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HYPOGLYCEMIA

FOODS THAT HEAL

  • Apples
  • Lentils
  • Barley
  • Oats

    FOODS TO LIMIT

  • Alcohol
  • Sugary foods, such as candy

    WHO’S AFFECTED

  • Those who have diabetes
  • People with liver disease or insulinoma, a tumor in the pancreas
  • Those who drink excessive amounts of alcohol
    Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, is characterized by low levels of glucose, the body’s main source of energy
    It occurs when the amount of insulin in the blood exceeds the amount needed to metabolize the available glucose in the body
    The condition may occur when a person with diabetes takes too much insulin, but it can also happen under other circumstances, such as overconsumption of alcohol; taking large amounts of aspirin or acetaminophen, beta-blockers, and some antipsychotic drugs; or when tumors develop that secrete insulin
    Symptoms include confusion, abnormal behavior, double vision, heart palpitations, shakiness, anxiety, sweating, and hunger
    While less common, the person may have a seizure or lose consciousness
    One condition called reactive hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels plummet 1 to 2 hours after a meal
    Symptoms include dizziness, headache, trembling, palpitations, and irritability
    This uncommon condition can only be diagnosed by monitoring blood glucose levels after ingestion of a known dose of glucose

    Nutrition Connection

    Prevent episodes of hypoglycemia with these dietary tips: Eat small, frequent meals that are balanced
    An even mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins will help your body metabolize the foods slowly
    Because they take longer than sugars to be digested and converted into glucose, they allow for a steady release of energy
    Eat foods rich in fiber
    Include foods that are higher in soluble fiber such as lentils, oats, barley, apples, and citrus fruits since they are absorbed more slowly
    Choose whole grains (such as whole wheat bread) over refined grains (such as white bread or pasta) as often as possible
    Eat foods with a low glycemic index (GI), or load (GL)
    GI and GL are measurements of how readily foods are converted to blood glucose
    Focus on foods that help blood sugar levels remain stable
    They include apples, kidney beans, lentils, oats, barley, and bran
    Avoid sweets
    Candies, cookies, and anything loaded with sugar can be a potential problem
    Consumed by themselves, they spike up your blood glucose levels and cause the body to pump out more insulin, which eventually leads to hypoglycemia
    Avoid excessive drinking
    Excessive alcohol consumption can cause hypoglycemia because the body’s breakdown of alcohol interferes with the liver’s efforts to raise blood glucose
    This type of hypoglycemia can be very serious or even fatal
    Address insulin reactions as soon as possible
    A serious type of hypoglycemia occurs when someone with diabetes takes more insulin than is needed to metabolize the available glucose
    The onset of symptoms of an insulin reaction—hunger, tingling sensations, sweating, faintness, impaired vision, mood changes, palpitations, and a cold, clammy sensation—can be reversed by immediately eating a tablespoonful of sugar or honey, sucking on a hard candy, or drinking a small glass (about ½ cup or 125 mL) of orange juice or a smal sugary drink

    Beyond the Diet

    Hypoglycemia may require medical attention
    A doctor can run tests to determine the cause of hypoglycemia and then treat the condition or the underlying medical problem
    Sepsis, obesity, alcohol abuse, and hormonal changes can be an underlying cause of hypoglycemia