The majority have type 2 diabetes, but an important minority have type 1 diabetes (~5%). Contrary to popular belief, type 1 diabetes is not a childhood disease. It occurs at every age, in people of every race, and of every shape and size. In fact, there are more adults who have type 1 diabetes than children, although it was previously known as juvenile diabetes.
For people with diabetes, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) occurs when there's too much insulin and not enough sugar (glucose) in the blood. Hypoglycemia is defined as blood sugar below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3.9 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
Several factors can cause hypoglycemia in people with diabetes, including taking too much insulin or other diabetes medications, skipping a meal, or exercising harder than usual.
Pay attention to early warning signs, so you can treat low blood sugar promptly. Treatment involves short-term solutions — such as taking glucose tablets or drinking fruit juice — to raise your blood sugar into a normal range.
Untreated, diabetic hypoglycemia can lead to seizures and loss of consciousness — a medical emergency. Rarely, it can be deadly. Tell family and friends what symptoms to look for and what to do in case you're not able to treat the condition yourself.