Hypoglycemia is the abnormally low content of sugar (glucose) in the blood stream in the body. It has a lot of different causes and unlike its ‘cousin’, diabetes, it can affect any individual. Proper diet and health care can easily treat this disorder.
Glucose or blood sugar is the main content of our body, supplying us with energy. Carbohydrates found in vegetables, grains and fruits, are broken down into glucose in the digestive system. Glucose is the simple form of sugar that is present in our blood. The pancreas secrete insulin into the blood stream to maintain a steady sugar level in the body. However, if the secretion of insulin rises abnormally, glucose is completely absorbed, resulting in a severe deficiency of blood sugar. This abnormality causes problems in the functioning of the body, since a balanced sugar content is the driving force for all the body processes.
Hypoglycemia is more of a health problem than a disease. There is a difference between hypoglycemia prevalent in a diabetic person and that in a non-diabetic person. In case of a patient suffering from diabetes, there is a regular dose of medicines advised to maintain insulin level, which breaks down the glucose or blood sugar. If this proportion rises or there is hyperactivity in sugar breakdown, it causes low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. But, in case of non-diabetic individuals, there are two sub-types of hypoglycemia.
The reactive type mostly occurs in people whose bodily functions are susceptible to slight changes in functioning, although, its causes are a matter of speculation among the experts. Secretion of more glucose in the blood stream or sensitivity of the body to adrenaline secretions may cause reactive hypoglycemia. Another set of rare causes include post surgical complications, especially, if the stomach or the intestine has been operated on, or hereditary lack of sugar tolerance by the body. This type is characterized by a blood sugar level less than 70mg/dL.
Simply put, the cause of a fasting hypoglycemia is an already diseased body. People prone to this type either have a severe infection, heavy alcohol intake, certain other diseases, allergies to medicines, a malfunctioning heart, liver or kidney, or some form of hormonal deficiency. An individual with a blood sugar level of 50mg/dL, after a long break between meals, can be called hypoglycemic.
Signs and Symptoms
The above mentioned types of hypoglycemia have a number of signs and symptoms which are stated as follows. Any one of these might be a case of the illness, though, the same may vary with factors like age and environment.
- Excessive sweating
- Loss of concentration
- Increased heartbeat
- Feeling week or tired
- Tingling sensation in the hands, tongue or feet
- Lack of coordination
- Frequent mood changes
- Hunger pangs
- Blurry or obscured vision
- Difficulty in speaking
- Convulsive body
Hypoglycemia can also be caused during sleep, in which case the following signs and symptoms may be found:
- Damp clothes from excessive sweating.
- Frequent nightmares.
- Waking up with an irritated or fatigued feeling.
- Total disorientation and confusion.
Proper medical care and suitable changes in faulty habits can easily cure the ailment in most cases. However, in case of an individual already suffering from an illness, the consequences can be fatal and hence demand immediate medical treatment by an expert. It can be concluded from the entire study of hypoglycemia, that it is mainly caused due to an unhealthy lifestyle. It is neither a contagious disease nor one acquired due to external factors. A balanced diet, regular meals, physical activity, a good night’s sleep and a positive attitude are the effective and the best ways to prevent the occurrence of hypoglycemia.