Many of us have heard of testing for blood sugar levels. We either know someone with diabetes or have seen a commercial about someone testing by pricking his or her finger to find out what their blood sugar level is. Those who have hypoglycemia need to be concerned about their blood sugar level. What is hypoglycemia?
What it is:
Hypoglycemia is when your blood sugar level is low. Hypo means low. Hyper means high. So someone with Hypoglycemia has low levels of blood sugar. Every cell in our body depends on glucose (sugar) for energy. Cells use energy to perform their bodily tasks. When your blood sugar levels are low, your cells do not have enough fuel to complete their tasks.
Who has it?
Diabetics can become hypoglycemic when they have too much insulin in their systems due to an overdose of insulin or other diabetic medications.
People who do not have diabetes can also become hypoglycemic. This happens for one of two reasons. One reason is when someone has not eaten for a long period of time, like overnight. A second reason could be the result of a rare tumor in the pancreas or due to an illness of he liver, heart or kidneys. Rare cases occur when a person may be experiencing a reaction to aspirin, sulfa medicines or other medications that can cause hypoglycemic condition to occur.
People who skip meals once in a while may suffer from low blood sugar due to the skipped meal and they may experience the same symptoms as someone who is hypoglycemic. If these symptoms occur frequently, then, they should seek medical attention.
A person who is suffering from hypoglycemia may experience the following symptoms:
Shakiness, trembling, nervousness, sleepiness, light-headedness or dizziness, heart palpitations or increased heart rate, irritability, weakness, confusion or anxiety, hunger, sweatiness, headache, pallor, difficulty speaking, blurred or double vision.
What to do if you experience Symptoms of being Hypoglycemic:
First, hypoglycemia is diagnosed by a simple blood glucose test. This test determines whether or not your blood sugar levels are within the normal range of 70 to 110 mg/dL.
If you blood sugar levels are below normal, the first thing your physician will do will be to try to get your blood sugar levels to a more normal level by asking you to consume food or drink that contains sugar. Fruit juices, milk, hard candy or honey are good choices to do this. After your symptoms subside, it is a good idea then to consume foods that are rich in longer-lasting carbohydrates, such as crackers, soft pretzels, bread or cereal. These can help keep your blood glucose levels in the normal range.
To permanently treat fasting hypoglycemia, the condition that is underlying or the cause of your hypoglycemia must be determined and then corrected. This can only be done with the guidance of a physician.
If you have been diagnosed as having Hypoglycemia you should follow your physician’s advice concerning exercise, diet and medication. It is also very wise to always keep a snack or drink that contains sugar on you or with you at all times. This way as soon as you start to experience any of the symptoms listed above, you will have the snack handy to take to restore your blood sugar level and your symptoms will go away. It is a good thing to eat small meals or snacks every 3 hours if you are hypoglycemic. Eating a variety of foods rich in complex carbohydrates, or high in fiber such as whole-grain breads, rice and potatoes, fruits and other vegetables are good choices. It is also wise to limit alcohol and foods high in sugar, especially on an empty stomach.