I guess most people here don't really understand hypoglycemia, so I hope this helps.
Two types of hypoglycemia can occur in people who do not have diabetes: reactive (postprandial, thats after meals) and fasting (postabsorptive). Reactive hypoglycemia is not usually related to any underlying disease; fasting hypoglycemia often is.
So what are the symptoms??
Both types resemble the symptoms that people with diabetes and hypoglycemia experience: hunger, nervousness, perspiration, shakiness, dizziness, light-headedness, sleepiness, confusion, difficulty speaking, and feeling anxious or weak. Personally, I get shakey, and cold and I've learned that for me, this is an instant symptom my meds have pushed me into a hypoglycemic state.
If you are diagnosed with hypoglycemia, your doctor will typically try to find the cause by using laboratory tests to measure blood glucose, insulin, and other chemicals that play a part in the body's use of energy (just like in bhkhh's case).
Now lest's look at reactive hypoglycemia; here symptoms appear within 4 hours after you eat a meal. To diagnose reactive hypoglycemia, your doctor may
- ask you about signs and symptoms
- test your blood glucose while you are having symptoms (The doctor will take a blood sample from your arm and send it to a laboratory for analysis. A personal blood glucose monitor cannot be used to diagnose reactive hypoglycemia.)
- check to see whether your symptoms ease after your blood glucose returns to 70 or above (after eating or drinking)
A blood glucose level of less than 70 mg/dL at the time of symptoms and relief after eating will confirm the diagnosis.
The oral glucose tolerance test IS NO LONGER USED TO DIAGNOSE HYPOGLYCEMIA; most doctors now know that the test can actually trigger hypoglycemic symptoms, so SHAME ON YOUR DOCTOR.
The causes of most cases of reactive hypoglycemia are still open to debate. Some researchers suggest that certain people may be more sensitive to the body's normal release of the hormone epinephrine, which causes many of the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Others believe that deficiencies in glucagon secretion might lead to hypoglycemia.
A few causes of reactive hypoglycemia are certain, but they are uncommon. Gastric (stomach) surgery, for instance, can cause hypoglycemia because of the rapid passage of food into the small intestine. Also, rare enzyme deficiencies diagnosed early in life, such as hereditary fructose intolerance, may cause reactive hypoglycemia.
To relieve reactive hypoglycemia, some doctors recommend:
- eat small meals and snacks about every 3 hours
- exercise regularly
- eat a variety of foods, including meat, poultry, fish, or nonmeat sources of protein; starchy foods such as whole-grain bread, rice, and potatoes; fruits; vegetables; and dairy products
- choose high-fiber foods
- avoid or limit foods high in sugar, especially on an empty stomach
Now, some health professionals recommend a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates (sound familiar to all you type 2's), but studies have not proven the effectiveness of this kind of diet for reactive hypoglycemia. I would think on the contrary that while great for those with hyperglycemia, it is NOT helping those with reactive hypoglycemia.
Now lets talk about the other type of hypoglycemia, FASTING HYPOGLYCEMIA.
Fasting hypoglycemia is diagnosed from a blood sample that shows a blood glucose level of less than 50 mg/dL after an overnight fast, between meals, or after exercise. Causes include certain medications, alcohol, critical illnesses, hormonal deficiencies, some kinds of tumors, and certain conditions occurring in infancy and childhood and the list goes on.
Now, here is the big surprise to most of you. Medications, including some used to treat diabetes, are the most common cause of hypoglycemia. Some other medications that can cause hypoglycemia include
- salicylates, including aspirin, when taken in large doses
- sulfa medicines, which are used to treat infections
- pentamidine, which treats a very serious kind of pneumonia
- quinine, which is used to treat malaria
Drinking, especially binge drinking, can cause hypoglycemia because your body's breakdown of alcohol interferes with your liver's efforts to raise blood glucose. Hypoglycemia caused by excessive drinking can be very serious and even fatal.
Some illnesses that affect the liver, heart, or kidneys can cause hypoglycemia. Sepsis (overwhelming infection) and starvation are other causes of hypoglycemia. In these cases, treatment targets the underlying cause.
Hormonal deficiencies may cause hypoglycemia in very young children, but usually not in adults. Shortages of cortisol, growth hormone, glucagon, or epinephrine can lead to fasting hypoglycemia. Insulinomas, insulin-producing tumors, can cause hypoglycemia by raising your insulin levels too high in relation to your blood glucose level. These tumors are very rare and do not normally spread to other parts of the body.
So now that you know a little more about the two types of HYPOGLYCEMIA, you can pinpoint which of the two you have and maybe even begin to zero in on some causative elements.
Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you let them give you another oral glucose tolerance test as that could very well send you into a diabetic coma. Hope this helps.