Rest knowing that your health is not subject to what doctors say, and that it is not in your control, or theirs, but God's, and nothing will happen unless He allows it, so be obedient, have a relationship with Jesus, and let him bless your life abundantly. I have over 5 diseases right now, that should have taken my life as a child, and now I am 30 writing about it, God sustains, he holds back the wind of strife sometimes, for we have a purpose here, and this life one thing is certain; it will not last, not for anyone, we are moving on to better things.
If you need advice or support, with your health, you can write to me at ANY time, and I will respond, you can do it in a comment or a private message. Thanks and keep the hope!

2010 Zachery Jenks /

Thackery Binks


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    • profile image


      18 months ago

      I found your testimony very hopeful. I feel I'm dealing with more than one issue and my symptoms confuse the doctors and frustrate me.

      I'll stick to the most resent symptoms. After I eat I have regularly experience light headedness, severe thirst, brain fog and fatigue to the point l need to lay down. I wake up most mornings feeling relatively with it, drink my coffee with nut pods due to dairy allergy and am still good. Within 15 minutes after eating I crash.

      I bought the meter you suggested but am really frustrated as to when I'm supposed to use it or what it all means. I saw a nutritionist out of desperation and she said it sounds like sugar dips. Don't know what that means either. I just knowthis is impacting my life in the negative and feel I'm crazy. Would appreciate any input. Thanks

    • slurpies profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Vale, NC

      Marcus, the God part is a very small paragraph at the bottom, don't let it ruin an entire article for you. In my life personally, all credit is due to Him. This doesn't mean anyone else has to agree. Thanks for the response anyhow. :)

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      this was such a great read until the god part lol

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing this. It's helpful to me.

    • profile image

      Chelsea Dziekan 

      3 years ago

      Email me

    • slurpies profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Vale, NC

      That's a tough situation. If you trust the brand of the glucose meter and strips for reliability sake then yeah, those readings don't specifically sound hypoglycemic. I have heard a number of endocrinologists say that one can be symptomatic from a rapid drop in glucose that doesn't actually ever hit a level of being hypoglycemia. They compared it to a sudden shock from change in readily available glucose. But if it isn't hitting hypoglycemic values, maybe something else is the issue.

      Anxiety is a real issue, as real as heart disease. I've had it severely since I was 14. Sometimes anxiety can be a byproduct of a physical disease, and sometimes it's standalone. I hope for your sake it's standalone.

      I had to wrestle with that notion of taking pharmaceuticals for anxiety and if it was truly trusting God... and it's a tough issue that I think the answer isn't always clear on. I think there were, and are things in my life I truly need to learn peace, joy and more faith in the Lord on... and then I would be able to handle them better. If I would step out in faith more... and worry less about my own life... because this life is not important... so self-focus was and is a portion of the problem for my and my worry. But on the other hand... neurotransmitters and very real and are very capable of being awry just like any other part of our bodies. We live in a broken world, with broken bodies... and sometimes God's given us common graces of diet, exercise, medication, herbals, etc to help cope with some difficult areas in health.

      I'm glad you're trying to figure out your own health... it's a tough journey.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      My glucose during symptoms will be in the low 80s. One time 90s.

      Just got back from Dr, he wants me to try an anxiety med. He thinks I might have anxiety, and it's manifesting itself in this way. Seeing as how my levels aren't off. In the height of one episode my glucose was 111. Not sure, it's like I'm going crazy. I'd hate to go on meds, it's like I'm saying I trust God for some things but not everything. Don't know why I'm being so honest with strangers. Hope it helps someone else.

    • slurpies profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Vale, NC

      Hi efrias005 :) Have you checked your glucose when you're symptomatic?

      Keeping a glucose diary for a week or so in relation to what you're eating can help us contributing factor, and what type of hypoglycemia you're experiencing.

      I just had a test done that showed my insulin levels going through the roof after meals. However my insulin levels, pro-insulin levels, and beta Hydroxybutyrate were all firm that my fasting insulin level is fine.

      If you find out you cannot tolerate carbohydrates due to hypoglycemia, there is a medication called Acarbose that is helpful for some. I am currently trying this medication out.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      This is exactly what I've been feeling! I'm always tired, weak. I wake up in the middle of the night to eat. Has this gotten manageable? I feel like this is going to be the rest of my life.

      I have to eat like every two hours, but don't know what to eat. Is do frustrating!

      Can we hey in touch?

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Where I live you have to have a prescription to purchase the testing strips now. Oh well.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hi. Thanks for putting the time and energy into posting this info. I think i have an atypical and dangerous kind of hypoglycemia that i'm trying to find out about on the web unsuccessfully. A week ago, i went for routine bloodwork & i got a blood glucose level of 32, and on the lab report, they put that result at the top of the page and put the word CRITICAL next to it. my doctor emailed me about it and asked how i was felling. i said i was feeling normal, but normally i tend to be groggy which i've attributed to sleeping meds i take (i have been tapering off of them, that is the goal). But after getting this lab result, i'm thinking about something else. A month before, i woke in the morning, walked toward the bathroom and fell, i didn't have any balance or coordination. or, i had some because i could get up and try again, though i fell again, and then i was more careful. i was worried. Otherwise, i didn't feel disoriented. i tried to make some instant oat meal but i couldn't hold the measuring cup under the faucet, that took too much coordination. I knew something was wrong with my brain. But after sitting around for a while, i tried again, it was getting worse, it was harder to walk. But i made the oatmeal, it's just oatmeal that you pour hot water onto in a bowl and it's done. While i was eating it, i noticed clearly that i was improving. i was sitting with my laptop, and i knew i could type. Before this, i couldn't type. also, the day before this happened, i had a headache all day, mild but persistent and didn't respond to medication, three doses, but went away while eating dinner. Lunch and breakfast did not make it go away. I eat a very simple diet, actually kind of a hypoglycemia diet i now realize. Anyway, a couple of days ago, i had another one of those episodes. I had the same kind of headache the day before, really the same pattern, no response to medication, went away during dinner. And then when i woke the next morning, i had the same disequilibrium and incoordination but MUCH WORSE, i was really scared. I live alone. i was falling if i tried to get up at all. i was on the floor, i had fallen out of bed, that's when i first woke up. i was in the process of falling out of my bed when i woke up. i realized it was like the other time but worse, and that i wanted to eat something, but i couldn't even crawl to the kitchen, crawling was too high a center of gravity, i would fall or crash into the wall, i drug myself to the kitchen on the floor, i got a piece of whole grain rye bread from a low shelf and leaned against a cabinet and took a bite. it was dry, but while i was chewing it, i found that i immediately started feeling improved. i knew before i'd finished one whole bite that i could get up and walk. After that i was fairly normal, the usual grogginess, probably the medication, or the meds mixed with hypoglycemia. This is hard for me to find stuff on the web about because i don't usually have this. Most days, i have breakfast really late, i go for a half hour walk first, i do yoga, i might do a little vacuuming. Then i have breakfast. i feel normal all day, with the normal grogginess. I eat lunch. I eat dinner. I don't get ravenously hungry, i have never gotten the shakes, i HAVE had some dizziness sometimes or lightheadedness, and i definitely in the past year and a half have gotten disorientation in the mornings occasionally. it goes away on its own, long before eating. I have attributed it to the sleeping meds. So, i'm wondering what i have. i haven't found other examples of anything that sounds like this at all, but i am new to the subject so i may not know what i'm looking for. I wanted to private message you but i couldn't figure out how. After what happened to me the other day, i know that i could die from this. i could go into a coma or seizures, i wouldn't even wake up, so i don't know what to do. Since then, i've kept bread next to my bed, but i was so much worse the second time that i know i might not even wake up next time. I appreciate your info here because it's helped me to think that i don't have reactive hypoglycemia, not in any usual sense anyway. And maybe i have a fasting hypoglycemia but not usually, i go from dinner around 6:30 until often noon the next day without eating with no hypoglycemic symptoms except for the grogginess that is a really common side effect of the medication i'm taking, Ambien, which i take both at bedtime and again to get back to sleep in the early morning, around 4 or 5. So, i always thought the grogginess was from that. Plus it doesn't vary throughout the day, it doesn't improve with eating, not that i've noticed, it seems to get better later, evening, which i thought was because the meds were wearing off. it seems like what i have is not going to be easy to diagnose? i wouldn't be surprised if the medication was getting my blood sugar out of whack. It's really unhealthy to take it and i'm definitely in the process of getting off. i was on two of them, i got off the first one and am cutting down the second one. is there a category of something like 'idiopathic hypoglycemia?' i ordered a home glucose meter from Amazon, it's called FreeStyle Lite. I couldn't find Reli-on Ultima. Now they have Reli-on Confirm, $33. The Free Style Lite was $14. But from what i could tell from reviews, they all are somewhat off in their results compared to a lab, some of them off by quite a lot, but they should be consistent with their own results. Anyway, i don't look forward to seeing doctors about this, it sounds like boring or scary or both, without leading to a solution. But i feel that my life is threatened and i just want to find out how to defend against that threat. Also what you said about God and being alive, yes.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I cannot thank you enough Zachary for posting this! I have searched and searched the internet for good info and this really, really helps! Thank you! It is life altering. I get so dizzy I feel like I'm going to faint/pass out. I am now afraid to drive. It really does impact your life when you've driven all your life and very independent.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I went to the dr. Yesterday and he sloppily diagnosed me with reactive hypoglycemia. I think that's pretty accurate i guess. When i went to see him I hadn't eaten in over 12 hours, he pricked my finger and i was at 4.6 what ever that means. He said that was right in the middle of the normal range. Because i didn't have diabetes he rushed me out of his office pretty quick. My blood sugar levels are absolutely devistating my life! I do believe i have reactive, but first thing in the morning is nearly impossible for me, i have no energy and all the symptoms of reactive diring those moments as well.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Email me at please I need to talk to someone

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi Zachery I found your information to be very interesting and think I too have some type of hypoglycemia. I also had a blood clot in my left and right lungs and am lucky to be alive up to this point. I suspect the situation with hypoglycemia has something to do with the clots. I am asking you to correspond with me and possibly you might be able to direct me to do the correct process in order to find out what might be happening. You can email me at

      Thank you,Ken

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Please email me at

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      can u email me so we can talk


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