November 29, 2012

Non-diabetic Hypoglycemia Revisited

When I wrote the original blog, I did it because my daughter has non-diabetic hypoglycemia. She has a knowledgeable doctor that did properly warn her that she could later develop type 2 diabetes. She still has not developed diabetes, but her doctor is monitoring her more closely and her diet is changing regularly, as she needs to reduce her carbohydrate intake as her blood glucose levels have moved toward the prediabetes level and they adjust to keep them in the normal range.

My daughter does test her blood glucose on her own schedule that she and her doctor have worked out and the trend is the important factor. We don't talk about this often, as I cannot compare my diabetes to her non-diabetic hypoglycemia. I am just happy that she has a doctor that knows what to do and between them have managed it for now over two decades. My daughter has also modified her exercise regimen as needed for additional help.

I am surprised at the number of reads the blog has received and even more surprised that none of the links have become broken or disappeared. In reviewing the links, several have actually become better and have information that is more relevant. I am adding the link to this blog, but be careful in interpreting the information as even the Mayo Clinic seems to have problems in diagnosing non-diabetic hypoglycemia. They link most cases of hypoglycemia to diabetes, but do acknowledge non-diabetic hypoglycemia in the discussion. Their main problem is not acknowledging that it is separate and distinct from diabetes hypoglycemia, but they try in a round about way. I honestly think that because a majority of non-diabetic people with hypoglycemia do develop type 2 diabetes as they age, they are attempting to link this as only a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

The article in about dot com is good to read and they explain some aspects of non-diabetic hypoglycemia very well. They show that non-diabetic hypoglycemia has the same low blood glucose symptoms as diabetic hypoglycemia, which is good to know.

Some of them are:
1. fatigue
2. depression
3. anxiety
4. having trouble sleeping for nights on end or insomnia
5. headaches
6. personality changes rapidly
7. always hungry for something sweet
8. doctor says there is nothing wrong – I advise seeing an endocrinologist
9. dizziness
10. blurred vision
11. heavy sweating
There are more, but many are just subcategories of the above.

The following are important and I will quote them.

What is the cause of reactive hypoglycemia?
The exact cause of reactive hypoglycemia is still unknown, but there are several hypothesis that might explain why it can happen.
1. Sensitivity to epinephrine, a hormone that is released in the body during times of stress.
2. Insufficient glucagon production. Glucagon is also a hormone which has the opposite effect of insulin. It raises blood glucose levels.
3. Gastric surgeries can also cause reactive hypoglycemia because food may pass too quickly through the digestive system.
4. Enzyme deficiencies can also cause reactive hypoglycemia, but these are rare and occur during infancy.
How to manage reactive hypoglycemia
Limit foods with a high sugar content, especially on an empty stomach. For example, eating a doughnut first thing in the morning can trigger a hypoglycemic episode.
Eat small, frequent meals and snacks.
Eat a varied, high fiber diet, with adequate servings of protein, whole grain carbs and vegetables, fruits, and dairy foods
Carry pieces of hard candy with you, for those times when you feel your blood sugar dropping.
What to do if you are having a hypoglycemic episode.
1. Eat or drink something that is a fast sugar source, such as orange juice, regular soda, a few pieces of hard candy, or sugar cubes. This should relieve the symptoms within 15 minutes.
2. Avoid choosing chocolate as a sugar source. The fat in chocolate makes it absorb more slowly and it won't raise your blood sugar up as quickly as you need it too.
3. Make sure to eat a small balanced meal after the symptoms are gone. This will prevent another blood sugar spike and consequent drop.
*A rare type of tumor, called an insulinoma, in the pancreas can also cause hypoglycemia in people who do not have diabetes. If you do suffer from episodes of hypoglycemia, it is wise to follow up with a visit to your doctor, to rule out the possibility of an insulinoma or other medical condition.

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