Hypoglycemia is as dangerous as Hyperglycemia, if not more.

August 08, 2008

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia or low sugar level arises as a result of low glucose level in blood. You have hypoglycemia if your blood glucose is less than 70 mg/dl. There are different kinds of hypoglycemia namely Diabetes hypoglycemia, Reactive hypoglycemia, Fasting hypoglycemia. Hyperglycemia or Diabetes mellitus occurs when you have a high sugar level beyond 140 mg/dl. It is a common risk factor of stroke.

There can be various causes for hypoglycemia. The low glucose level can normally be due to

  • Too much insulin in the body by the excessive intake of oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin
  • Insufficient or delayed food
  • Strenuous physical activity
  • Diabetic medications
  • Drinking alcohol in empty stomach while under diabetic medications
  • Illnesses like renal failure
  • Hormone or enzyme deficiencies
  • Tumors

A hypoglycemic or insulin reaction usually occurs very suddenly. It often happens when the insulin action is at its peak. Sometimes, it can show symptoms akin to stroke when the brain does not get enough glucose for its oxidant metabolism. Though the reaction is sudden, it can be treated quickly in minutes. It is a dangerous condition as it can go unrecognized by the patient as well as his relatives. The untreated hypoglycemia leads to unconsciousness. In certain cases, sudden deaths are reported. In most cases, the lives would have been saved if given carbohydrates (sugared water or sweet). The signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia vary from person to person.

Look out for the Signs

-Hunger
-Fatigue
-Tingling around the mouth
-Rapid heartbeat
-Light-headedness, shakiness or nervousness
-Feeling disoriented
-Difficulty in concentration and in speaking
-Clumsiness
-Sweating
-Headache
-Pale skin color
-Mood changes (irritability)
-Seizure or coma if severe.
-Remember, hypoglycemia gnaws at you even when you are asleep. You can have nightmares or perspire profusely in your sleep.

The Do’s and Don’ts

  • Hypoglycemia patients should always maintain a consistent diet.
  • Should never skip a meal or even go on with insufficient food. They must carry food supplies with them during journeys.
  • Should not take alcohol alone on an empty stomach.
  • Should make sure to grab a snack before engaging in an activity that is not a part of their regular routine.
  • Take special care of children with low sugar. The school staff should be informed about the medical condition and how to treat it in emergency.

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-Aparna K V

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