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A panic attack is very sudden in onset and includes an intense fear and anxiety. There is often no warning and no apparent reason for it, but they can be triggered by a stressful event such as bereavement.
During a panic attack your body goes into fight or flight mode - your breathing rate increases, muscles tense and heart rate quickens.
Low blood sugar – or hypoglycaemia – is when the glucose level in your blood is too low. It is often associated with being diabetic, but can also be caused by other factors, including skipping a meal, intense exercise or activity, and binge drinking.
While the two are very different, some of the symptoms – such as trembling, sweating and a high heart rate – are similar.
Here is a full list of symptoms for both so you can differentiate.
A low blood sugar level can cause a number of symptoms that get better a few minutes after eating sugar. They include:
See our sugar crash infographic for information about how to manage your sugar levels. And if low blood sugar does turn out to be the cause of your symptoms, whether it’s associated with diabetes or not, you may wish to visit our diabetes centre, where you’ll find lots more information, tips and tasty recipes to help you avoid low blood sugar attacks in the future.
These are the common symptoms that people can feel during a panic attack:
For more information about anxiety and panic attacks, visit our mental health centre. Here you’ll also find real life examples of people experiencing similar symptoms to your own, including Anna’s story about learning to live with anxiety.
If you’re still unsure what’s been happening to you, talk to your doctor who will be able to help work out which applies to you and discuss how best to manage your symptoms.
Answered by the Health at Hand team
Treatment, causes and prevention of low blood sugar – NHS Choices
Managing and treating anxiety and panic attacks – AXA PPP healthcare
Learning to live with anxiety – Anna’s story
Diabetes centre – AXA PPP healthcare
Mental health centre – AXA PPP healthcare
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