Hypoglycemia is a condition in which there is a sudden drop of blood sugar to below 70gm/dl or less. Insulin-dependent diabetics are more prone to hypoglycemia, low blood sugar symptoms vary from mild to severe and can differ in each person.
What Causes Hypoglycemia?
Skipping or delaying your meal.
Strenuous exercise for a long time without eating a snack or not adjusting insulin before exercise.
High dose of medication or change in time of medication.
Certain side effects of medicines.
Alcohol intake, especially taken without food.
Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia:
Most common hypoglycemia symptoms include trembling of hands and feet, sweating, tiredness, lack of concentration, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, weakness and hunger.
In certain situations, your blood sugar may fall very low, (less than 54mg/dl) you may experience symptoms like confusion, blurred vision, behavioural changes, seizures, slurred speech, or loss of consciousness.
Episodes of hypoglycemia are common during the nights. Your body secretes hormones glucagon and epinephrine that keep your sugar level at normal. Sometimes, the production of glucagon can drop during sleep, so, watch out for nocturnal symptoms of hypoglycemia such as night sweats, nightmares, talking while sleeping, restlessness, headache and unable to catch sound sleep.
Talk to your doctor if you experience nocturnal symptoms as hypoglycemia is life-threatening.
Treatment For Hypoglycemia:
The immediate treatment of hypoglycemia is to raise the blood glucose level.
The next step of treatment is to prevent underlying conditions that cause recurring hypoglycemia.
Give fast-acting sugar/simple carbohydrate such as:
15 grams of glucose tablets, 3 teaspoons or 3 packets of table sugar dissolved in 1 tsb of water.
½ cup of fruit juice or 1tbsp of honey.
Wait for 15 minutes, check blood glucose level. If it is still low less than 54 mg//dl, repeat the same again with one of the fast-acting sugar and recheck.
Do not give foods that are a source of fat or protein as they delay the body’s absorption of sugar.
As the blood glucose level becomes normal, immediately consume a snack or meal to help for balanced levels of blood glucose. This will also help you in replenishing the glycogen stores that might have been depleted during hypoglycemia.
In cases where you experience severe hypoglycemia, that inhibits your ability to take sugar by mouth, you may require an injection of intravenous glucose. Do not give food or drink to a person who is unconscious as this may aspirate food into the lungs.
Natural Food Sources To Effectively Manage Hypoglycaemia:
Hypoglycaemia can be effectively treated with nutritious foods loaded with a myriad of essential nutrients and simple carbs. The main aim while treating low blood sugar is to raise the blood glucose level rapidly and stabilise the patients. Instead of going for candies or glucose pellets filled with processed sugar, food additives and colouring agents, try some of the natural foods to treat hypoglycaemia instantly.
If the blood sugar level is above 80mg/dl and still you feel hypoglycaemic symptoms go for peanut butter without sugar. It is a good choice, as it is loaded with protein and fat which keep you satiated and ease the hypoglycaemic symptoms without raising the blood sugar values.
If the blood glucose value is between 70-80mg/dl the ideal choice is peanut butter and crackers. This level is not technically low, crackers will help to gradually raise blood sugar levels slightly and fat and protein in the peanut butter will help to steady blood sugar level.
If the blood sugar ranges between 55-70mg/dl you should immediately have one of these foods that are abundant in natural sugars, though there is some amount of fibre it is very minimal and will help to elevate the blood sugar levels quickly. The foods include raisins, dates, applesauce, bananas, grapes and pineapples.
And if the blood sugar falls below 55 mg/dl then you should immediately have 100% grape juice, honey or maple syrup which are quick acting liquid carbs. These food sources should not contain any fibre, fat or protein. Fresh grape juice or orange juice is one of the highest carbohydrate loaded juices which helps to stabilise hypoglycaemia instantly.
Regular self-monitoring of blood glucose may help you in preventing hypoglycemia. It is vital to check your blood glucose often. If untreated, hypoglycemia can cause serious effects, such as seizures or fainting.
If you are prone to severe episodes of hypoglycemia consult your healthcare person for more appropriate treatment.