by Cynthia Perkins
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can be the culprit of many physical and psychological symptoms. It’s a very common occurrence in our society and often goes undiagnosed. It can mimic most every medical condition and is often misdiagnosed or labeled as hypochondriasis.
Hypoglycemia is when your blood glucose levels drop too low and your body and brain can’t function properly. The brain is very sensitive to the levels of blood sugar and needs glucose to function adequately. It is fuel for the brain. The brain doesn’t have the ability to store glucose so it needs a continuous supply from the blood. It extracts it from the blood as it does oxygen. If the brain does not have enough oxygen or glucose it can go into a coma.
Hypoglycemia occurs when the body does not metabolize blood glucose properly. Abnormal metabolism can be caused by a variety of factors such as:
- Excess refined sugar and white flour in your diet
- Pancreatic or adrenal underactivity or overactivity
- Excessive use of alcohol, tobacco, and coffee or other products with caffeine
- Overeating of refined carbohydrates
- Severe emotional stress that doesn’t go away
Probably the biggest contributor to hypoglycemia is the consumption of excess refined sugar, white flour and other refined carbohydrates. Our bodies were not designed genetically or physiologically equipped to metabolize the mass amount of refined food, which is stripped of any nutritional value, found in the typical diet of this day and age. This creates a continuous strain and abuse on your bodies’ organs, such as the pancreas, the liver, the adrenals and other endocrine glands. The continuous ingestion of empty refined foods leads to malfunctioning of the glandular and metabolic systems.
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia can be mild, moderate or severe and may consist of any of the following:
- Shaking between meals
- Inability to concentrate
- Pounding/racing heart
- Speech difficulties
- Fuzzy head
- Mood swings
- Feeling faint
- Obsessive/compulsive behavior
- Slurred speech
- Poor coordination
- Glassy eyes
Severe symptoms, which require immediate medical attention would include:
- Highly agitated
What happens when we eat sugar and other refined foods? They are absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly and raise the blood glucose level to abnormally high levels at a very fast pace, which gives us that boost we often feel when eating sweets. This causes the pancreas to overreact with an emergency response and releases an excessive amount of insulin into the bloodstream to try and bring the blood sugar back to normal. The excessive amount of insulin brings the blood sugar down, but it brings it down too low and it brings it down too fast. This is when hypoglycemia symptoms occur.
To treat hypoglycemia it’s necessary to avoid eating sugar or any food that easily converts to sugar. Your diet should consist of foods that take a while to digest so there won’t be a rapid rise in blood sugar and then the plummet that causes hypoglycemia symptoms.
Foods that digest slowly consist of meat, eggs, cheese, yogurt, beans, nuts and seeds and complex carbohydrates, which are (whole grains, fresh vegetables, fresh whole fruits (not juice).
Avoid the use of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine and reduce emotional stress as much as possible. For stress that can’t be eliminated find ways to cope effectively with the use of exercise, meditation, massage, counseling, etc.
There are a number of illnesses that produce similar symptoms as listed above, so it is necessary to consult with a health care professional that is knowledgeable in this area. Perhaps a sound nutritionist or alternative health doctor capable of diagnosing and treating hypoglycemia. The key word here is “knowledgeable” because the average mainstream medical professional has a very limited education and understanding of the complex issues surrounding hypoglycemia.