Hypoglycaemia is a condition in which the body’s blood sugar levels drop too low. It is also known as insulin reaction. When the concentration of glucose in the blood is too low, it can not meet the requirements of key organs (especially the brain). When this happens, symptoms are related to mental ability and energy levels.
An analogy of this is a wood fired stove. If we want constant, effective energy levels then we must feed our stove quality fuel in the form of complex carbohydrates and fibre. This ensures the wood stove to burn evenly and at the right consumption rate. If, however, the body is supplied with refined carbohydrates, stripped of fibre and protein then the situation becomes similar to burning paper in the stove. This will inevitably create a fast burning, high heat fire which will only burn for a small amount of time.
Hypoglycaemia is the opposite of diabetes, which is high blood sugar levels. Even though these two disorders are the opposite of each other, they are both closely related due to the fact that they are caused by the body’s inability to use sugar from the diet effectively.
Usually the body will crave sweet foods as these increase the blood sugar level and reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of hypoglycaemia. When sweet foods are consumed this causes a spike in blood sugar levels, higher energy levels and increased mental energy. However this has a negative effect on the pancreas as it produces a higher amount of insulin which is needed to transport the sugar in to the cells. An increase in insulin helps to balance the blood sugar levels and this creates a vicious circle as too much insulin causes a drop in blood sugar as all the sugar enters the cell, we experience a sugar high and then 30 minutes after we then experience a drop in energy and hit the wall with typical symptoms of weakness, drowsiness and emotional distress.
Many people experience hypoglycaemia around 11am and 3pm as the sugar eaten at breakfast and lunch wears off around these times. This is the time when we start thinking about eating chocolate and craving sweet foods to help increase our energy and stamina and get us through our day.
There are two types of hypoglycaemia (reactive hypoglycaemia and fasting hypoglycaemia):
A six hour oral glucose tolerance test is usually the test given to help to determine whether there is a hypoglycaemia problem. The patient fasts overnight and is then asked to consume glucose added to water. Blood measurements are then made and the information is recorded to determine the severity of blood sugar disorder.
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