DIABETIC PUB
Reactive Hypoglycemia  
 
Hypoglycemia is the term for lower blood sugar as opposed to hyperglycemia which is the term for high blood sugar. Obviously lower and higher are terms relative to What is Normal Blood Sugar. It is believed that the cause of hypoglycemia, is an excessive inflow/secretion of natural insulin following a meal. This can happen from immediately after a meal to even 4 hours after. Reactive Hypoglycemia can happen to diabetics and non diabetics as well.

Reactive hypoglycemia, as the name suggests, is a sudden drop in blood sugar as a reaction to an overload of glucose. Meals high in carbohydrate content convert to glucose and spike the blood sugar. To which the body reacts with a surge in insulin secretion. For reasons not yet clearly understood, the insulin secretion continues well beyond required levels and causes the blood sugar to keep on dropping.  
Symptoms for Reactive Hypoglycemia can include; 
  • Weakness 
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Blurry Vision
  • Shakiness
  • Fatigue  

These can be very scary if one knows not the cause as well as the remedy.  

Regular and frequent use of one's meter is essential to identifying what is really happening at these times. It is not always essential to treat it, but this is where the
meter comes in - what IS essential is to test blood sugar, and treat it if it has dropped lower than 65 mg/dl (3.6mmol/l), or is dropping rapidly. The best rule of thumb is the 15/15 rule, which means to test, take 15g of carbs, and test again in 15 minutes. Continue this until blood sugar stops dropping and has risen to a safe level. This treats the hypo without causing too high of a spike, which can put the patient into a yoyo-ing roller coaster effect of widely swinging levels.

These foods provide about 15 grams of carbohydrate:  
  • ½ cup (4oz) of fruit juice or regular soda 
  • 6 or 7 hard candies 
  • 3 glucose tablets 
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar 
Using fatty carbs like chocolate candy is not advised because the fats may delay the effect of the carbs.

Some people are known to suffer from hypo-unawareness. In such cases the usual symptoms for low blood sugar are not felt by the individual. The consequenses for unawareness to hypoglycemia can be life threatening  and the only solution available to such people is to have a very narrow window of blood glucose control and constant monitoring of blood sugar levels, especially after meals.