Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)
Low blood sugar can be defined as follows:
It is the condition in which the sugar levels in the blood become too low which is usually about 2.5mmol/l or less. This condition can normally be spotted by certain symptoms that go away after one has eaten. The blood sugar level at which these symptoms are experienced differ from person to person.
What causes low blood sugar levels (Hypoglycemia)?
Wondering what causes low blood sugar levels? When function normally, the pancreas excretes the corrects amount of insulin needed to keep the blood sugar levels balanced. However, when a person suffers from low blood sugar, the pancreas releases too much insulin which causes the blood sugar levels to become too low. This, along with other diseases, can cause hypoglycemic episodes.
What causes hypoglycemic episodes in non-diabetic people?
This is the most common reason for low blood sugar levels in people who do not suffer from diabetes. This is when the pancreas releases too much insulin due to a sudden increase in glucose in the bloodstream, such as after a big meal containing lots of carbohydrates. The insulin is still present in the blood after several hours of the meal, which is not as it should normally be.
Reactive hypoglycemia often affects people who are overweight and people with type-2 diabetes. This is due to the fact that they have a need for more insulin, thus the chance of an over-production of insulin is greater. There is evidence to propose that reactive hypoglycemia can lead toType-2 diabetes.
Other causes of Low Blood Sugar:
- a tumor in the pancreas
- an overdose of diabetic medication such as an insulin injection or diabetic tablets.
- Addison’s disease ( a disease in the adrenal glands)
- a weakened pituitary gland
- damage to the liver which causes it to work ineffectively
- people who have had their stomach removed.
- malnutrition and even fasting
- too much alcohol consumed
Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar(Hypoglycemia)
What is happening during a hypoglycemic episode?
The following can be symptoms caused by hypoglycemia:
- paleness in the face similar to when one is feeling nauseous
- shaking as can be clearly seen in the hands
- perspiration without much physical effort
- feeling weak and deprived of energy
- increased heartbeat
- constant hunger
- being agitated for no apparent reason
- having trouble concentrating
- becoming easily irritated
- feeling fatigued
- blurred vision
- momentary loss of consciousness
- one can even end up in a coma during extreme circumstances
These symptoms are usually experienced about 3 or 4 hours after eating a meal.
Care and Prevention of Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)
If you suspect that you might have hypoglycemia, since you experienced some of the above mentioned symptoms about 3 or 4 hours after a meal, you should consult your doctor and have the appropriate tests done.
In case all three of the criteria listed below are met, you should be referred for further evaluation at a healthcare facility.
- Blood glucose level lower than 2.5mmol/l (or sometimes slightly higher.)
- A few or all of the symptoms listed above.
- The symptoms disappear within 10 minutes of consuming sugar.
How is the diagnosis made?
Hypoglycemia can be diagnosed simply by measuring the blood glucose level. In the case of it being lower than, 2.5mmol/l, hypoglycemia is diagnosed.
- If the doctors suspect a tumor might be present in the pancreas, the patient will be taken up into hospital for close observation. Here, the glucose levels are closely monitored, usually for 3 days.
- If these levels drop below a certain point, the medical staff measures the insulin level in the bloodstream.
- If the insulin levels are found to be high, it indicates a tumor in the pancreas, which will be looked for, and if found, removed.
Exercise and diet:
Exercise lowers the blood sugar levels but will not normally cause hypoglycemia in individuals who are overall healthy.
If you begin to experience symptoms of hypoglycemia while doing physical exercise, you should eat some complex carbohydrates such as starch or pasta before beginning.
Blood sugar levels can be kept up by consuming small, steady amounts of simple carbohydrates such as energy drinks or energy bars during the exercise.
If you have been diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia, the first things to do is change or adapt your diet to help manage the hypoglycemia. It should include a lot of complex carbohydrates such as: potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.
The dietary routine should also be changed. It should consist of more, but smaller meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner and three in-between meals. This helps avoid big fluctuations in the insulin secretion from the pancreas.
Treatment of hypoglycemia:
- Reactive hypoglycemia is treated with dietary changes as stipulated above.
- Blood sugar levels should be checked regularly. If blood sugar levels are lower than normal, but there are no clear symptoms of hypoglycemia, just continue with normal routines to keep blood sugar levels balanced.
Strategies to control sugar levels include:
- Diet: Eat regular meals and see our FREE Manna Low GI Menu Plan.
- Supplements: a Natural and organic supplement such as Manna Blood Sugar Support will help you to regulate your blood sugar levels.