Hypoglycemia -The Facts
Hypoglycemia can be an extremely dangerous condition. Every cell in the human body needs glucose to function, but some people suffer from a condition that leaves them with abnormally low levels. This condition is called hypoglycemia, and the effects of it can be severe if it goes undetected and untreated.
Hypoglycemia occurs when the body can’t process sugar effectively, and is most common in people with diabetes. Only a small percentage of those with diabetes suffer from low blood sugar, however. It’s important to know the warning signs of such a condition and what starts to happen to your body when blood sugar becomes dangerously low.
The body typically sends warning signals when blood sugar levels drop to a dangerously low point, including anxiety, sweating and heart palpitations. When you’re diabetic, however, the warning signs can easily disappear cause the symptoms to occur unexpectedly. If the symptoms become so severe, you are no longer able to respond properly to them.
“They may become incapacitated,” Jason Baker, MD, said, “and, in the worst case, people can have a seizure or go into a coma due to low blood sugar.”
Some of the most severe symptoms of low blood sugar include weakness, fatigue, blurred vision, seizures and unconsciousness.
The Cause Of Hypoglycemia
There are a variety of factors that contribute to low blood sugar. It can happen if you skip a meal, or if the pancreas releases more insulin than it’s supposed to after you eat. The most common reason for hypoglycemia, however, is diabetes. Maintaining the proper level of insulin is the only way for diabetics to regulate their blood sugar and avoid any symptoms and complications.
Another lesser known cause of hypoglycemia is drinking an excessive amount of alcohol. Drinking too much, especially on an empty stomach, can block the liver from releasing glucose into your bloodstream.
Treatment Is Possible
Though hypoglycemia is truly a life-threatening condition for many, it’s also very treatable. It’s actually extremely easy to reverse the effects, by doing things like consuming 15 to 20 grams of glucose or simple carbs per day and taking a record of your glucose level every 15 minutes.
Some foods that have 15 grams of simple carbs include two tablespoons of raisins, glucose tablets, four ounces of juice, a tablespoon of sugar, honey or corn syrup and hard candies or jellybeans.
Baker said that there are steps to take in preventing someone with hypoglycemia from getting worse.
“There are tricks like putting honey or sugar on the gums,” he said, adding that turning someone on their side during a hypoglycemic episode can help prevent seizures or tongue swallowing.
Be Aware, Be Prepared
If you feel you might have a low blood sugar problem, look out for the signs and be prepared to get help. Hypoglycemia is a very serious condition that could prove fatal if left unchecked. Especially among women, where hypoglycemia unawareness is currently more common than among men.
The only way to actually check to see if you’re experiencing hypoglycemia is to test for blood glucose, but if you pay attention to your body and to the warning signs you could very easily prevent things taking a turn for the worse in the long run.