What foods should I eat or avoid for hypoglycemia

A common side effect of medications such as insulin and sulfonylureas, is Hypoglycemia. A medical condition characterized by abnormally low levels of blood glucose, Hypoglycemia can occur in people with diabetes and also patients free from diabetes due to other medical conditions, medications, or alcohol consumption. Hypoglycemia refers to lowered blood sugar levels that impact normal functions of the body, as a result of depleted energy for the cells in the body. A common question among patients is – what foods should I eat or avoid for hypoglycemia? Following subsections offer a detailed look at the condition, along with answers to the above question.

Common symptoms of hypoglycemia

Symptoms commonly reported, usually vary depending on the severity and duration of the episode, apart from the individual’s age, overall health, and other factors. Common symptoms of hypoglycemia are listed below:

Symptoms are known to develop rapidly and may worsen if left untreated. Additionally, a section of patients are also known to experience “hypoglycemia unawareness,” a condition where the body no longer produces warning signs of low blood sugar. This can be dangerous as the individual may be unaware of the need to take action to prevent serious outcomes. Individuals experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia, are to check blood sugar level and consume a source of fast-acting glucose, at the earliest.

Treatment for hypoglycemia

Treatment for low blood sugar levels, depends on the severity of the episode and the underlying cause. However, typically, treatment involves consuming a fast-acting source of glucose to raise blood sugar levels quickly, followed by a slower-acting source of carbohydrate to maintain blood sugar levels.

For mild to moderate hypoglycemia, the following steps are advised:

Emergency intervention measures

Emergency intervention measures for severe hypoglycemia, characterized by confusion, seizures, loss of consciousness, or life-threatening symptoms, include the following:

Individuals with diabetes or other conditions that are known to cause hypoglycemia are advised to carry a source of fast-acting glucose at all times and to wear appropriate medical identification to alert others about the condition.

What foods should I eat or avoid for hypoglycemia?

Individuals with hypoglycemia are to consume a well-balanced diet including complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. These foods are digested more slowly, regulating blood sugar levels and preventing rapid drops in blood sugar.

Foods that are ideal for consumption by individuals with hypoglycemia include:

Foods that need to be avoided or limited by individuals with hypoglycemia include:

Healthcare providers and/or registered dietitians help in working out an individualized meal plan to meet the ideal nutritional needs of patients, and effectively manage hypoglycemia.

Who is at risk of developing hypoglycemia?

Though hypoglycemia can occur in anyone, certain categories of individuals may be at higher risk of developing hypoglycemia, including:

#1 People with diabetes: A common complication of diabetes, hypoglycemia occurs especially in those on insulin or certain oral medications that stimulate insulin production.

#2 Other existing medical conditions: Individuals with other medical conditions, such as liver disease, kidney disease, and hormonal disorders are also at risk of ending up with hypoglycemia.

#3 Post gastric bypass surgery: The surgical procedure can alter the manner in which the body absorbs and metabolizes nutrients, resulting in hypoglycemia.

#4 Excessive alcohol consumption: Alcohol can interfere with the liver’s ability to release glucose into the bloodstream, resulting in hypoglycemia.

#5 Infants and young children: By virtue of lesser stored glucose and developing brains, infants and young children are more prone to hypoglycemia.

#6 Elderly: As a result of other medical conditions, intake of multiple medications, and decreased liver and kidney functions, elderly individuals are more prone to hypoglycemia.

What is the difference between hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia?

Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are two conditions that involve blood sugar levels, but opposite in nature. Hypoglycemia refers to abnormally low blood sugar levels, with symptoms such as tremors, confusion, dizziness, sweating, and anxiety. The condition is often associated with diabetes, but is also known to occur in individuals without diabetes. This is attributed to reasons such as skipping meals, consuming excess alcohol, taking certain medications, or certain underlying medical conditions.

Hyperglycemia, refers to abnormally high blood sugar levels, and indicates diabetes, though it may also occur in individuals without diabetes due to various reasons. Common symptoms of hyperglycemia include increased thirst and urination, fatigue, blurred vision, and slow healing of wounds.

Leave a Reply