Blood sugar - low; Low blood sugar
Since glucose (sugar) is the brain's primary fuel, your brain feels the majority of the effects of hypoglycemia:
The following conditions can cause hypoglycemia:
If your symptoms are not severe, your health care provider will order a blood test called a glucose tolerance test, the same test used to diagnose diabetes. If your levels are only slightly below normal, diet and lifestyle changes may be sufficient. If your symptoms are severe, you will get glucose in either an oral or injectable form to bring your blood sugar level back to normal as quickly as possible. Additional tests may determine the cause of your low blood sugar.
It is important to treat low blood sugar immediately to avoid long term serious effects. Hypoglycemia resulting from exercise several hours after a meal rarely produces serious symptoms. A glass of orange juice and a piece of bread can correct your blood sugar levels within minutes. However, in people with underlying diseases, fluctuating blood sugar levels are more serious and must be treated with oral or injectable forms of glucose. You can take oral glucose if you are able to swallow. If not, your doctor can give you an injection.
Long-term treatment is aimed at the cause of the hypoglycemia, but alternative therapies may also be useful in regulating blood sugar in the short term. Nutritional support should be part of treatment. Inform your physicians about all complementary and alternative treatments. Some of these treatments can interfere with conventional medical therapies. Work with a doctor who is knowledgeable in complementary medicine to find the right mix of treatments for you.
Following these nutritional tips may help reduce symptoms:
You may address nutritional deficiencies with the following supplements:
Herbs are a way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your health care provider to diagnose your problem before starting any treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, or teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). People with a history of alcoholism should not take tinctures. Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures singly or in combination as noted. If you are pregnant or nursing, talk to your doctor before using any herbal products.
Acupuncture may decrease stress, increase coping skills, and regulate hormone function.
Any underlying condition that may be causing your hypoglycemia must be aggressively treated so that your episodes do not recur. If you have hypoglycemia when you exercise, carry a healthy snack with you. hypoglycemia causes a cascade of effects that may induce stress and cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart beat), contribute to sudden cardiac death, and cause bleeding in the brain. Speak to your doctor.
DO NOT ignore the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. Untreated, it can cause irreversible brain damage, coma, or even death.
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