Glucose is the main source of energy for the body. When it’s in abundance, we feel vigorous and full of power. But if the blood sugar level is constantly low, the organs and tissues will lack nutrition which may lead to hypoglycemia. This is a condition in which blood sugar levels drop sharply.
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to help a person with hypoglycemia. In order to increase blood sugar, it’s enough to feed a person with food or drinks containing a large number of fast carbohydrates such as chocolates, bananas, cookies or juice.
If ignored, hypoglycemia can cause serious health problems including seizures, heart, blood, vessel, brain damage and may even lead to hypoglycemic coma.
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
It is not difficult to recognize hypoglycemia because it has quite characteristic signs that occur one after another as glucose deficiency increases. The symptoms include:
- unexplained anxiety and irritability
- mild nausea
- heart palpitations
- pale skin
- slight dizziness
- trembling fingers
- loss of concentration
When to Call the Doctor?
Use the severity of your situation to determine when to call the doctor. You should immediately call a doctor if you notice the following symptoms:
- you are alone and feel that you are about to lose consciousness
- symptoms of hypoglycemia increase and they are not reduced by foods rich in fast carbs
- a person with symptoms of hypoglycemia has passed out before your eyes
- you suffer from diabetes and you notice increased symptoms of hypoglycemia just when you don’t have any necessary medication
Why Does Hypoglycemia Occur?
The good news is that hypoglycemia is reversible. But it’s better to prevent this condition. Therefore, you need to know things that may cause it.
1. Diabetes medications
Diabetes is a condition in which the blood sugar level is too high. This is due to the fact that the body doesn’t use insulin well. Organs and tissues cannot take sugar from the bloodstream and as a result, the blood is over-saturated with glucose.
This condition is called hyperglycemia. To prevent hyperglycemia, patients with diabetes take insulin or other medications that lower blood sugar. With an overdose of diabetes medications, blood sugar may sharply decrease which causes hypoglycemia.
Therefore, to avoid this condition people with diabetes should be under the control of primary care physicians and properly take medications.
2. Lack of nutrition
Blood sugar levels decrease in those who regularly skip meals or are on a strict diet or suffer from an eating disorder. Lack of nutrition is especially dangerous for people with diabetes.
Immediately after an injection of insulin, you must eat at least something. Insulin causes cells to literally suck out glucose from the blood and if you don’t replenish its supplies, you can get hypoglycemia.
Calorie deficiency doesn’t always lead to hypoglycemia. But if you experienced this condition then try to change your daily menu, eat in small portions but regularly.
3. Doing sports on an empty stomach
If you haven’t eaten for a long time, your blood sugar is unexpectedly low. During physical activity, your body actively uses glucose which may lead to hypoglycemia. If you notice the first symptoms, you should urgently reduce physical activity or end your training.
To avoid hypoglycemia during physical activity, you should eat one and a half to two hours before training.
4. Alcohol abuse
If you drink too much alcohol without any snack, your liver will be too busy with detoxification and will not release glucose into the blood which can lead to hypoglycemia. The only way to avoid this is to consume less alcohol.
5. Diseases of the internal organs
The cause of regular attacks of hypoglycemia can be:
- A tumor of the pancreas (insulinoma). It is a tumor that produces insulin and is located in the pancreas. Due to its activity, blood sugar levels may drop excessively low. Since the tumor is in the body all the time and constantly produces insulin, a person ceases to feel symptoms of hypoglycemia.
- Liver damage such as hepatitis.
- Kidney disease. The body may not be able to remove medications from the body. In turn, the accumulation of certain medications in the blood can dramatically reduce blood sugar levels.
You should visit your therapist if the symptoms of hypoglycemia regularly appear despite you eating properly and not suffering from diabetes. The doctor will conduct an examination and will order medical tests in order to exclude or confirm possible diseases of the internal organs.
If any of the diseases are confirmed, it’s important to first cure them and hypoglycemia will be gone.
Untreated hypoglycemia may cause damage to small peripheral vessels, which primarily affects the eyes and legs. This can result in blindness and angiopathy. Low blood sugar levels also affect brain function.
The main source of energy for the brain is glucose, therefore, if the blood sugar is too low, it can lead to a hypoglycemic coma.
People with hypoglycemia who use insulin should always have glucose tablets or candy with them. If a person with diabetes has regular physical activity, then it’s necessary to consume 30-50 grams of glucose before exercise.
People with chronic hypoglycemia need to measure their blood sugar with a glucose meter every morning on an empty stomach, take sugar-containing medicines with caution and monitor the number of consumed carbohydrates.
In case of a hypoglycemia attack, you should eat:
- fruit syrup
- fruit juices
People with chronic hypoglycemia need to follow a fractional diet since it’s able to stabilize blood glucose during the day. At the same time, the interval between meals should be no more than 3 hours. Snacks are recommended (fruits, nuts or dried fruits).
Nutritionists recommend foods rich in proteins (lean meats, low-fat fish, nuts, dairy products, legumes). They slow down the process of carbohydrate absorption and help maintain normal blood sugar levels. It’s also recommended to consume foods rich in starch and complex carbohydrates such as rice, cereals, whole wheat bread, and durum wheat pasta.
Amelia Grant believes that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. Check out her website and blog for more.
Author: Amelia Grant
Amelia Grant is a journalist and blogger that believes information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. She has a strong passion for sharing useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. She is an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle. You can check out her website for daily updates at Amelia’s Blog.