Health A-Z

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Expected Duration

An episode of hypoglycemia caused by exercise or by too much short-acting insulin usually can be stopped within minutes by eating or drinking a food or beverage that contains sugar (sugar tablets, candy, orange juice, non-diet soda). Hypoglycemia caused by sulfonylurea or long-acting insulin can take one to two days to go away.

People with diabetes remain at risk for episodes of hypoglycemia throughout life because they need medications that lower blood sugar. Hypoglycemic episodes at night are particularly dangerous because the person often sleeps through part of the time that their blood sugar is low, treating the sugar level less quickly. Over time, repeated episodes can lead to impaired brain function.

About 85% of patients with an insulinoma will be cured of hypoglycemia once the insulin-secreting tumor is removed.

Many people without diabetes who have symptoms that seem like signs of low blood sugar do not truly have low sugar levels. Instead, the symptoms are caused by something other than low blood glucose.

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