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Prediabetes and Hypoglycemia

Prediabetes and Hypoglycemia: Q and A

A lot of women with Insulin Resistance, Prediabetes and even Type 2 Diabetes suffer from hypoglycemia! So...I've gathered up all the questions ladies ask me about hypoglycemia and put together this Prediabetes and Hypoglycemia Q & A just for you.

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Q: What is Hypoglycemia? 

A: When your blood sugar (glucose) goes too low and your body can't function properly.

Technically, blood sugar under 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) is considered hypoglycemia.

 But! many people feel quite unwell when their blood sugar drops below 80 mg/dL.

 hypoglycemia = low glucose

Q: What are the Symptoms of Hypoglycemia?

A: Since having enough blood glucose is sooooooo important, your body has many ways of telling you WHEN your blood sugar is going too low.

Why is having enough blood glucose sooooooo important?

Because you need to have glucose in your bloodstream so your body can function properly.

Without enough glucose, your body will stop being able to do everything it has to do (like you thinking, being active, digesting your food and being emotionally stable).

Hypoglycemia is like a warning signal that danger is coming if you don't do something right away to fix it.

Hypoglycemia feels different to each person. Some people get a headache and some turn into grouchy monsters! (think your 3-year-old who needs a snack...)

Most people with hypoglycemia do feel very unwell and the symptoms are very noticeable and disabling.

sweating
headache
confused

If you get hypoglycemia frequently, you likely experience the same symptoms each time.

  • You feel shaky
  • You feel disoriented
  • You are sweating for no reason
  • You vomit for no reason
  • You faint, or feel like you might faint
  • You feel an impending sense of doom
  • You feel anxious and jittery
  • You feel nervous for no reason
  • You feel dizzy
  • You feel VERY hungry, like you'd eat anything
  • You are craving sugary foods
  • You feel VERY sleepy
  • You feel weak and have no energy
  • You find it hard to think and find the right words to communicate
  • You get a headache, often a migraine, which quickly goes away after you eat
  • You have difficulty doing complex tasks that require a lot of thinking
  • You have strange dreams, sometimes they are VERY scary
  • You become very pale and have clammy skin
  • Your heart is beating rapidly (heart palpitations)
  • Your vision is blurry and it seems black/grey on the sides of your vision
  • You wake up at around 3am and can't go back to sleep for a long time; eating a snack helps you to fall back asleep
  • You are quick to anger, and very grouchy
  • You are very argumentative, intolerant and mean (basically, you are a b*tch to be around)

Q: What Causes Hypoglycemia?

A: Hypoglycemia can happen for a number of reasons, but the biggest reason is simply not eating enough of the right kinds of carbohydrates!

Carbohydrates are turned into glucose in your body. So, you need to eat carbohydrates or you'll tend to get hypoglycemia!

Here are other reasons why you can get hypoglycemia:

If You Skip Meals

If You've Had Gastric Bypass Surgery

If You Take Certain Medications or Supplements

If You Have Insulin Resistance

If You Are Denying Yourself Food (Fasting)

You Are Doing Intense Exercise 

You Sleep In Sometimes Or Have Irregular Sleep Patterns

Q: What Is the Best Remedy For Hypoglycemia?

Actually, rather than there being ONE best remedy, there are SEVERAL things you need to keep in mind:

  • Eat Regularly at the Same Time Everyday

Eat 3 regular meals a day at consistent times... PLUS 1 mid-morning snack, 1 afternoon snack and one before-bed snack.

  • Avoid Empty/Refined Carbs

Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugary foods.

Focus on eating complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber. You can learn how to do that here.

no sugar
  • Don't Skimp on the Carbs

Low carb eating is the WORST THING you can do if you tend to get hypoglycemia!

Eating little to no carbs will leave you in a constant state of hypoglycemia. This is bad because you eventually will lose the ability to recognize hypoglycemic symptoms! 

Losing the ability to recognize hypoglycemic symptoms is called hypoglycemia unawareness.

It's no surprise that hypoglycemia unawareness can be dangerous and jeopardize the safety of yourself and the people around you.

  • Always Eat a Bit of a Starchy Carb at Your Meals

It's too bad that many people are scared of starchy complex carbohydrates.

Starchy complex carbs make blood sugar control sooooooo much easier!

You'll eat less and weight less too!

Now, you don't have to live off potatoes, or eat loaves of bread.

But if you ALWAYS make sure you eat a starchy complex carb at meal times, your life will become sooooo much easier AND your hypoglycemic episodes will likely be no more!  

For example, 1 medium-sized red potato is enough, or a half cup of whole grains, or 1 to 2 pieces of whole grain bread.

  • Avoid Food Allergens and Foods You Are Sensitive To

Allergens and foods that you are sensitive to can cause hypoglycemia within a few hours after you eat them.

Common foods that cause these problems are gluten, dairy, coffee and some preservatives.

no cheese
no wheat
  • Avoid Caffeine

High-caffeine drinks, like coffee or energy drinks, cause your stomach to prematurely empty. This can cause all sorts of digestive and blood sugar problems, including hypoglycemia.

Low caffeine drinks, like green tea or black tea, do not have enough caffeine in them to cause hypoglycemia or digestive issues. They even benefit blood sugar control.

  • Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol can cause terrible blood sugar problems, both high and low, immediately after you drink...and even the day after you drink.

Alcohol and Prediabetes is really not a good match.

no alcohol
  • Always Eat Breakfast as Soon as Possible in The Morning

Don’t delay eating breakfast in the morning if you have a tendency to get hypoglycemia!

AND always eat complex carbohydrates and some protein.

AND don't drink juice or a smoothie! Instead, eat a real breakfast food that requires chewing.

An example of a great breakfast is a bowl of muesli with soy milk, blueberries and 2 soft-boiled eggs.

  • Don’t Exercise Before Eating Breakfast

Exercising early in the morning before you eat is usually a recipe for a hypoglycemic episode. Eat and then exercise. Walking qualifies as exercise!

  • Don't Drink Your Food!

Drinking your meals sends your blood sugar higher than if you ate the same food whole, and chewed it.

Your body reacts to the high blood sugar by releasing a LOT of insulin.

In people that are prone to hypoglycemia or that are insulin resistant, this boost of insulin can quickly cause low blood sugar.

Q: Is Hypoglycemia Dangerous?

A: Yes, it can be!

Hypoglycemia is physically disabling when it happens and can also cause you to have an accident and harm yourself or others.

Car_Accident_Prediabetes_hypoglycemia

Severe hypoglycemia can cause a seizure, loss of consciousness, coma, possible brain damage and even death.

Q: Can I Drink Juice, Soda, Eat Sugar or Candy If I Get Hypoglycemia?

A: When you have Insulin Resistance, Prediabetes or Type 2 Diabetes, it is NOT a good idea to be drinking juice or pop, or sucking on sugar cubes or candy...

...BUT if you are experiencing a hypoglycemic episode, you need to take care of it! And quickly!

Dizzy_Prediabetes_And_Hypoglycemia

So what can you do?

Well, drinking equal parts of juice and water will help to raise your blood sugar without causing your blood sugar to go too high.

After drinking your juice and water, eat some real food to help keep your blood sugar stable: like a fruit and something that has complex carbs in it.

Q: Does a High Protein Diet Work For Hypoglycemia?

A: The research about whether a high-protein meat diet works to treat hypoglycemia is limited and mixed.

AND high-protein meat diets also bring other health problems to the table like increasing your Diabetes, Cancer, Obesity and Heart Disease risk...so...a high-protein diet is not a good idea.

There is a much better way to control hypoglycemia AND reverse your Insulin Resistance, Prediabetes and even Type 2 Diabetes. You can learn more about that here.

Q: What is Reactive Hypoglycemia?

A: Low blood sugar within 4 hours of eating a meal.

Reactive hypoglycemia is usually easily fixed by eating complex carbohydrates at meals times and dealing with any food sensitivities.

And that brings us to the end of our Prediabetes and Hypoglycemia Q & A. There are quite a few things to keep in mind, but the good news is they are all very easy to start and keep doing.

Here's to you keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level!

References:

About the Author Joan Pasay

As a Nutrition & Lifestyle Therapist I felt compelled to start Power In The Group. Why? To guide and support women like you with Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance so you can regain and nourish your health...without all the confusion. Together we can enjoy the richest quality of life for ourselves, with our families, and within our society...wanna come along?

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