Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, is a deficiency of glucose in the bloodstream, causing muscular weakness and incoordination, mental confusion, and sweating. If severe it may lead to hypoglycemic coma. Hypoglycemia most commonly occurs in diabetes mellitus, as a result of insulin overdosage and insufficient intake of carbohydrates. It is treated by administration of glucose; by injection if the patient is in a coma, by mouth otherwise.
This is a condition of postprandial hypoglycemia, induced by excessive levels of insulin release from the pancreas. It can be divided into early and late forms, depending on whether the insulin release occurs less than or more than three hours after the meal. The early form is due to the rapid discharge of ingested carbohydrate from the stomach into the small bowel, immediately triggering hyperinsulinanemia. It can occur without obvious cause but is most commonly associated with upper-bowel surgery. The late form is due to a loss of the early-phase insulin response causing excessive postprandial hyperglycemia, which then itself triggers an exaggerated insulin response with subsequent hypoglycemia.