Have you experienced restless hunger? Accompanied by sweat and anxiousness just because you haven’t had a bite to eat in a while? Been there done that? Well, if you have ever experienced that feeling, it’s probably because of your sugar going down.
You may already know that. But do you know what to do when such a thing happens? You may think grabbing a bar of chocolate would be the best thing to do as you need more sugar when your sugar is done. But is it really the ideal thing to do?
If you are at a crossroads about it, let’s make things easier for you by enlightening you on what to do.
But before we get there, let’s cover the basics, shall we?
What is Hypoglycaemia and how does it affect the body?
Hypoglycaemia, also known as low blood sugar, happens when the blood glucose levels drop down the normal limit. Low blood sugar can affect the body by hampering several pivotal functions of the body. Some severe complications can be a heart attack and brain bleed. Other health consequences can be kidney disease, eye disease, and nerve damage. Hypoglycaemia can also cause digestive issues in some patients, to be specific, a condition called gastroparesis.
So, what causes hypoglycaemia?
Even though low blood sugar is common among diabetics, it can also affect people who do not suffer from diabetes. Some of the causes of low blood sugar observed in non-diabetics can be some medications, excessive consumption of alcohol, insulin overproduction, hormone deficiencies, and long-term starvation.
Although one of the most common causes of low blood sugar is starvation, the levels can dip after consuming meals. The reason remains unknown and more research is required to ascertain the cause.
Aforesaid, blood sugar dips are common with diabetics. This can be because of several medications that are taken to control blood sugar levels. Being a diabetic, your body may not produce insulin (type 1 diabetes) or it can be less responsive to it (type 2 diabetes). Consequently, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream and can reach alarmingly high levels. To regulate the levels, you might take insulin or any other medications. However, excess insulin or other diabetes medicines may lower your blood sugar levels significantly, causing hypoglycaemia.
So, what to do when your sugar drops down?
If you experience the symptoms of hypoglycemia, there are several steps you can take to manage the condition and bring your blood sugar levels back to normal:
Consume fast-acting carbohydrates:
In case of mild hypoglycemia, immediately consume a source of quick-acting carbohydrates such as glucose tablets, fruit juice, or regular soda. These can rapidly raise your blood sugar levels.
Follow up with complex carbohydrates:
After the initial boost, consume complex carbohydrates like whole-grain bread, crackers, or a balanced meal to help stabilise your blood sugar levels.
Monitor your blood sugar:
Check your blood sugar levels regularly, especially if you have diabetes, to monitor the response to treatment and ensure the levels return to a safe range.
Drinking water is essential to help your body process the carbohydrates you’ve consumed and maintain overall health.
It’s important not to consume excessive sugar, as this can lead to a blood sugar spike and subsequent crash, creating a rollercoaster effect.
Tips to prevent hypoglycaemia
Preventing hypoglycaemia is the best approach, especially for those with diabetes. Here are some strategies to help you maintain stable blood sugar levels:
Eat regular, balanced meals with a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to provide a steady source of energy.
Incorporate healthy snacks into your daily routine to prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low between meals.
If you’re on insulin or diabetes medications, work closely with your healthcare provider to ensure the right dosages and timing for your specific needs.
Regular exercise can help your body use insulin more efficiently and maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Alcohol in moderation:
If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation and always have food with it to prevent hypoglycemia.
Continuous glucose monitoring:
If you have diabetes, consider using continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices to track your blood sugar levels in real-time and receive alerts if they drop too low.
Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is essential for your overall health and well-being. Hypoglycaemia can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, but with proper awareness, prevention, and prompt action, you can effectively manage and even avoid low blood sugar episodes. If you have diabetes or are at risk of hypoglycaemia, work closely with your healthcare provider to create a personalised plan for managing your blood sugar levels. Remember, your health, nutrition, and well-being are all interconnected, and keeping your sugar in check is a vital part of that equation.