Your body, especially your brain, depends on a consistent level of blood sugar — it’s worth pointing out that glucose is our body’s main source of energy. When your blood sugar is outside the normal range (either more or less), you may suffer from some problems.
According to the Mayo Clinic, hypoglycemia is a condition where your blood sugar level is below normal. Hypoglycemia is usually related to the treatment of diabetes, but other medications and a variety of conditions—very rare—can cause low blood sugar in people who don’t have diabetes.
Hypoglycaemia needs immediate treatment when blood sugar levels are too low. For many people, a fasting blood glucose value of 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3.9 millimoles per liter (mmol/L), or less, should be seen as a warning to hypoglycaemia—so see always a doctor.
However, when this happens, the goal is to get the blood glucose back to the normal range as quickly as possible.
If blood sugar levels get too low, signs and symptoms may include irregular or rapid heartbeat, fatigue, pale skin, tremors, anxiety, sweating, hunger, irritability, tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue or cheeks.
As hypoglycemia worsens, signs and symptoms can include confusion, abnormal behavior, or both, such as inability to complete routine tasks, visual disturbances such as blurred vision, seizures, and even loss of consciousness.
If you have diabetes, skipping meals or taking too many medications can cause hypoglycemia. In people who do not have diabetes, poor diet, drinking too much alcohol, ingesting highly refined carbohydrates, strenuous exercise, certain illnesses and medications can also trigger hypoglycemia.
Also according to the Mayo Clinic, reactive hypoglycemia is also a potential cause of sugar drops, which can happen four hours after a meal. Symptoms of reactive hypoglycaemia include tremors, sweating, fatigue, or anxiety.
Hypoglycemia and weight gain
Hunger is one of the classic symptoms of hypoglycemia; it’s the body’s way of signaling that it needs more energy. Although the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that patients treat hypoglycaemia with the “15-15 rule” (eat 15 grams of carbohydrates and then wait 15 minutes), the symptoms of hunger can cause a person to eat much more than that. that this – increasing the possibility of weight gain.
And unused glucose is stored in your body as fat. Therefore, consuming more calories than you need results in weight gain. Avoiding low blood sugar – and the subsequent food cravings it causes – can help prevent this unintended weight gain.
What to do when I have hypoglycemia?
When an episode of hypoglycemia happens, there are strategies to get the blood glucose back to normal. You need a form of fast-absorbing carbohydrate, also known as simple carbohydrate. Consuming 15 to 30 grams of fast-digesting carbohydrates is often enough to quickly reverse a sugar drop. Examples: half a banana; 1/2 cup of apple, orange or pineapple juice etc.
For people with diabetes, check your blood glucose when you start to experience symptoms. If it’s below 70 mg/dL, take 15 to 30 grams of fast-absorbing carbohydrates. Wait 15 minutes and check your blood glucose level again. If your reading is below 100 mg/dL, eat an additional 15 grams of fast-absorbing carbohydrates. After waiting another 15 minutes, check again to see if you are within the target range your doctor has described to you. Repeat these steps if necessary.
A good tip to avoid these episodes is to eat small and frequent meals throughout the day, instead of a few large meals, with a mixture of healthy and nutrient-rich foods. It is worth emphasizing that, if you have diabetes, always talk to your doctor about the best strategy.
In general, it is advisable to avoid simple and refined carbohydrates such as those found in sugary foods, juices, sodas, white breads and white rice. These foods and beverages cause high blood sugar levels and are often also high in calories. Choose these foods only if you need immediate energy and in small amounts, according to the ADA.
Keep your blood sugar stable by eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, some low-fat protein, and moderate amounts of healthy fat.