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  • May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

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    Old 03-20-2006, 01:44 AM   #1
    Willapp
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    May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    I've wondered for a while now if I might be Hypoglycaemic. I'm 23 and there have been a few incidents over the past few years where, if I go a long time without eating I start to feel really bad - shaky, dizzy, confused etc. Eating something sugary fixes these feelings within minutes.

    Now, this seems pretty clearly to indicate Hypo - I've looked up the symptoms and I match perfectly, don't I?

    Question is, is it worth getting confirmed by a Doctor? Regulating my diet seems to prevent these symptoms from occuring - I try to eat regularly and not eat too much in one go. I do regular exercise and this seems to help. Will a doctor offer any useful advice other than to keep doing what I'm already doing?

    Part of me would like to get it checked to confirm that it is Hypo, but I just don't know if it's worth the hassle when they probably can't do anything about it.

    It could've been caused by my poor diet in the past - I used to eat LOTS of sweets and drink lots of fizzy drinks as a teenager, despite doing lots of exercise too so I was never overweight or unfit, but this could've played havoc with my sugar levels?

    Any advice welcomed.

     
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    Old 03-20-2006, 06:41 AM   #2
    Willapp
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    Well, I've made an appointment to see the doctor on Thursday. Figured it was worth getting a diagnosis one way or the other.

    One other question I've got though. Assuming I do have a blood sugar problem like Hypoglycaemia, can it affect you all the time? For example, even when I do eat regularly and don't feel my blood sugar is particularly low (no warning signs like shaking etc) I have trouble concentrating and find sometimes I feel either 'high' or 'low' for no apparent reasons. Also in the past year I've noticed my memory is getting terrible (sometimes I even forget what I'm going to say mid-sentence!). Could this be attributed to the Hypo? Can I stop things getting worse?

    The concentration thing in particular is really affecting my work because I do a mentally challenging job (writing computer software) and recently I find myself just staring into space or not being able to keep focused on my work for more than a few minutes at a time! Help!

     
    Old 03-20-2006, 01:29 PM   #3
    Mark Munday
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    It sounds like you could have what they call Reactive Hypoglycemia. Ask the doctor to arrange a 5 hour Glucose Tolerance Test. They give you a sweet drink and test your blood sugar several times over the next 5 hours. If your blood sugar goes up after the drink but drops below normal several hours later, that would indicate Hypoglycemia.

    The same thing happens after high-carb meals (if you do have Hypoglycemia). And there are two ways to stop it from happening : eat smaller meals more regularly, or reduce the amount of carbs you are eating with your meals. Seeing that the carbs are most likely the cause of the problem in the first place, reducing consumption of them makes the most sense.

    Many people live with Hypoglycemia for years, without it getting any worse. But it often leads to Type 2 diabetes. And reducing carbs in your diet could prevent this from happening.

    You might want to get a blood glucose monitor so that you can test your blood sugar when you aren't feeling so good. It will make getting to grips with the problem a lot easier.

    Cheers,

    Mark

     
    Old 03-21-2006, 01:32 AM   #4
    Willapp
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    Thanks Mark.

    I'll mention this to the Doctor on Thursday and see what he has to say. I seem to be able to control this happening quite effectively - to prove I wasn't imagining the symptoms I made sure ate all my lunch yesterday (at about 2pm) and then didn't eat anything until I had dinner at about 6:30. Sure enough by 5pm, when I got home from work, I felt definitely 'off' and got slowly worse until I ended up having some fruit juice just before dinner (didn't want to push my luck) and almost instantly felt better.

    Hopefully the blood glucose tests will be conclusive, but if not then I'm convinced enough by the symptoms and how easily I can cure them that I've nailed the problem.

     
    Old 03-22-2006, 06:49 PM   #5
    KerryT
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    I suffered from hypoglycemia since I was a teenager. I had no idea how to control it. I just knew that when I'd get shaky and confused, to eat something sweet and I'd be fine. It was a vicious cycle.

    Two years ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Hypoglycemia is often a precursor to this disease. But I went on a low-carb diet, and I had no more low-blood sugar episodes. The South Beach diet is an excellent diet, and more lenient than the Atkins diet.

     
    Old 03-23-2006, 01:56 AM   #6
    Willapp
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    Hi Kerry, thanks for your input.

    I think I'm in a similar situation to you. I have been noticing this problem on and off for about 3 years now. The first time I noticed it was when I'd not eaten anything all day, and by 3pm had started to feel really shaky and disoriented. It didn't take long to work out that it was probably due to not eating so I quickly ate a chocolate bar and things went back to normal very quickly.

    I've only had a few episodes like this in 3 years, but after the most recent one I've decided to get it checked out so that I've at least got some confirmation that it is what the problem is.

    I've been reading about type 2 diabetes and can't really see the connection though - isn't type 2 where you don't produce enough insulin? I was under the impression that my current problems are caused by too much insulin after eating sugars causing a drop in blood glucose level. How do you get from one to the other?

    I really don't want diabetes, unless I can control it through my diet - I have a big phobia of needles and can't imagine having to give myself insulin injections regularly, it makes me feel sick just thinking about it! My diet isn't really that bad anymore - it used to be awful as a teenager (too much sugar, not enough good stuff), but I've always done lots of exercise too - have NEVER been overweight, or even close to it. I would call myself a 'healthy' person, as even now I use the gym 3 times a week, and don't really have that much sugar in my diet anymore. Hopefully I can prevent diabetes from arriving!

    What do you think?

     
    Old 03-23-2006, 05:06 PM   #7
    VAUXHALL OMEGA
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    Hi just been reading your thread. I have had type one diabetes for 23 years! so thought I would add here. Firstly I have to disagree with Mark, going hypo as you describe, is down to the fact the body is producing insulin, but your body is lacking carbs for it too work on to turn into glucose! You need to have carbs in your diet, people who talk about reducing their carbs in their diet, have the type 2 diabetes, where they have to consider getting their weight down! When you have a hypo, if you were to have something ie chocolate at this moment, then the lack of concentration, shaking that you describe will temporarily go, if you don't then go onto eat some carbs, you will soon go hypo again, as quick acting food ie sweets chocolates will not sustain your sugar levels, only give a quick high! Carbs work slowly as they are slowey digested, and sugar released slowley, so your body will not swing from low to high to low so easily! You are not diabetic, but your body is letting you know it needs to be fed slow acting sugar release foods ie high fiber, carbs for your brain to function correctly, hence the concentration and memory problems you have described.

    Type two diabetes comes about due to being overweight, and there not being enough insulin to cope. Type one is when you have no insulin and like myself have to inject!

    There are many people who expereince hypoglycaemia, because without sugar releasing foods or lack of, your brain/body has no energy!

    Do you miss lunch, breakfast at all, also when you have one of these hypos have you just done something like some sport or something, as obviously energy uses up more sugar!

    I hope this makes sense, and I haven't confused you.

    Best of luck

    Last edited by VAUXHALL OMEGA; 03-23-2006 at 05:12 PM.

     
    Old 03-24-2006, 02:21 AM   #8
    Willapp
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    Thanks for your response, it certainly does make sense!

    I used to skip breakfast entirely, which probably didn't help, but now I do have a cereal bar once I get to work. This probably isn't that great though, since I think it's quite high in sugars. I'm going to make an effort to eat a better breakfast before leaving for work, and see if that helps.

    I went to the Doctors yesterday and explained the problems, and he wasn't helpful at all! Basically saying that I don't have diabetes, which of course I know! He said it is normal to feel the way I do if I go without eating for more than a few hours - this I cannot believe, as everyone I've spoken to about it doesn't have the same problems, and at times it has been bad enough that I've felt like I was going to pass out unless I got some food into me.

    He did refer me for blood tests, but I'm considering not having them done - firstly because I hate needles, and secondly because I'm not even convinced they will show up anything, because these problems come and go - I was told not to eat for 12 hours before the tests (fasting), but even then I don't think it will show up anything, especially if he's only looking for diabetes symptoms.

    For now I'm just going to concentrate on my diet - reducing my basic sugar intake and focusing on more carbohydrates. I'm not worried about gaining weight since I exercise regularly anyway.

    We will see how it goes, if not then I'm going to see my regular doctor instead of the useless jerk I went to see yesterday! (He was generally rude, unhelpful and said I was just 'overreacting' to my problems.)

     
    Old 03-24-2006, 03:15 AM   #9
    Mark Munday
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Willapp
    ...... I've been reading about type 2 diabetes and can't really see the connection though - isn't type 2 where you don't produce enough insulin? I was under the impression that my current problems are caused by too much insulin after eating sugars causing a drop in blood glucose level. How do you get from one to the other? ......
    There is a strong connection between hypoglyceamia and type 2 diabetes. I am not an expert. But I will do my best to explain it.

    The connection between Hypoglyceamia and Type 2 Diabetes is that they are different stages of a process which results in your pancreas not being able to control your blood sugars. Let me explain ....

    The easiest way to understand this is in terms of the the two phases of insulin response that occur after carbohydrate is consumed. The so-called Phase One insulin response involves the release of stored insulin granules into the blood stream. It is very quick, taking place only minutes after food is eaten. And it is why blood sugar levels in "normal" people don't rise much after carbs are eaten. The Second Phase insulin response takes longer and involves the production of new insulin by the beta cells. The higher the blood sugar level goes, and the longer the period over which it rises, the greater the phase two insulin response will be. In other words, the more insulin gets produced.

    When both phase one and two insulin responses are working properly, blood sugar levels don't rise much. But if the phase one response stops working properly, blood sugar levels spike after meals, causing an exagerated phase two response production of insulin. More insulin is produced than is required to deal with the carbs that have been eaten. This causes the blood sugar level to fall rapidly several hours after the meal. And that is when you get dizzy and feel terrible.

    This is what happens with Reactive Hypoclycemic episodes. Your blood sugar crashes because of a poor phase one insulin response to the consumption of carbs. And, contrary to what VAUXHALL OMEGA suggests above, eating more carbs only aggravates the situation. If you didn't eat the carbs in the first place, you wouldn't get hypo.

    The overproduction of insulin caused by a deteriorating phase one insulin response, together with the extra carbohydrate consumed to support falling blood sugar levels, eventually leads to insulin resistance. This is the underlying cause of Type 2 Diabetes. The phase two insulin response becomes ineffective because the body's response to insulin weakens. The result is that blood sugar levels rise. And this eventually becomes diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes.

    Type 2 diabetes starts with your pancreas producing ever increasing amounts of insulin. It has to do this because the insulin is not being used properly. Eventually, the beta cells burn out and insulin production falls. And, ultimately, extra insulin has to be injected to keep blood sugar levels under control.

    Hope this helps explain the connection between Hypoglycemia and Type 2 diabetes. It shows how, if you treat your Hypoglycemia by reducing your consumption of carbs, you may be able to prevent it developing into Type 2 diabetes.

    Cheers,

    Mark

     
    Old 03-24-2006, 07:01 AM   #10
    Willapp
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    Thanks Mark.

    After posting that message, I did do some more research and eventually found out the connection for myself, though it wasn't explained nearly as well as you managed it, so thanks for that.

    I guess the next obvious question is, what should my diet be like? I know it is better to eat little and often to avoid these blood sugar spikes, but what particular foods should I favour / avoid?

    I do think my diet is fairly good right now, though it is still probably quite high in carbs, as I do regularly eat potatoes, rice etc. Won't cutting out too many carbs leave me low on energy though? I like to do a fair amount of exercise (particularly weight work) so I need energy reserves to handle this. Last thing I want is to feel tired all the time!

     
    Old 03-24-2006, 11:22 AM   #11
    VAUXHALL OMEGA
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    Hi again , although I hear what Mark is saying, he has totally confused me! I know your not diabetic, but the symptoms of shaking loss of concentration etc are due to excess insulin in your body with no food to work on! If a normal person doesn't eat, then obviously if your body is used to kicking out a certain amount of insulin to work on the food, you will start to shake, lack concentration etc. My son who is not diabetic, just an example here, used to have a sugary cereal for breakfast, at school his concentration levels were apalling! Now he is eating porridge or brown bread (Carb) which sustains his sugar levels, which allows the body the have slow release of sugar in the blood stream, which helps him to concentrate for longer periods.

    As a diabetic myself if I inject insulin, and avoided carbs and ate things like lettuce tomatoes etc I would then go hypo with the same symptoms as your self, so I have always had to have a certain amount of carbs to work with the amount of insulin I am injecting, obviously the less I am injecting the less carbs I will eat, so that my sugar level does not rise too quick. Obviously with yourself as you are not in control with the amount of insulin your body is producing, if you decrease your carbs you are probably going to keep going hypo.

    I think a quick cereal bar for breakfast for a man is not sufficient, and I feel that maybe that is why your body is going hypo after a few hours, things like brown bread, wholemeal rice, and porridge are great for a good start, and they will help keep your weight good, unlike unrefined foods such as white bread, white rice, sugary snacks etc, and should help keep your sugar levels even!

    I am sorry that what I say is different to Marks, I think the best thing you can do is look at the information, and make your own judgement!

    Best of luck for this annoying problem.

    Last edited by VAUXHALL OMEGA; 03-24-2006 at 11:24 AM.

     
    Old 03-24-2006, 12:29 PM   #12
    Mark Munday
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Willapp
    ...... I do think my diet is fairly good right now, though it is still probably quite high in carbs, as I do regularly eat potatoes, rice etc. Won't cutting out too many carbs leave me low on energy though? I like to do a fair amount of exercise (particularly weight work) so I need energy reserves to handle this. Last thing I want is to feel tired all the time!
    If you are in fact Hypoglyceamic, you need to change your diet so that carbohydrate becomes a relatively smaller source of energy. You need to consume just as many calories. But you need to get more of them from fats. Initially, you might feel a loss of energy, as your body retrains and becomes more efficient at metabolising ketones. But after a few weeks, you will experience much higher energy levels and your blood sugar levels will level out. The other benefit, of course, is that this way of eating is less likely to lead to Type 2 diabetes.

    The conventional wisdom is that you need to carbo-load before anaerobic exercise, like weight lifting. And you may need to bump your carbs up before workouts. But there are an increasing number of low-carbers out there who are fuelling this type of activity with high-fat food. As a type 1 diabetic, I have never been able to get this right. And I avoid anearobic exercise. Anyway, you can still minimise carbs in your meals and use glucose tablets or similar carbs during workouts to boost your energy levels. There is no reason why you need to eat carbs with your meals.

    Cheers,

    Mark

     
    Old 03-24-2006, 12:55 PM   #13
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    Hi Mark I didn't realise you are a Type 1 like myself! I don't understand the fat thing! As a diabetic as you probably know, we are not able to deal with satuated fats, as well as a non diabetic! I have always been advised by the diabetic doctors to keep to a low fat diet, to avoid future possible complications ie stroke, heart disease, ciculation problems etc. I also know that if we have too much saturated fat in our diet, we may not necessarily look overweight, but our cholestral levels in our blood will increase, which is dangerous in its self!

    I go to the gym twice a week, and eat a brown wholemeal sandwich, before I go to keep my sugar levels stable, I eat a good fats diet, olive oil, oily fish etc, and my good fats level are good.

    If I went to the gym and did not have any carbs, then I would go hypo and have to reach for quick sugar releasing food, ie chocolate, if I did not then top that up with some carb, my sugars would then very quickly fall again, and would be up and down like a yo yo.

    Do you manage to keep your sugars stable? also are you not concerned about the unhealthy fats?

    Regards

    Last edited by VAUXHALL OMEGA; 03-24-2006 at 01:01 PM.

     
    Old 03-24-2006, 05:56 PM   #14
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by VAUXHALL OMEGA
    Hi Mark I didn't realise you are a Type 1 like myself! I don't understand the fat thing! As a diabetic as you probably know, we are not able to deal with satuated fats, as well as a non diabetic! I have always been advised by the diabetic doctors to keep to a low fat diet, to avoid future possible complications ie stroke, heart disease, ciculation problems etc. I also know that if we have too much saturated fat in our diet, we may not necessarily look overweight, but our cholestral levels in our blood will increase, which is dangerous in its self!

    I go to the gym twice a week, and eat a brown wholemeal sandwich, before I go to keep my sugar levels stable, I eat a good fats diet, olive oil, oily fish etc, and my good fats level are good.

    If I went to the gym and did not have any carbs, then I would go hypo and have to reach for quick sugar releasing food, ie chocolate, if I did not then top that up with some carb, my sugars would then very quickly fall again, and would be up and down like a yo yo.

    Do you manage to keep your sugars stable? also are you not concerned about the unhealthy fats?

    Regards
    Whew! You have raised a number of contentious issues there. Issues over which my opinion has changed dramatically over recent years. So here is some background.

    About 3 years ago, my HBA1cs were 8.5%+ and my endo told me I had to do something to get them down, or I would develop complications. I was religiosuly following the high-carb/low-fat diet the diabetes clinic put all their patients on. And I couldn't understand what I was doing wrong. I had for many years felt that eating high-carb and maintaining stable blood sugars was intuitively ****-eyed and that there must be a better way. But the medical professionals kept telling me that I "needed" 180 - 200 grams of carbs a day. And that I would lack energy if I cut back on carbs. And that I would get heart disease if I increased fats in my diet.

    I decided to do some independent research and discovered that there are many diabetics out there who have rejected the high-carb religion and achieve great results on a low-carb/high fat diet. I was surprised to discover that, typically, they don't have kidney or hart problems either. So I decided to try it out for myself.

    I had my kidney function and lipid profile tested before I started a low-carb diet 2 years ago. Since then, I ave virtually eliminated grains, potatoes, rice and anything made of flour from my diet. Because I used to get a lot of calories from those foods, I have had to increase my consumption of eggs, cheese milk, fish, nuts and meat.

    The result is that my blood sugar control is a lot better, with an HBA1c of arounbd 6.5%. And my cholesterol has, if anything improved. In spite of increasing egg consumption from 3 a week to 14-20 a week, total cholesterol is lower. And my LDL has gone down while HDL has gone up, so heart disease risk is lower than ever.

    The reality is that 80% of your cholesterol is made by your liver. And the more cholesterol you eat, the less you liver produces. So-called "bad" fats, or saturated fat, doesn't get tuned into cholesterol anyway. So I don't know what all the fuss is about. I suspect that it has lot to do with money and drug advertising. And I just ignore it.

    I eat as much saturated fat as I can. It contains lots of calories (I struggle to maintain my weight) and essential fatty acids. The only fats I avoid are trans fats, or partially hydrogented vegetable oils. All other fats are good and healthy. So, no, I am not concerned about "unhealthy fats" because, as the the tests show, my body does very well on them.

    If you were on a low-carb diet, you would still need some extra carb before workouts. But you propbably wouldn't need as much. Your body would be accustomed to getting energy from keytones and would only need to utilise carbs during peak energy requirement times.

    Cheers,

    Mark

     
    Old 03-27-2006, 01:46 AM   #15
    Willapp
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    Re: May be Hypoglycaemic, what to do?

    Aaargh! This is so complicated! I understand what both of you are saying, though I still don't know what I should be doing in terms of diet!

    My understanding of the Hypo situation is that, after eating lots of carbs the body produces insulin, but in my case perhaps too much, causing a gradual drop in sugar levels to below normal. In that sense I agree with what Mark is saying, that if I eat less carbs in one go, it won't trigger such a spike in insulin production. However I do need carbs - I think - in my diet in order to keep my energy levels up.

    That said, I wonder if things have seemed worse recently (past few months) due to me eating MORE healthy than ever before - my fat consumption has certainly gone down, along with my sugar intake. Could this be actually contributing to the current situation? When I say worse I mean more regularly noticing these *potentially* hypo symptoms, especially my general lack of concentration at work. I even take vitamin supplements and fish oil tablets now, which are supposed to help things like concentration, but I'm not sure I've noticed any real improvement.

    I'm definitely going to try and eat better breakfasts from now on, and see what difference - if any - it makes.

    EDIT: I just wanted to add that the most important thing for me is avoiding the possibility of developing type 2 diabetes if at all possible. I'm nowhere near overweight though, but I'm worried that getting too many carbs might 'wear out' my insulin production and have that exact result. Is this likely?

    Last edited by Willapp; 03-27-2006 at 01:52 AM.

     
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