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“Take Away the Cause and the Effect Ceases”

There are more than 200,000 reported cases of Hypoglycemia a year with 50% of all episodes occurring at night (nocturnal hypoglycemia).  The most frequent reported causes of hypoglycemia are:

  1. a) Too much, excessive dosage of insulin or other oral hypoglycemic medication
  2. b) Delayed, missed or insufficient Food Intake
  3. c) Too much or excessive unplanned Exercise or Physical Activity

Hypoglycemia defined as having a circulating Blood Glucose level less than 70 mg/dl followed by a variety of unpleasant physical symptoms.  Glucose derived from carbohydrates (CHO) the main source of fuel required not just for the brain but for every organ within the body, as a result, this affects the amount flowing to the brain under certain circumstances.  When you consider the muscles, they are the largest organs in the body as well as the biggest users of Glucose under certain conditions will affect the amount of overall glucose circulating within the blood stream.

To illustrate the muscles impact on the body’s fuel source, consider the practice of “Carbohydrate Loading”.  Endurance runners and athletes “Carbo Load” prior to each event.  They usually will maximize their intake of Carbohydrates (CHO) such as Pasta, Beans, Rice etc.  CHO converts into Glucose within the blood stream, however with the aid of “Insulin” glucose enters the Muscles, for fuel, all excess is converted into “Glycogen” (stored form of glucose) for reserves. Throughout the run the muscles are working requiring a steady flow of fuel, starts to pull from the glycogen, which converts back into glucose for constant muscle refueling.  This is “Carbohydrate Loading”.  If the reserves were not there, the muscles would pull from the small about glucose circulating in the blood stream and as that rapidly depletes to <70 mg/dl the Runner would not finish the race due to Hypoglycemia symptoms.  Now can you see the effect of not eating or a delay in eating while exercising has on your body.

Another cause of hypoglycemia is Diabetic medications relative to Food intake and activity.  The Insulin Story:  By injecting insulin or taking your daily amount of oral hypoglycemic medication without eating is prime for hypoglycemia.  Upon injection, insulin will immediately transport the small amount of circulating blood glucose into the organs.  In the absence of food (fuel source), glucose levels will start to fall into the danger range of <70mg/dl. This is one reason why some experience shakiness with skipped meals.

PREVENTATIVES:  First Determine what is Causing your Hypoglycemia

  • Always coordinate the amount of CHO consumed with units of insulin injected. Talk with your health care team regarding your CHO: Insulin (carbohydrate to insulin ratio). Ask about the peak actions of NPH (if you are taking NPH)
  • Do not Delay Eating or Skip Meals, or Limit Carbohydrates
  • Exercise: There is a 12-24 hour delayed reaction with strenuous exercise. The glycemic effects from an activity performed on Monday will show up on Tuesday,  test your levels frequently 12 hours after the activity, treat as needed.
  • Beware of Alcohol-consumption without food intake may result in hypoglycemia.
  • Continuous Glucose Monitoring is

“When, the Cause of Hypoglycemia is Taken Away then and only then will the Effects (symptoms) Cease.