Hypoglycemia is the health condition of low blood sugar that can lead to weakness, headaches, and anxiety. Let’s find out everything about hypoglycemia.
What Is Hypoglycemia?
Table of Contents
Hypoglycemia is about low blood sugar, which may have symptoms like confusion and fatigue. People with persistent dropped blood sugar may get hypoglycemia. Getting low blood sugar is often linked with diabetes, but it is possible to get hypoglycemia without getting diabetes. Other common causes have critical illnesses, deficiencies, and extra alcohol consumption. When blood sugar lowers within 4 hours of eating a meal, a person may be feeling reactive hypoglycemia. This condition is occurred by extra insulin production after consumption.
Hypoglycemia symptoms include:
- feeling tearful
- feeling weak or faint
- turning pale
- tingling lips
- feeling mentally sluggish
- anxiety and irritability
- heart palpitations
- blurred sight
You should always try to consume breakfast as soon as possible for your after waking up, as blood sugar levels may get lower during the night.
It is recommended to lower the intake of fruit juices in the morning and stick with juices that do not contain extra sugar, as these may lead to blood sugar levels becoming unstable. Some ideal breakfast choices have:
Whole grain toast and hard-boiled eggs
Oatmeal with sunflower seeds, berries, agave, and cinnamon
Greek yogurt with honey, berries, and oatmeal
Cinnamon is thought to help lower blood sugar levels and can be added over different breakfasts.
Lunch should be a small meal but have healthy fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates that will continue to provide energy slowly.
Here are lunch ideas to deal with hypoglycemia are:
chicken, tuna, or tofu sandwich on salad leaves and whole grain bread
vegetable sand chickpea salad
A baked sweet potato, grilled fish, and a side salad.
It is necessary for someone with hypoglycemia to stay aware of the glycemic index or GI of the foods they eat. Some foods that seem healthy may contain high GI.
Fortunately, there is often a change that has a lower GI. For example, sweet potatoes provide low GI and plenty of antioxidants, making them a better choice than other potato types such as white potatoes, which contain high GI.
While it may seem irresistible to eat more in the evenings, a person experiencing hypoglycemia should control their evening food small.
A good dinner choice will add complicated carbohydrates and protein.
Dinner ideas include:
Tofu or chicken with vegetables and brown rice
salmon with salad or steamed vegetables
a bean stew with kidney beans, lentils, tinned tomatoes, and chickpeas
A person with hypoglycemia should try to add nutritious and small snacks in between meals to keep blood sugar levels constant and assure they get enough minerals, vitamins, proteins, healthy fats, and fibrous carbohydrates in their diet.
Try eating one snack in mid-morning, another in mid-afternoon, and some small snacks around bedtime can help to stabilize blood sugar day and night.
Some healthy snack options are:
a small apple with some cheddar cheese slices
a handful of seeds or nuts with one banana
one slice of wholegrain toast with one small sardine or tuna
Peppers, carrots, cucumber, and hummus
a vegetable smoothie
It is essential to remember that people who work out regularly may require to eat more frequently, as a sustained or strenuous workout can lead o blood sugar levels dropping.
A person Should consume some snack that includes protein and carbs before exercise. Good choices include:
One piece of a handful of fruit or berries and whole-grain crackers
Green yogurt with berries
some nuts and mixed dried fruit
cheese slices and peanut butter
Jelly sandwich and no sugar peanut butter on whole-grain bread.
Working out on a full stomach is not recommended, so keep pre-exercise snacks low and remember to keep hydrated by consuming more water.
Tips for Controlling Hypoglycemia
A person feeling a minor case of low blood sugar can eat 15-20 gm of fast-acting carbohydrates, such as a few crackers or one glass of fruit juice. If a person is still feeling signs of low blood sugar after 15 minutes, they can eat one more portion of 15-20 g of carbohydrates. Following a hypoglycemia diet will help to control symptoms and stop blood sugar from dropping.
Lowering simple sugars and boosting complex carbohydrates can help to manage blood sugar levels in the whole day and stop any sudden dips or spikes.
A person with hypoglycemia can try adopting lifestyle considerations:
consuming frequent meals skip high sugar foods, including sugary drinks, sweets, and fruit juices with sugar choosing foods with low GI scores lowering or removing alcohol consumption.
When to see a doctor
Drinking or eating a small number of fast-acting carbohydrates such as fruit juice or a piece of fruit can treat minor cases of hypoglycemia. However, anybody getting more severe or frequent symptoms should check with a doctor, as soon as possible. Hypoglycemia is a controllable condition, and getting an early diagnosis means the signs can be managed.
If left untreated, the symptoms of hypoglycemia can get frequent and harmful. The signs also mimic different conditions, so the physician needs to diagnose the condition and rule out different causes.
Foods to boost low blood sugar
When hypoglycemia happens, patients should follow the 15-15 rule. Eat 15 gm of carbohydrates to increase blood glucose and check your level again after 15 minutes. When the numbers return to normal, consume a snack to keep on track.
Gummy candies consist of carbohydrates, which have more effect on blood sugar levels. Simple sugar-based food absorbs rapidly into the bloodstream after you consume them and can increase the blood sugar within 5-15 minutes.
Eating between 15-30 gm of carbohydrates to help boost blood sugar. When it comes to candy, eat the following portions: 12 gummy bears, 15 hard-shelled fruit-flavored candies, five ring-shaped candies. and 4 chewy fruit candies or 6 large jelly beans.
Fresh or dried fruit
Fruits that offer the right amount of carbohydrates include 15 grapes, half banana, one small apple, or orange, two tablespoons of raisins.
Fruit juice can also promote blood sugar levels. It is recommended half a cup of any liked fruit juice such as orange, apple, cranberry, or pineapple juice.
Milk consists of carbohydrates and vitamin D, recommend drinking one cup of fat-free milk when your glucose level begins to drop.
Consuming one tablespoon of jam or honey as a snack after your blood sugar drop is a good way to balance blood glucose levels.
The Best Diet for Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia
Many things can occur in the body when your glucose levels are not balanced. One of the conditions you can grow during low hypoglycemia. Although this is commonly linked with getting diabetes, there is also a type that is called non-diabetic hypoglycemia. If you have signs like condition moreover that below, it is the best idea to check blood glucose levels. It is especially beneficial around mealtime and while you are sleeping. However, it can be tricky if you do not wish to do an invasive finger prick test each time you consume a meal or in the middle of the night when you should be sleeping.
Therefore, what is the solution? There are some, but less invasive ones, accurate and quick is continuous glucose monitoring. You can wear the discreet sensor from a quick glucose monitor on the arm back, scan it with your phone and read and save the glucose results. It is very easy; it is an informed way to change your lifestyle and diet to reduce your glucose levels. If you are wondering about the different types of hypoglycemia, how you can alter the diet to control symptoms and what the benefits of glucose monitoring are and read.
Can a Non-diabetic Get Low Blood Sugar?
The easy answer to this question is yes. Low blood glucose can impact people who do not get diabetes also. Before we go into the whys and hows of it all, remember that there are two types of non-diabetic hypoglycemia:
Blood sugar levels can sometimes lower after consuming a meal. It is known as reactive hypoglycemia. It commonly occurs within the first few hours following a meal. For example, reactive hypoglycemia can be an early symptom of diabetes.
Fasting Hypoglycaemia (non-reactive hypoglycemia)
It is not linked to meals and happens during a fast or during you are sleeping. Some possible causes of fasting hypoglycemia include particular medications such as beta-blockers, insulin, ACE/Inhibitors, extra alcohol, hypothyroidism, hypercortisolism, menopause, anorexia, and pancreatic tumors.
How Do You Determine Hypoglycemia?
The glucose level that describes hypoglycemia is irregular. Among diabetic people, glucose levels under 70 are considered low. However, among those without diabetes, hypoglycemia is more often defined as blood sugar drops below 55 mg/dL. Someone impacted by a blood sugar lower will feel the signs mentioned below.
Some people who do not have diabetes and get glucose readings of lower than 70 mg/dL will feel good. Active people who control their blood sugar, consume low carbohydrate diets, or fast commonly can see low blood sugar readings without medical symptoms.
In this case, where no signs are found, the values are likely good for the individual, and no actions are required. If you get any of the signs under, it is commonly your brain signaling that your glucose is low. When this occurs, your body is not getting the energy it required. If you have hypoglycemia, you may feel any of the following symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Pale skin
- Excess sweating
- Difficulty speaking
- Inability to concentrate
If you feel symptoms of hypoglycemia, it is important to take your doctor’s advice. They will be able to help you get the underlying lead and discuss options of treatment.
Who Is At Risk Of Hypoglycemia Without Diabetes?
Non-diabetic hypoglycemia can impact people for many reasons. However, you are more at risk if you:
- Have pre-diabetes.
- Have a genetic
- family history of diabetes
- Are obese
- have other health problems like anorexia, kidneys problems, adrenal glands, pancreas, or pituitary glands.
- Have had a particular type o belly surgery, including some bariatric surgery of gastric bypass.
- Consume medication for kidney problems
- Drink extra alcohol
What Is the Antidote for Non-diabetic Hypoglycemia?
When diagnosing non-diabetic hypoglycemia, a physician will check all the medical history and conduct multiple blood tests. If they guess reactive hypoglycemia, a physician will check and recommend blood tests.
If they notice reactive hypoglycemia, they may suggest a mixed meal tolerance test or MMTT. During an MMTT, you will get to drink that consists of fats, protein, and sugar. You will also undergo blood glucose level checks many times within the following 2-5 hours.
If the physician suspects non-reactive hypoglycemia because of a medical condition or medication, they will find this root cause.
For example, if it is medication-linked, your physician might make change the prescription. Medical treatment is not commonly needed for reactive hypoglycemia, and lifestyle or dietary changes are suggested to lower the symptoms.
If you have severe hypoglycemia or hypoglycemia linked to diabetes, you may require medication to control your blood glucose. If you have severe symptoms, your doctor may also suggest you carry glucose tablets or injectable glucose.
What Is the Hypoglycemic Diet?
Now that you know what is hypoglycemia and how to notice its symptoms let’s make changes in daily life to manage it. While you may sometimes get suggestions for a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, this type of diet has not been shown to help hypoglycemia. While there is no one size fits all when it is about diets, some of these dietary changes may be able to help:
Eat Small Meals And Snacks All The Day
It’s a good idea to space these out to one meal or snack around every three hours. It helps to manage the glucose in the bloodstream. However, it is not suitable for all. It is worth trying to know how it affects. For some people, lowering carbohydrates is an extra successful method, making you go longer between consuming without getting signs of hypoglycemia.
Make Sure Your Diet Has Different Foods
It should have protein such as nonmeat and meat, high fiber, and dairy but low cars foods such as nonstarchy vegetables. High fiber and whole-grain foods take more time to break down keeping your blood glucose level extra consistent.
Limit High-Sugar Foods
Sugar commonly does not do anything more favors. To skip blood sugar spikes, lower the amount you eat. You do not need to cut it out altogether, but keep in mind that if you have something sweet, it is a good idea to consume it with a meal.
Limit Or Avoid Alcohol
Extra drinking can lead to hypoglycemic symptoms. When you consume alcohol, skip mixing it with sugary drinks and drink it with food since that will help the belly absorb it slowly.
Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine can lead to raising the adrenaline, which can mimic the signs of hypoglycemia. It is the best idea to wean yourself off the dependency so you can feel good with some caffeine once in a while without more glucose spikes.
Choose The Right Carbohydrates
It is important to manage your blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates can get a high or low glycemic index. If you do not already know, the glycemic index measures how much the carbohydrate increases the blood glucose levels and how quickly it does this. Eating foods with a low glycemic index may help to manage blood sugar levels. Therefore, when you are choosing the carbohydrates, you wish to consume, select low glycemic index options. Aim for 2-4 servings at every meal that is 30-60gm and 1-2 servings 15-30 gm as a snack.
Include protein, fiber, and fat in all your meals
All these elements lower the possibility of steep spikes in blood glucose after a meal.
What to Eat When You Have a Hypoglycemic Event
If you get a hypoglycemic moment and can monitor blood glucose levels, you can follow something known as the 15:15 rule. Here is how to do it in 4 easy steps:
Eat 15 gm of carbohydrates/glucose. It can be in the form of a glucose tablet, one tablespoon of sugar, glucose gel tube, honey, or some hard candies.
Wait for 15 minutes
Measure your blood glucose levels
Repeat this treatment till your blood glucose levels go at least 70 mg/dL
If you are feeling signs and cannot measure blood glucose, it is a good idea to eat fast-acting carbohydrates. These are simple sugar with little to no fiber, like the recommendation above. Other options have fruits like grapes, bananas, apple sauce, raisins, or dates. When getting a hypoglycemic event, it is good to skip high-fat foods like cookies or chocolate. They do not increase blood sugar fast enough, as the fat can delay how quickly your body absorbs the needed sugar.
Remember, these are only band-aids and offer a short-term fix for hypoglycemia. If you are looking for a way to know the root cause, and stop further attacks, consider using a CGM.
What Is the Best Food To Consume When Your Blood Sugar Is Getting Low?
If you are suffering from instant hypoglycemia, it is good to try and skip low blood sugar by eating some snacks all the time. Ensure you do not stay hungry without eating. Snacks such as granola bars with nuts, protein, dried fruits, and trail mix, are good portable snacks to carry with you.
A Hypoglycemia Food List
Selecting low glycemic index foods can help to regulate blood glucose levels. Remember when you are planning your meals such as fish and meat do not have a glycemic index. It is because they do not consist of carbohydrates. Foods that consist of carbohydrates have less, moderate, and high glycemic index options.
Here is a breakdown of some of these, only to give you an idea of the good types of foods to select from:
Low GI: Spelt bread, whole-grain tortilla, sourdough bread, heavy mix grain bread.
Moderate GI: linseed bread, chapati, flaxseed bread, roti, pumpernickel bread, rye bread, whole-grain wheat bread.
High GI: Whole wheat bread, white bread, and naan bread.
Low GI: oat-bran, All-bran, steel-cut oats.
Moderate GI: quick, Instant, or large-flake oats.
High GI: Rice Krispies, Cornflakes, Cream of Wheat, Puffed Wheat, Special K.
Low GI: bulgur, Barley, firm/al dente pasta, pulse flours, quinoa, mung bean noodles.
Moderate GI: brown rice, cornmeal, Basmati rice, rice noodles, couscous, wild rice, long/short-grain white rice.
High GI: millet, Jasmine rice, sticky rice, instant white rice.
Low GI: popcorn, Peas, winter squash, sweet potato
Moderate GI: parsnip, Beets, corn, potato, rye crackers.
High GI: instant mash potato, Carrots, pretzels, soda crackers, and rice cakes.
Low GI: apricot, Apple, unripe/green banana, cantaloupe, grapefruit, berries, prunes honeydew melon, peach, mango, orange, pear, plum, pomegranate.
Moderate GI: Ripe banana, cherries, cranberries, pineapple, figs, kiwi, lychee, grapes, raisins.
High GI: overripe/Brown banana, watermelon.
Milk and yogurt
Low GI: Almond milk, frozen yogurt, soy milk, 1% and 2% cow’s milk, Greek yogurt, yogurt.
Moderate GI: N/A
High GI: Rice milk.
Beans, peas, and lentils
Low GI: chickpeas, Baked beans, kidney beans, mung beans, lentils, romano beans, edamame/soybeans split peas
Moderate GI: split pea soup or Ready-made lentil
High GI: N/A
With low glycemic index foods, you can even consider:
High-quality protein such as meat, eggs, or fish.
Alternative sweeteners like stevia in place of sugar
Fresh vegetables, like dark leafy greens
Does Workout Help Reactive Hypoglycemia?
Exercise is all time a good thing, therefore, a large answer to that quest is yes, it can help. However, it is essential to know that if you regularly get hypoglycemia, you may need to balance your diet according to your exercise plan.
For some people, sustained or strenuous physical activity can lead to lower blood glucose levels.
The best way to control this is to consume a small snack consisting of protein and carbohydrates before working out.
Eat a small snack and remember to keep your body hydrated with more water in physical activity. Examples of pre-workout snacks include:
Berries and green yogurt
Some nuts and dried fruits
some peanut butter and apple
Measuring Blood Glucose Levels Can Benefit Manage Hypoglycemia
Exercise, diet, medication, medical conditions, and lifestyle choices can impact blood glucose levels.
Therefore, it is the best idea to track all of these rather than only one or the other. An easy way to perform this is to have a CGM, an efficient and good way to control and monitor blood glucose levels for people with or without diabetes. Wearing a CGM may be particularly good when trying to lower the risk of hypoglycemia.