Skip to main content

Can you have hypoglycemia without diabetes?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Oct 25, 2021.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Yes, people without diabetes can have hypoglycemia, also called low blood sugar, but it is not very common. Hypoglycemia occurs most frequently in people with diabetes. The symptoms can be similar in both groups, but may be more serious in people with diabetes.

Symptoms may include:

  • feeling hungry
  • feeling anxious or worried
  • sweating or shakiness
  • fast heart rate
  • passing out (unconsciousness)

Blood glucose (blood sugar) is the main source of energy our body uses. We normally get this from food. When blood glucose falls, our body cannot function normally and we will have symptoms. Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels drop below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

What causes hypoglycemia in non-diabetics?

Causes of low blood sugar in people who do not have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes can be due to several factors. Symptoms of hypoglycemia in non-diabetics can occur if you:

  • have not eaten for a while
  • take a medicine that can lower your blood sugar
  • drink too much alcohol, especially over several days
  • have a disease of their liver, kidney or pancreas
  • have had weight loss surgery
  • have the eating disorder anorexia nervosa
  • have a certain hormone condition

This is not all the information you need to know about hypoglycemia and does not take the place of talking to your doctor. Discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.

References
  • Patient education: Low blood sugar in people without diabetes (The Basics). Up To Date. Accessed Oct. 25, 2021 at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/low-blood-sugar-in-people-without-diabetes-the-basics

Related medical questions

Related support groups