Hypoglycemia Is Not Just Experienced By Diabetics
Hypoglycemia is another condition in my pre- Sheehan’s Syndrome life that I was not aware of the effects. And, yes you can have Hypoglycemia and not have Diabetes. I have become all too aware that my Endocrine symptoms do not function correctly and my HypoGal system continues to have the domino effect. I have also learned that due to the lack and imbalance of cortisol, growth hormone, estrogen and testosterone my body may go into a Hypoglycemia state. Hypoglycemia can be life threatening.
So what exactly is Hypoglycemia?(1)
Hypoglycemia, also called low blood glucose or low blood sugar, occurs when blood glucose drops below normal levels. Glucose, an important source of energy for the body, comes from food. Carbohydrates are the main dietary source of glucose. Rice, potatoes, bread, tortillas, cereal, milk, fruit, and sweets are all carbohydrate-rich foods.
After a meal, glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the body’s cells. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps the cells use glucose for energy. If a person takes in more glucose than the body needs at the time, the body stores the extra glucose in the liver and muscles in a form called glycogen. The body can use glycogen for energy between meals. Extra glucose can also be changed to fat and stored in fat cells. Fat can also be used for energy.
When blood glucose begins to fall, glucagon—another hormone made by the pancreas—signals the liver to break down glycogen and release glucose into the bloodstream. Blood glucose will then rise toward a normal level. In some people with diabetes, this glucagon response to hypoglycemia is impaired and other hormones such as epinephrine, also called adrenaline, may raise the blood glucose level. But with diabetes treated with insulin or pills that increase insulin production, glucose levels can’t easily return to the normal range.
Hypoglycemia can happen suddenly. It is usually mild and can be treated quickly and easily by eating or drinking a small amount of glucose-rich food. If left untreated, hypoglycemia can get worse and cause confusion, clumsiness, or fainting. Severe hypoglycemia can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.
My most telling symptom my body is heading through Hypoglycemia is when my body craves sugar. Oh, there are certain times of the day I crave sugar! I don’t crave chocolate but jelly beans, red vines and hard candy. I love sugar! We have all read how terrible sugar is for us. But, unlike most people, my body needs more sugar and salt than the average person.
Once I begin my candy binge it can be difficult to gauge a cutoff point. My body screams for more, more and more Jelly Bellies. Even though I know I have had enough sugar my body seems to go on autopilot and ravenously inhale sugar treats. Each morning I look down at my flabby stomach and usually shake my head in disbelief as I recall all the candy and salty potato chip from the night before. Then the guilt from my unhealthy diet settles in. I try to reconcile my poor diet habits and remind myself it’s ok, your body needs this?
My mind shouts, NO, you do not need a half-gallon of ice cream, marshmallows or fruit chews; you are an addict. An addict with an addiction to sugar. I realize a fruit popsicle, a sip of OJ or a fiber bar would be more beneficial sugar substitute than my usually sugar fix. My body is constantly in search for its next sugar fix and when I have a sugar fix I battle not to consume too much sugar. It is a battle I hope one day to win.
(1) This information was written with the permission of the NIDDK
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