Do You Know If You’re Hypoglycemic?

I am hypoglycemic. I have been all my life according to my mom and most of my immediate family are also hypoglycemic. While there are forms of hypoglycemia specifically caused by dietary habits I believe ours is the genetic type and runs in the family.

What is Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is a condition wherein the blood glucose levels are lower than the normal range of usually about 70 to 110 mg/dl. In its early forms, hypoglycemia can cause weakness, sweating, crankiness, nervousness and a dozen or so other symptoms. These symptoms are frustrating but for the most part manageable and inconclusive of hypoglycemia specifically, but if the condition is undiagnosed or untreated the result can be severe.

Worst Case Scenario

The brain consumes much of our body’s supply of glucose and it must be maintained to promote normal function. In cases of hypoglycemia, the brain’s supply of blood glucose is compromised which leads to Neuroglycopenia. Neuroglycopenia is described to be the impairment of brain function brought about by lower than normal levels of blood glucose. The effects of prolonged and severe hypoglycemia can range from mild unconsciousness to a coma.

Taking The Precautions And Considering The Costs

Knowing the severity of hypoglycemia and causes, you can safely prevent it from happening through a few methods. The most important thing do to though is to learn how to recognize when hypoglycemia sets in. You can purchase blood glucose level monitors but they aren’t necessary in all cases. Blood glucose monitors range from $20 to $70 depending on the type and brand.

For me though, I can always tell when my blood glucose levels have dropped, and those around me can quickly identify this as well…I’m not sure if this is based on my personality, or what but when my blood glucose levels drop, I exhibit all the mean hypoglycemic symptoms; irritability, crankiness, mood swings and depression. Once I learned that these were symptoms and not just my being in a bad mood for no apparent reason 🙂 I was able to quickly recognize that my blood glucose levels were too low. After I got familiar with hypoglycemia I was able to identify more symptoms aside from the most obvious but those are still my main indicators.

Keeping hypoglycemia in check is actually the easy part once you know you have it – it simply involves eating and raising your blood glucose level. If I all of a sudden feel snappy and irritable, I know I need to eat something. Some of the quickest things to get me back to normal include juice, lifesavers and even sugar packets depending on where I am but in most cases I feel that way because I took too long to eat a regular meal and I’ll just proceed to eat breakfast, dinner or lunch. I’ve never gone into a coma but I’ve experienced every other symptom on the list for hypoglycemia and it’s no pick-nick but thankfully it’s easy to treat in most cases.

You don’t have to spend much to treat hypoglycemia and it doesn’t have to ruin your life (or those around you) but you do have to learn to recognize the symptoms before things get too serious.

Have you experience hypoglycemia or a similar condition?

Image by lilee_n

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18 People have left comments on this post

» JackieNo Gravatar said: { Sep 1, 2011 - 11:09:08 }

I have not, but a relative has and it’s not something to mess around with. Sounds like you’re keeping yours in check!

» The One Income DollarNo Gravatar said: { Sep 5, 2011 - 10:09:36 }

I always have found it important to learn more about health issues- thank you for sharing as you may have helped someone.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

I hope the info can help someone 🙂 without knowing, it was quite the roller-coaster as a kid with the mood swings and depression.

» Lisa @ ThriftabilityNo Gravatar said: { Sep 9, 2011 - 11:09:19 }

I am Hypoglycemic. After the diagnosis (20 years ago), I believe the best piece of advice I ever got from my Dr. was to keep up on my proteins. If I make sure to have some protein each morning I usually do really well. As a rule, I don’t eat much sugar. One thing I know will set me off every time is maple syrup – so on the rare occasion that we have pancakes, I use sugar-free syrup. Knowing the issue and how to adapt makes up powerful in controlling it!

Great article, Jesse!

Lisa @ Thriftability

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Proteins, I’ve never heard that specifically but thats a great tip, I’ll have to try that.

Thanks Lisa for your comments and sharing your experiences.

» Barb FriedbergNo Gravatar said: { Sep 11, 2011 - 04:09:02 }

I get cranky when I don’t eat every few hours. So, I usually snack all day, and rarely overeat at meals.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

That’s great for dieting too, many diets I’ve studied teach you to eat more often and smaller meals.

» Jennifer BowenNo Gravatar said: { Sep 26, 2011 - 11:09:19 }

Great article. As a fellow Hypoglycemic I can relate to the “mean” symptoms. I also get hot flashes and shaky. Lisa is dead on though, a bit of protein always helps and avoiding sugary cereals is a big must for me.

The one other thing that has always been tricky is getting those around me to realize that sometimes I have to stop and eat something. It’s not that I’m just an oinker but I physically need to snack. 🙂

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Yep, I do the same. I just keep a jar of peanut butter in my desk drawer at all times and munch on a spoonful when I feel like biting someones head off 🙂

» Amanda L GrossmanNo Gravatar said: { Sep 26, 2011 - 04:09:00 }

I have normal sugars…but everyone else in my family has diabetes (is that hyperglycemic?).

I hope to stay away from diabetes (they all have Type 2, the non-genetic type I believe) by exercising and eating decently. I’m crossing my fingers!

It must have been a nice revelation to learn that it was not moodiness on your part, but a biological issue.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Hyper and hypoglicemia as well as diabetes all have to do with blood sugar levels but they aren’t the same thing exactly, and you can actually have either hyper or hypo along with diabetes which makes things pretty serious.

For diabetes Type 2 though you’re on the right track! My wife will probably get that as she loves her soda and sugar…

» Suzanne CramerNo Gravatar said: { Sep 29, 2011 - 08:09:16 }

My son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes earlier this year; so we know all about low blood sugar. I send him with jolly ranchers or smarties everyday in case he feels “low” so he can get his sugar back to normal range. Thanks for sharing your story!

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

No problem. It’s so crazy how the body works or doesn’t work when it lacks a simple thing like sugar. Glad you guys have it under control and good luck!

» BobbyNo Gravatar said: { Jan 13, 2012 - 07:01:46 }

Hypoglycemia and diabetes are very different medical conditions. When you have hypoglycemia and don’t even protein, not sugar enough, your blood sugar levels drop like rocks, and you start to feel faint and weird.
And to eat sugar or juice really doesn’t help hypoglycemics. They need protein, like peanut butter, cheese, meat, something with protein, not sugar in it.
I think beans have protein in them too. I’m noticing that eating lots of food that has white flour and sugar like pastry, will make me feel a lot weirder if I eat it alot with a strong cup of coffee with lots of sugar, than drinking juice &

» allyNo Gravatar said: { Sep 21, 2012 - 06:09:46 }

I have called my nurse at doctors office as I have been diagnosed with panic disorder…. for weeks I have been getting tension headaches without the pain just pressure in the head. After stopping ssri thinking that was the culprit I started getting more bouts with dizziness. so I called the nurse Since the 14th I have been having wierd faint feelings, its hard to walk around allot etc and i get a sort of panic attack, cold hands and feet, shakey internally, eyes feel tight in corner and bottom eyelid, Fast heart rate (117) , noise feels amplified while im shakey making me irritable, I dont have an appetite at times but I have been forcing myself to eat when I feel that way and sometimes i feel nausiated trying to down the food… I literally start to feel better after, after eating I get clammy hands and they start to warm up a bit. and the anxiousness in my body lessens and the muscles relax but am left with head aches. If I dont eat every 2 hours on the dime it happends… sometimes I dont catch it in time but I have been trying to follow a hypoglycemic diet as maybe adrenals are burnt out or somethin causing hypoglycemic like reactions, anywho nurse made me an appointment she says it def sounds more like hypoglycemia then the “normal” panic attacks, last blood work when I was feeling only fatigue and not dizzy or faint yet my glucose was 80 which is a good number right? Its such a scarey feeling when this happends and Its hard cause I feel like I cant eat anything cause I dont want a bad reaction I dont want to eat something that makes it get worse and i actually do faint.. appointments not until the 11th so im holding on! its out of control though so many attacks a day! worse though between 7 am and 3pm

allyNo Gravatar Reply:

Oh I was diagnosed as panic disorder a year ago, sometimes it can go hand in hand with being hypoglycemic and hyperthyroidism, they ruled out that it wasnt hyperthyroid.. so we will see, I will be so upset if this only got worse cause they didnt take the precautions of looking into my internal health because I seemed so anxious and worried they jumped to mental health and meds after complete blood panel.

» San Antonio VeterinarianNo Gravatar said: { Jan 2, 2013 - 02:01:30 }

I’ve noticed symptoms of hypoglycemia with some of the animals we treat at our animal hospital. It’s interesting to see this occurring in some dogs and even cats. Small amounts of exercise seem to wear them out rather quickly and experience some of the same effects that humans with hypoglycemia do.

» LisaNo Gravatar said: { Sep 28, 2014 - 10:09:54 }

I know this comes late. I just have a question

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