Research suggests that there may be a link between COVID-19 and the severity of hypoglycemia symptoms. However, it is not clear whether COVID-19 can actually cause hypoglycemia.

There’s a growing body of research suggesting that there may be a link between COVID-19 and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

COVID-19 treatments or complications can be a significant factor in triggering hypoglycemia symptoms or making the condition more severe, but research hasn’t proven that there’s a direct link.

Read on to learn more about the connection between COVID-19 and hypoglycemia, other causes of hypoglycemia to watch out for, and treatment options that may help.

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No research suggests that COVID-19 can directly cause new cases of hypoglycemia.

However, several case studies indicate that there may be a close connection between existing cases of hypoglycemia and health outcomes related to COVID-19 infections. It is important to know that data is limited in this area and case studies don’t always reflect patterns in the wider population.

A 2020 review suggests a connection between COVID-19 and both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) — both appeared to increase a person’s risk of dying of COVID-19 during hospitalization.

Some research also indicates that in limited cases, COVID-19 may cause new episodes of hypoglycemia due to its effect on the immune system.

A 2023 case study followed an 83-year-old male with a COVID-19 diagnosis who began having new episodes of hypoglycemia a month later. His COVID-19 symptoms were mild, but he developed a form of hypoglycemia triggered by his immune system. Though he had no history of hypoglycemia or autoimmune conditions, he had been previously diagnosed with vascular dementia, atrial fibrillation, and high blood pressure.

Further research is still needed to understand the impact COVID-19 may have on our health and whether it can trigger conditions like hypoglycemia or make the condition worse.

There are several types of hypoglycemia, including reactive and non-reactive hypoglycemia.

Reactive hypoglycemia can occur right after a meal when the body releases insulin in response to increased blood sugar from food or beverages.

Non-reactive hypoglycemia happens when an underlying condition triggers low blood sugar in people who don’t have diabetes. Some common causes include:

Common causes of hypoglycemia in people with diabetes include:

  • eating less than you need to
  • skipping meals altogether
  • consuming alcohol
  • taking more insulin than you’re supposed to
  • exercising more without modifying your diet or medications

Some treatment options for hypoglycemia include:

  • consuming an extra 15 grams (g) of carbs each day to boost blood sugar levels
  • drinking fruit juice to increase your glucose levels
  • eating foods like pasta and whole grains to increase your absorption of complex carbohydrates that can help you manage blood sugar
  • taking glucose tablets for severe hypoglycemia
  • injecting glucagon for severe or life threatening hypoglycemia

If you have diabetes, you can help prevent hypoglycemia by:

  • keeping track of your blood sugar levels
  • eating a consistent and healthy diet
  • taking diabetes medications regularly
  • following your physical activity schedule closely and discussing any changes with a doctor
  • using fruit juice or glucose to maintain low blood sugar

If you don’t have diabetes, you can help prevent hypoglycemia by:

  • eating regularly and having healthy snacks with balanced carbs, proteins, and healthy fats
  • eating healthy snacks when you feel symptoms of hypoglycemia, such as sweating or shakiness

You should speak with a doctor if you notice any severe symptoms of low blood sugar or diabetes, such as:

Can I be hypoglycemic without being diabetic?

In rare cases, you can be hypoglycemic without being diabetic. This typically occurs due to an underlying condition, such as anorexia or kidney problems or from drinking an excess amount of alcohol.

What is dangerously low blood sugar?

Dangerously low blood sugar is when your levels fall below 54 mg/dL. In this instance, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Can a virus make your blood sugar drop?

Common virus symptoms, such as diarrhea and vomiting, can cause your blood sugar to drop.

There’s no evidence that COVID-19 causes hypoglycemia by itself.

However, some case studies and other research suggest that COVID-19 may trigger hypoglycemia or worsen previous cases of hypoglycemia.

It is important to speak with a doctor if you’re concerned about new episodes of hypoglycemia after testing positive or being treated for COVID-19.