Hypoglycemia: What You Should Know About it

Yesterday I was getting ready to call it a day and go home from Janvi hospital, suddenly I heard the sound of an ambulance. I waited to see whether I was needed or if it was a case of trauma.

All I could see was a woman in her 40’s lying on a stretcher. She was unconscious. When I checked her, her pulse rate and heartbeats were totally in disharmony.

Our team immediately rushed her to the ICU and started administering medicines. Her blood sugar was as low as 50  mg/dL. We had to keep her in an ICU hospital for 2 days under observation. After some time her condition stabilized.

Later, I was sitting in my cabin and wondering what must have gone wrong with her(Smita) so that her sugar levels dropped drastically?

Hi! I am Dr. Trushar Gohel and I work as a consulting MD Physician in Vadodara at Janvi Hospital. Lately, I have seen a trend among youngsters to have a slim figure and to get it they try various methods like vigorous exercise, dieting, taking medicines to reduce fat. 

Do you understand that low blood sugar levels can cause harm to our bodies and even lead to death! Our body needs a certain level of sugar.  70 mg/dL is the ideal limit for sugar levels, any sugar level below this level can be dangerous. 

Smita’s case was different because she was a working woman and had her family to feed. In taking care of her children and husband she did not pay any heed to her body requirements. But that is dangerous. You can’t always be lucky!

So today, as an MD Physician working at the best ICU hospital in Vadodara, I wish to discuss with you why eating a proper quantity of food at regular intervals is necessary. High blood sugar is dangerous, but low blood sugar can be fatal. Low blood sugar is technically known as ‘hypoglycemia’. 

When Can The Case Be Classified As ‘hypoglycemia’?

When your blood sugar levels fall below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) then it can be classified as hypoglycemia.

When Do You Need to Admit a Patient to an ICU Hospital for Hypoglycemia?

Depending on the level of sugar in your body the stages of hypoglycemia can be classified as under:

Blood Sugar level 70 mg/dL or less – hypoglycemia

Blood Sugar level 54 mg/dL or less – severe hypoglycemia

Severe hypoglycemia requires you to get admitted to an ICU hospital. A slight delay can cause organ failure, land you in a coma, or even cause death.

How Can You Tell Whether You Have Hypoglycemia?

If you observe the following symptoms, then you probably have hypoglycemia.

  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Trouble in concentrating
  • Tiredness/Fatigue
  • Excessive Hunger
  • Sweating
  • Palpitations
  • Fast heartbeats
  • Shaking feeling
  • Paleness of skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Feeling weakness/broken
  • Numbness in cheeks or lips

The above symptoms are classified as autonomic symptoms or neuroglycopenic symptoms depending on what causes them.

What Happens When You Have Low Blood Sugar?

Our body has its mechanism for fighting stress and dealing with situations. A masterpiece created by God! When we have low blood sugar, the body immediately goes into a ‘Fight-or-Flight’ mode. It releases adrenaline which causes tingling, palpitations, anxiety, etc. They are just the warning signs.

What Causes Low Blood Sugar?

Low blood sugar is generally seen in people with Type 1 diabetes. Our pancreas is the responsible organ for releasing insulin into our blood. 

If you want to understand what causes low blood sugar, you need to understand the mechanism. When our body detects high sugar in the blood, it immediately releases hormones to release insulin. This converts sugar into fats. Eating foods that contain a high quantity of sugar causes our sugar levels to become erratic.

Once the body detects that the levels are erratic, it starts behaving unusually. This either causes hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.

So if you feel like you are having low blood sugar and you start consuming sugar without understanding the fact of how your body reacts, then chances are there that the body will temporarily make you feel all right but soon it will again become hypoglycemic. It converts sugars into fats. This causes weight gain also. 

The foods that add to fats are called ‘slow-sugar release foods’. They are harmful to the body and put your body in the phase where it sometimes has high sugar and sometimes low. You must understand what you are eating and how many calories you are consuming.

Later I’ll discuss which foods are good to consume if you are feeling hypoglycemic.

As Of Now, Let Me Discuss The Factors That Can Cause Low Blood Sugar

Insulin: Normally diabetic patients learn to take insulin themselves. If you take insulin in increased quantities or into a muscle instead of the skin, it can cause low blood sugar.

Diet: The food that you eat directly impacts your body. Eating food that has fewer carbohydrates and keeping the dosage of insulin the same, can cause low blood sugar. 

An MD Physician can diagnose how well the carbohydrates are absorbed in your body. Depending on that we can suggest you incorporate liquid and solid food in your daily diet plan.

As an MD Physician, I try to match the dosage of insulin with the absorption of glucose in the body. This is tricky at times because liquids are absorbed faster than solids.

Over Exercising: Exercise has its benefits, but if you overdo it then it can be a problem. What matters is the intensity, timing, and duration of exercise. For example, if you ate dinner at night and exercised vigorously in the morning, then chances are there that you may develop low blood sugar because the body is already starved for 12 hours. 

Which food should you consume to balance the low blood sugar?

Certain foods have hidden sugar inside them like soft drinks, processed foods, sugary foods, refined grains, etc. They are bad for your health.

Instead, you should eat fruits and vegetables and give your body a chance to absorb sugars naturally. Eating foods rich in fiber ensures that your body absorbs them properly and does not try to convert them into fats.

In extreme cases, we admit the patient to the ICU hospital and administer Glucose through injections.

What can you do if you fail to experience the warning signs of hypoglycemia?

There might be instances where your body might not signal you for low blood sugar. In such cases, it is essential to approach your doctor, preferably MD medicine, who can guide you in monitoring glucose levels.

We can guide you to the perfect time to measure your glucose levels or use a device called ‘Continuous monitoring device’ (CGM) in your case, which can measure your glucose 24*7 and give you a signal as soon as your sugar goes low.

Can you have low blood sugar even when you are asleep?

Absolutely YES! That is more dangerous because probably you won’t even notice the symptoms. It is essential to have a proper dinner at night, preferably one hour before you sleep.

If you go for a walk before you sleep such that you burn more calories than what you consumed then it is essential to eat food/drink fruit juice and then sleep.

Here are some symptoms that signal that you are having hypoglycemia at night.

  • Nightmares
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Tiredness or a state of confusion after waking up.

Final Words

Diabetic people might be more prone to hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia but sometimes due to stressful lives, dieting, fasting, or many other factors, we can face problems relating to sugar content in our blood.

In case of severe hypoglycemia, you need to get admitted into an ICU hospital under the observation of the best MD Physician so that your body can recover fast. A slight delay can lead to organ failure, coma, or even death. Hence it is necessary to rush the patient to a hospital that has ICU facilities.

In case of any emergency, you can approach Janvi Hospital. We are the best ICU hospital in Vadodara equipped with the latest infrastructure to deal with all kinds of medical emergencies.

About Dr. Trushar Gohel

Dr. Trushar Gohel is the best MD Medicine doctor in Vadodara. He has pursued his MBBS from B.J. Medical College, Ahmedabad, and M.D. medicine in 2017 from N H L medical College & V S hospital Ahmedabad. Dr. Trushar Gohel is an experienced and skilled doctor in his field of specialization. He has worked as a consultant physician and ER consultant in Ambuja Nagar multispeciality hospital. Currently, he works as MD in Medicine with Janvi Hospital.

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