Two people sat in a park on their laptops and tablets

00:11 – 00:13 So the other night, I was out for dinner.

00:14 – 00:18 As it turns out, I gave myself way too much insulin.

00:19 – 00:21 So throughout the meal, feeling pretty good.

00:22 – 00:23 Right. No real problems.

00:23 – 00:28 But then soon after the meal was over, my insulin is kicking in.

00:28 – 00:30 I’m taking fast acting insulin.

00:30 – 00:32 It’s kicking in,

00:32 – 00:36 and my blood sugar is plummeting.

00:37 – 00:39 Because I’ve overcompensated.

00:39 – 00:42 My CGM alarm went off

00:43 – 00:47 and my wife could tell I was a little bit out of it.

00:47 – 00:50 And so she got involved right away,

00:51 – 00:54 took the CGM, scanned my arm, looked at the blood sugar,

00:54 – 01:00 and you could tell that it was trending down, heading 60, 62,

01:00 – 01:06 heading into the low sixties, even into the upper fifties, which for me,

01:07 – 01:11 I’m sweaty, I’m tingly, and I’m not really well-oriented.

What Is Low Blood Sugar?

Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is when the amount of sugar in your blood drops below a certain blood sugar level. For most people, low blood sugar is below 3.9 mmol/L (millimoles of sugar per liter of blood) or 70 mg/dL (milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood).

Non-severe vs Severe Low Blood Sugar

Swipe to learn more about severe low blood sugar


An illustration of a person looking in the fridge and grabbing a drink

Have you ever...

  • …felt hungry, sweaty, or dizzy while on a walk with a friend, and needed to stop for a snack to feel better?
  • …felt shaky during a meeting, but were able to find some juice or food which helped you recover?

The common part of these situations is being able to treat yourself—which makes a low blood sugar event non-severe.
What is non-severe low blood sugar (non-severe hypoglycemia)

Non-severe low blood sugar is when your blood sugar is low, but you can still make decisions and act to treat it.

Have you ever...

  •  …needed help from a family member to get juice out of the refrigerator but it was hard finding the words to ask?
  •  …felt confused, clumsy, or weak due to low blood sugar, and were unable to think clearly or help yourself?

Both of these situations describe severe low blood sugar. If you are thinking, “Yes, that has happened to me,” you are not the only one. Being unable to treat yourself is what makes a low blood sugar event severe.

What is severe low blood sugar (severe hypoglycemia)?

Severe low blood sugar is when you have low blood sugar and you can't act to treat it. For example, this could be when you can't stand up, so you need someone to bring you some juice or candy.

What Are the Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of Severe Low Blood Sugar?

If left untreated, severe low blood sugar can cause serious harm, such as accidents or physical injury. This is why it’s important to recognize early warning signs, including:

Common Early Warning Signs

When you don’t have enough sugar in your blood, all parts of your body can be affected, including your brain. Symptoms that can happen when your brain doesn’t get enough blood sugar include:

Common Symptoms Caused by Lack of Enough Blood Sugar in the Brain

Take a moment to think about the signs and symptoms that YOU may have experienced, which may or may not be the same as those listed above.

Some people may have multiple signs or symptoms, while others may have minimal or no signs or symptoms until it becomes an emergency. In some  cases, especially in people who are unaware their blood sugar is dropping low, caregivers or loved ones may spot signs and symptoms before the person having them does.

Signs and symptoms can also be different between one severe low blood sugar event to another — you may feel confused during one severe low and irritable during a different severe low.



A severe low blood sugar event is characterized by needing help from someone else to recover and is not associated with a specific blood sugar level. If you or a loved one with diabetes experience a low blood sugar event, be sure to let your healthcare provider know—they can help with your action plan!

Review Your Knowledge



Scenario 1: Jane is a young mother who had to pick up her daughter from school unexpectedly, so she missed her lunch. She is starting to feel shaky and weak, but she finds some hard candy in her purse. After eating it, she feels better.

Is Jane experiencing non-severe low blood sugar or severe low blood sugar?


Well Done!

Jane is experiencing non-severe low blood sugar. Fortunately, Jane noticed that her blood sugar was dropping. She was able to bring her blood sugar back up by finding and eating some hard candy.


Scenario 2: Michael is 70 years old and accidentally injected a higher dose of insulin than normal. He goes to watch some television, not realizing the dosing error. A little while later, he is feeling dizzy and confused, but he can't get off the couch to drink some juice.

Is Michael experiencing non-severe low blood sugar or severe low blood sugar?

Learn More About Severe Low Blood Sugar Below

  1. International Hypoglycaemia Study Group. Diabetes Care. 2017;40:155-157.
  2. International Hypoglycaemia Study Group. What is hypoglycaemia? xanax sizes. Accessed November 1, 2021
  3. American Diabetes Associated Workgroup on Hypoglycemia. Diabetes Care. 2005;28(5):1245-1249.
  4. Edridge CL, et al. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(6):e0126427.
  5. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2021;44(1):S73-S84.
  6. Edelman SV. Diabetes Educ. 2014;40(3):269-279.
  7. Frier BM. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014;10(12):711-722.
  8. International Hypoglycaemia Study Group. Diagnosis of hypoglycaemia. klonopin xanax. Accessed November 1, 2021.