How to Minimize Your Hypoglycemia Risk
Before Hypoglycemia started troubling you, your blood could control its sugar level. You ate whatever you craved and drank the fluids you loved. But now that Hypoglycemia plagues you, things have never been the same. You are stuck between what to eat and what not to eat. Alcohol and caffeine have been banished from your routine. Your doctor hollers, eat fruits, and drink milk! But those aren’t what you love. You are hot on fried foods and caffeinated drinks. Sadly, this is not the time to do what makes you happy. It’s time to do what you are told.
But how did you get here? It is relatively important to keep in mind that the foods you eat, how much you exercise, what you drink, and even the medication you take can shoot up or diminish your blood glucose level.
Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood glucose sinks lower than normal: less than 70 mg/dl. Blood sugar levels should normally stick between 80mg/dl and 130mg/dl; figures lower or higher than these means you are slipping into Hypoglycaemia or Diabetes, respectively.
Before we delve full-on into why you ended up with Hypoglycemia, how you could have prevented it, the symptoms that accompany the condition, and the dieting and lifestyle you need to adopt for quick recovery, we will take a swipe at how Hypoglycemia contrasts with diabetes.
While Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar level is low, diabetes is set off by high levels of sugar in the blood, otherwise referred to as hyperglycemia.
Diabetes Vs. Hypoglycemia
Millions across the world are diagnosed with both Diabetes and Hypoglycemia every year. And experts have tipped diabetes as a leading cause of mortality around the globe.
While Hypoglycemia might not be so prevalent, according to the World health organization, the onslaught of diabetes has been on the increase since 1980, leaping from 180 million in the same year to 422 million in 2014. By 2016, 1.6 million people had died directly from diabetes, and WHO has confirmed diabetes as the 7th leading cause of global deaths.
Diabetes is, without doubt, the more lethal and fearsome of the two conditions. But the drugs some people with diabetes take can be the recipe for a new condition: Hypoglycaemia. These medications force down the blood sugar level to a severe low, and this too can be dangerous.
Strictly speaking, diabetes is an offshoot of hyperglycemia, a term used to describe a blood sugar level of over 130 mg/dl. Conversely, as aforementioned, Hypoglycaemia defines a blood sugar lower than 70 mg/DL.
This article will, however, take an exclusive look at Hypoglycemia, and we will be starting by looking at its causes.
Let’s dive in.
Causes of Hypoglycemia
There are various reasons why your blood sugar level may nosedive. But the most important of them is the medication used to treat diabetes. Low blood sugar is common in people who suffer from hyperglycemia. The goal of managing diabetes is to smother the high blood sugar level in order to mitigate against other health complications that may stem from it. To achieve this, people who have diabetes are administered insulin or other drugs that significantly cut their blood sugar levels. This may sometimes drive the sugar level too low, shifting the concern from hyperglycemia to Hypoglycemia.
Aside from this, there are strings of other reasons why Hypoglycemia may occur.
- If you do not take your meals or snacks at the right time, you may end up with Hypoglycemia. There is a huge possibility of this occurring if you are dealing with diabetes. Delaying your meals and habitually taking foods that are low in carbohydrates can constitute a risk factor for Hypoglycemia.
- If you exercise a lot and you are not taking enough food to match the intensity of your workout, you could be stoking the embers of Hypoglycemia.
- Your blood sugar level sees a significant drop while you are asleep. This is referred to as nocturnal Hypoglycemia.
- If you binge drink, Hypoglycemia can be a typical consequence. Alcohol greatly hampers the body’s natural ability to keep blood glucose at its normal level. It does not just cause a sudden decline in blood sugar. It also prevents users from sensing that their blood sugar level is steeping downwards. Want to learn about how alcohol affects your blood sugar? Talk to your therapist.
- Some drugs, such as quinine, may lead to Hypoglycemia.
- Medical conditions like kidney problems and hepatitis are also important causes.
- Some tumors produce excess insulin, which itself saps blood glucose.
- Adrenaline deficiency and other endocrine problems.
Whilst all of these circumstances may increase the likelihood of Hypoglycemia, how do you know you actually have Hypoglycemia?
Let’s take a rather brief look at some of the symptoms that accompany the condition.
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
The body constantly needs an adequate supply of glucose to function properly—it doesn’t matter what you are doing, whether you are awake or asleep. During sleep, our brains depend on glucose to function. This is because glucose is a prime source of energy to the cells, and this energy is conveyed to the cells through the bloodstream.
However, mildly low blood sugar is normal, but the life-threatening ones are not, as they may lead to bouts of seizures and even nervous breakdown if not contained soon enough. Prompt management and treatment are hence crucial.
Some Warning Symptoms of Hypoglycemia may include:
- Extreme hunger; you may feel constantly and extremely hungry.
This often comes with stomach pains and aches.
- Drowsiness and dizziness; may lead to fainting.
- Shakiness or tremors; manifests in your hands—you will notice them trembling.
- Blurry vision: you notice that your vision is greatly disturbed.
- Concentration difficulties: you often find that you are confused and disoriented
- Increased heart rates: your heartbeat becomes rapid, and you may feel palpitations.
- You always have mood swings, feeling irritable and angry. This is most prevalent in children.
- The feeling of anxiousness and nervousness.
- Constant sweating and a feeling of chills.
- Hypoglycemia may also present with nightmares and crying out during sleep.
- You may feel incessant headaches, weakness, and clumsiness.
- A tingling or numb feeling in the tongue, lips, and cheeks.
- Seizures and loss of consciousness.
- Constant feeling of sleepiness, despite having slept well.
These are the few common symptoms of Hypoglycemia. However, in reality, the symptoms differ from person to person. But if you are feeling any of the above signs, they might just be a pointer nudging you to confirm your actual blood sugar level by testing.
How to Prevent Hypoglycemia
A key step to preventing Hypoglycemia is understanding why it occurs and taking action to rein in on further happenings.
- For example, if you are feeling mild symptoms of Hypoglycemia, you can always get glucose and carbohydrates beside you and take them often so as to avert a possible occurrence of the disease.
- Regularly testing your blood sugar levels would also give you hindsight of the situation of things, arming you to fend off Hypoglycemia.
- Another great way to tamp down on your chances of developing Hypoglycemia is to eat healthily. Eat three evenly spaced square meals, with snacks in between.
- Reduce your intake of alcohol.
- Eat more carbohydrates after stints of heavy exercising.
- If you suffer from diabetes, and you are also on an insulin diet, constantly check your sugar levels; you do not want to slip into Hypoglycemia. If you are feeling persistently stressed out, you might want to cut back on your insulin dosage.
These measures won’t matter if you are already down with Hypoglycaemia; therefore, we will now look into diets and lifestyle routines for people who already suffer low blood sugar.
Let’s get to it.
Diet and Lifestyle Routine for Hypoglycemia Patients
- Hypoglycemia is mostly managed by tweaking the feeding habits and general lifestyle of the patients. However, your doctor may prescribe some medication if your condition is severe.
- If your blood sugar level is too low, taking more carbohydrate meals is critical. You can take glucose tablets intermittently, move around with a glucagon kit and high carb snacks to ensure that you keep your blood sugar from dipping too low.
- Exercising may be wonderful, but if you are experiencing severe symptoms of Hypoglycemia, you might want to crack down on partaking in exercises, and even if you must, perform only minor ones like walking, riding, and swimming.
- You must steer clear from alcohol during this period, take milk, honey, and fruit juices instead. They increase your blood sugar, alcohol drives it further lower.
In conclusion, Taking the right meals can cause your blood sugar to rise to normal and get you back on track. However, in severe cases, you need to speak to your doctor and follow the medication and feeding plan she prescribes.