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hypoglycemia

Posted by cateyanne (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 19, 07 at 15:19

after feeling like was going to pass out at work one day, I went to the doc. and he sent me for a blood test which told him I have hypoglycemia. He said my pancreas was doing a good job of keeping me in balance, I was told by him that there was a medication he could put me on which would take the pressure off my pancreas and help to manage the disease. I can't remember what it was called right now. I asked him if there was any way to avoid drugs as I never have taken anything with regularity except migraine pills to combat my frequent migraines. He said I could try to change my diet by eating high protein, low carb food and stay away from simple sugars. Also eating more frequent small meals throughout the day, and try to lose weight. So, I started out following a high protein low carb diet. I had a couple of episodes, one in which I happen to be with a registered nurse who made me eat two packets of sugar while she took my pulse. She said my heart rate seemed to skip and thought there may be more going on since I didn't react quickly enough, in her opinion to the sugar dosing. I went back to the doctor and told him this, he placed me on a twenty four hour heart monitor and with the results, said there was no apparent problems with my heart and the episode was probably just me getting too anxious while I was not feeling good. So, I spent the early part of the summer following the diet, etc. and the entire summer was spent, episode free. I will admit, I got lazy, I went back to eating the old way and low and behold 5 months later, I am having symptoms in spades! I have been pretty much dizzy for the last five days. I keep feeling faint and dizzy and sometimes nauseous. I immediately went back to a very strict hypo diet but am not having any luck with controlling it. I can't seem to get this see-saw back in balance. I feel faint, I dose with sugar or juice, I feel better, I counteract the sugar dosing with some protein, later I feel worse again , dose again and so on. There is a lot of conflicting info about whether you should eat high protein or complex carbs to keep the blood sugar on level. I don't know what to eat anymore, if not eating at all would help I would, but that brings on an episode. This is my own fault and I'm just sick about it but was wondering if this constant see-saw can be fixed with food and not drugs? I feel like a complete idiot, I guess when I was feeling good I was in complete denial. Does this scenario sound familiar to anyone? I didn't even go in to work today because I get so nervous when I feel light headed and worry that I will pass out!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: hypoglycemia

Hi cateyanne,

How old are you? Are you on any other meds, including birth control or HRT?
I have had spells of hypoglycemia for many years. Sometimes I eat pretty well, but still get them. While other times, I can eat horribly and it doesn't happen. For me, I think it has alot to do with hormones. When I was on HRT, I had episodes all the time.
First of all, you need to buy or rent a glucometer. You need to test yourself, when you're having one of these episodes, to see if it is really low.
I've discovered at times that I feel hypoglycemic, but I'm not! I'm just weak and shakey and sweaty.
I have discovered also that now that I'm older, it takes me longer to recover.....sometimes a couple hours! I used to recover immediately after drinking some orange juice, etc.
I think you should avoid the sugar. I think orange juice is okay, but you you don't want to cause your next episode with that sugar.
Has your doc done a several hour glucose test on you?
Is your doc an endocrinologist? If not, I think you should see one.
You may have something else going on that causes your feelings, or your hypoglycemia.
When I eat too much on a regular basis, they happen more than if I eat less. I've also learned to avoid alot of concentrated sweets.
And what is the kiss of death for me is caffeine. Caffeine really can cause some bad episodes in me.

Also.........it was horrible in me during perimenopause. I wasn't completely sure if it was the HRT or the perimenopause. I can sympathize with you......its a horrible feeling.


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RE: hypoglycemia

It is familiar. The best thing you can do for yourself is to wean yourself from all sugars, as soon as you can. Even fruit sugars can contribute. (For me, one banana is too much.) There is hidden sugar in a lot of foods, so read labels. Also, eat more protein. What cured me was balancing my diet and eating more lean meat. And yes, coffee is very bad for this. Tea is better, but without sugar. I have read also that taking Vitamin B complex can help this.

It may sound strange, but vigorous exercise will help the dizziness go away, if you can manage it, as it burns off the excess carbs and sugars.


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RE: hypoglycemia

Another thing.....I bought this the last time I had alot of hypoglycemia, but I ended up not using it, since it seemed to disappear (the hypoglycemia). Its called "chromium picolinate". Its a supplement that's supposed to help stabilize blood sugar. You might give it a try.


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RE: hypoglycemia

Thanks so much for the responses, it feels better just hearing that others are having the same problems.
I am not on any meds at all, not even birth control.
I am having hormone issues though because for the past couple of years I have been experiencing occasional hot flashes and other symptoms attributed to menopause.
I am 47.
I have been trying a strict hypoglycemic diet I found on the internet in which I have been eating:

breakfast 7:00am - oatmeal with fruit(apple or strawberries or peaches. Or an egg sandwich made with whole grain organic bread and a slice of cheese. I eat this with a small juice glass of either orange juice or skim milk.

9:00am - Wasa bread whole grain crisps with a small amount of organic low sodium peanut butter.

lunch 11:00 am - salad with lean meat like chicken or turkey with salad vegetables. piece of fruit, 1 oz. cheese water to drink.

2:00 pm - snack of fruit and cheese or wasa crips and p. butter

dinner 5:00pm - protein (2-3 oz.chicken, pork, beef or fish) vegetables, and a starch, like rice, small baked potato or whole grain pasta.
I started on this diet because eating more protein and staying away from carbs and fruit altogether was not working and I read somewhere that some people need a steady diet of complex carbs like those found in whole fruits and whole grains to keep their sugar at an even level.
Do you see any potential problems with this diet?
I am still light headed and sometimes nauseous throughout the day, in between eating.
I keep hard candy and sugar packets in my pocket for an emergency.I am trying to not use them as I know I will be having to counterbalance it so I do not crash from the sugar and I want to get off that roller coaster.
My doctor is not an endocrinologist and he did have me take a glucose test in which I went in and had blood drawn, was then told to go eat carbs and then went back a short time later for another draw. It was not several hours later though.
Previous to this bad return of my symptoms I went back to drinking diet soda after not drinking it for three years and some of the time it was not decaffinated. So I was suddenly putting a lot of caffeine in my system which I had not had. I did read about the caffeine problem so I stopped that. I don't drink coffee but do drink hot tea and iced tea. hot tea with a drop of skim milk, no sugar and iced with lemon and artificial sweetener.
Since the episode a week ago I have stayed away from sweets unless I was trying to correct a bad spell.
I have been wanting to exercise, knowing this will help me to be healthier and help me lose weight too but have avoided it so far because of the dizziness I feel almost constantly.


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RE: hypoglycemia

HI cateyanne,
I'm not trying to put your doc down, but his method for testing you I don't think is very scientific. He has no idea how much glucose you've eaten.
I suppose its really irrelevant though, since most all reactive hypoglycemia is pretty much treated the same, and I don't think it matters what your numbers are. What I mean is, your blood sugar could drop to a number that was higher than someone else's, yet they might not have symptoms and you do. So you just need to treat the symptoms.
I have fibromyalgia and was reading once that there was this fibro doc who found that alot of his patients had symptoms of hypoglycemia at levels that "shouldn't" really be having symptoms........but they were. So its the symptoms to go by, I guess, and not the numbers. But it is nice actually knowing for sure that's what going on.
Like I said, I would have the symptoms, and my glucose wouldn't be that low.
We are all very different, so I want to be careful not to assume you're going through what I went through. But my blood sugar was REALLY labile during perimenopause.
Another thing I figured out is that even though I might be eating what I was "supposed" to eat for hypoglycemia, it made me feel awful. Many times oatmeal made me feel awful. True, I would put a little brown sugar and butter on it, but it made me feel awful out of proportion to the sugar.
I think some of us have trouble with certain carbs.
Why don't you keep a food diary. Just write down everything you eat, and then how you tended to feel later.
I've sort of been a carboholic most of my life, but have recently realized that alot of them make me feel really bad.
I think some of them trigger more hypoglycemia than others.
I'm wondering if you should cut back more on your carbs, and replace with veggies, and protein, and fat (the good fat... like olive oil).
I think for now, that oatmeal with fruit is probably not the best choice for you. That's pretty much all carbs. I would stick with peanut butter, eggs, cheese, etc. for breakfast and see how that goes.
I could eat some things some times and be okay......but I never knew when that would be.
There's nothing worse than being in the middle of a store, and starting to sweat and getting the shakes and feeling weak. Its really scary. I've been known to grab something off the shelf and tear it open and start eating!
Usually I would open something like a Snapple......which works fast, but then contributes to you possibly having another rebound low sugar. But at that moment, you just want to make it out of the store!
One thing I really got into snacking on and carrying with me was nuts. They are high in fat, but I don't care. Plus they are finding out that its the carbs that are so bad for people and not necessarily fats.
And be careful with artificial sweeteners. I believe they can confuse your body too.
I no longer drink skim milk either. I drink 2%. I find that a
In fact, I can eat alot of sugar IF I eat fat with it. (that sounds awful doesn't it? haha). What I'm saying is that fat has a very stabilizing affect on insulin.
I think you will eventually grow out of this problem, after you are through menopause, but for now you just have to be careful.
Do you like cottage cheese? That's another low carb food. I also like non-breakfast foods for breakfast, like meats and veggies which helps. Are you eating alot of veggies? They help too.
Sorry to ramble so much!


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RE: hypoglycemia

catherinet, Don't apologize I love the rambling, you make me feel like you know exactly how I feel. I do carry nuts with me too, I feel like I'm eating too many though and at a time when I really need to get some of this weight off I will try to find a healthier alternative. I think I will try to go with higher protein with lots of veggies approach, I had not thought about the 2% milk but will give it a try.
I always wonder how I can feel so out of control during the day and in the evening I usually feel much better. When I sleep this doesn't seem to bother me at all. Do you get that way? I lay there in the morning thinking I will feel completely normal today, full of energy and get a lot accomplished. Then I am up for a half an hour or so and start to feel bad, so I have to eat something... then my real day begins.
My husband and I like to go to the movies and we had not been for a while. We went last night. I took some almonds with me, I had a couple pieces of his popcorn but I didn't have any of his diet coke because I'm trying to avoid the caffeine. Not a half hour into the movie I started feeling a little off so I ate some nuts. It didn't work, so after a bit I ate a piece of hard candy, that helped but only momentarily. I really wanted to leave but I toughed it out because I didn't want to ruin our evening out. (My husband would have gotten right up if I had said something)but that feeling of nervousness that comes over me when out in public is just horrible. I wonder if it makes the hypo symptoms worse.


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RE: hypoglycemia

You asked for our input and having read your diet, I still think you are taking in way too much sugar and not eating enough protein. What helped me are the small cans of tuna, also of sardines, and of salmon. They are handy and portable.

I think it was in the South Beach Diet I read that the doctor who wrote this tells folks to stay away from orange juice in the morning, as it is loaded with the wrong kind of sugar. It might help you to read this book, as it is full of generally good information and could help you to lose weight. He has a chapter on good carbs and bad carbs, as I recall. Also, are you reading labels to avoid transfats?

Having lived with this for years and licked it, now, I still say you have to wean yourself away from the sugar! Try to eat more meats, if possible. I agree that cottage cheese and nuts are excellent, and also eggs, if you are not worried about cholesterol.

I have also read that chromium picolinate can help this, although I have never tried it.

And as for the dizziness, I know it is scary, but if you can just work through it and get exercising briskly anyway, you would find you feel better, as it burns off all those excess carbs and sugars.

Sorry to sound like I'm preaching. Hope this helps.


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RE: hypoglycemia

Hi cateyanne,
You sound so much like me! Like I said, I began wondering if it was REALLY hypoglycemia, or something else that just felt like hypoglycemia. Forgive me if I'm repeating myself..........but I developed fibromyalgia right around the time I started through perimenopause. Everything I thought I knew and understood about my body's workings was thrown out the window! I just never knew what was going to happen when.
One of my biggest problems (which I started having very young), was suddenly feeling like I was going to pass out. It got sooooooooo bad during perimenopause. I never passed out.....but I soon began to fear having the feeling. It was awful.
Anyhow.....this hypoglycemia feeling is the same. You just never know when its going to happen, and it can be so scary.
Here's an idea, and I hope you're not offended. I can't stand it when people make my problems into psychological problems, because I think its totally untrue most of the time. But.....is it possible that you are having panic attacks??
I've talked to so many women who developed them during perimenopause. Mine just got horrible during that time. But panic is such an imposter! It can feel like so many other things. Maybe my feeling like I was going to pass out was a panic attack? My husband thought he was having a heart attack, and it was a panic attack. Panic attacks "pretend" to be all sorts of other things. Is this a possibility for you?
And people always think "panic attack" means that you are emotionally unstable and can't handle something, and that's why you're having a panic attack. But I've learned that they can come from a physiological imbalance of some kind. They can be from hyperventilation......which can come from a pH imbalance in your body and not always from just "freaking out" over something.
Perimenopause is a time of incredible, intense changes. We start to experience feelings that we've never had before. Our bodies have lived 30-45 years with our hormones being a certain level and having certain functions. Now they are disappearing or are gone, and it truly can send out bodies into a crazy time.
Another suggestion I have........which I've learned from experiencing myself.......is that I can totally freak out at feeling hypoglycemic. I feel like I'm probably going to drop dead. That the sweating and shaking and feeling weak will just lead to death for me. Well......I haven't died from it yet. So I've (sometimes) learned to think "okay......my blood sugar might be getting a little low. But my body has gotten lazy about converting fat into glucose, so I'm going to just wait it out.........'cause I know it will eventually kick in. I might feel like poop.......but I'm not going to die". This has helped me.
What happens if you don't respond to those feelings? What happens if you don't start eating something? Have you ever waited it out to see what happens?
You mentioned being overweight? I'm overweight too, and have been sort of a compulsive eater for many years. Now that I'm older, my body just can't tolerate the over-eating (fortunately!). Anyhow......when we eat often, I think we train our bodies to NOT start breaking down fat into glucose. Our bodies just think "Oh.....I'm not going to go to all that trouble. I know that she'll eat something really sweet soon, so let's just wait it out."
And before long, we feel hypoglycemic all the time, unless we're putting stuff in our mouths.
I hope you don't mind listening to my "theories"! hahaha
Woodnymph is right in that you should try to get away from almost ALL sugar, and see if that helps.
Also......do you think you might take a more "This isn't going to kill me" approach when you feel it start to happen?
I have an over-active sympathethic system, and I think when my blood sugar gets a little low, the adrenaline starts pouring out and I get too many symptoms.....which might be what happens to you.
Our GI tracts are our "second brain". They make lots of neurochemicals and really have so much more importance in our lives than we give them credit for.
I had nausea and dizziness for 2 months and had all sorts of tests. I was having more hypoglycemic episodes too. After a million tests that were normal, I realized that I'm just overtaxing my GI tract. It could tolerate the abuse for many years, but now that I'm 57, it just can't. So I've been "behaving" and I can't believe how much more stable things have been for me. So maybe your hypoglycemic feelings will clear up, if you pay more attention to your GI tract.
Also....do you take probiotics and eat yogurt? I think they can have a good, balancing effect too.
And woodnymph is also right about the exercising. You'd think it would make you use up more sugar and you'd feel worse, but it has a balancing effect too.
And try to remember that as you go through perimenopause and get closer to menopause, these problems should settle down.
Have you stopped any medications recently? I only ask that because I was on a beta blocker for 5 years for BP and migraines, and when I came off it, I got tons of hypoglycemic feelings. I learned that the beta blockers cover up those feelings. It was actually really nice to not have them!
Sorry to go on so much!


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RE: hypoglycemia

Well, today was not as bad a day as I've had the past week. I was able to get through without the constant eating. I am still dizzy and have this tremendous feeling of pressure in my ears(very disconcerting)I ate more protein at breakfast and no fruit or juice. I took some nuts with me when I went shopping with my mother but didn't use them. protein rich lunch and same for dinner with no eating in between. I won't say I've felt great but the constant feeling of passing out was not as strong. I will say though that I am much more relaxed at home and therefore less panicky when I get lightheaded or dizzy than when in public or at work. I work with special needs kids and there are times when it is just not convenient or even possible for me to escape to grab a bite to eat or especially to pass out. I believe once I feel the symptoms, I do get "panicky" when I'm in that kind of situation, which probably at that point makes the feelings worse. The original symptoms though are very real, I'm assuming it is the same thing I was diagnosed with in May which the doctor said was hypoglycemia (according to the blood work) I have to find a new doc as my husband's insurance has changed and my old doc is not on it. I'm just as pleased, I don't feel as if I have gotten good care from him in the past. I suppose only new blood work will tell me what is actually going on. I appreciate the help you all are giving, it is a tremendous help.


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RE: hypoglycemia

I didn't find out that I had hypoglycemia until about six years ago. I'm sure that I've had it since I was very young. I just thought that I was sick all the time. I also found out recently that I have ADHD, which I know I had since I was very young. I just had my youngest son, age 10, checked, and diagnosed with mild-severe hypoglycemia.

I have to carry lots of food around with me everywhere I go! I have extra food in my van, backpack, dufflebag, several coolers when I go to work. I had a variety of healthy drinks, fruit/vegetables, whole grains, cheese, fish, water, crackers, sandwiches.

I have hypoglycemia so bad that I have to eat every 60-90 minutes! When I sleep after about three hours, my blood sugar level is already very low, and I feel terrible. I've been getting up to eat something after sleeping around three hours, then going back to bed. This helps tremendously.

I know that it is difficult to stay with a strict diet, but you must! It's you, and your body, and your life. You are the one who suffers! You must take control and do what you need in order to stay healthy and feel good.

I stay away from foods that make me ill, like too much sugary food. When I do eat junk food, I always make sure to eat something healthy first. That helps, but I still need to be careful .....

The nurse who checked my son gave us some good ideas for eating healthy for our hypoglycemia: nuts, crackers, food bars, water, juice, life savers (emergency), fish ... And she told us to stay away from hot dogs and lunch meat!! So I've been limiting the hot dogs and lunch meat. I've been buying the healthy lunch meat, which seems to be working much better.

I eat very smal portions, especially since I need to eat so often, about 10 times a day. Examples of a meal for me: banana with 4 ounces of juice (keeps my blood sugar up for about 45-60 minutes); one small food bar with 4 ounces of juice (45-60 minutes); half a sandwhich (keeps my blood sugar up for about 90 minutes); large bowl of oatmeal or other cooked cereal (keeps my blood sugar up for about 90 minutes); small handfull of nuts and another handful of dried fruit (60 minutes); 1/2 dozen crackers with cheese (60 minutes); two ounces of salmon (60 minutes); 1/2 begal (60 minutes).

The times are only approximate, but gives a rough estimate. I especially need to eat often when I'm working, driving, or need to concentrate on something (like studying). When I'm at home, not needing to concentrate that much, I can go a little longer without eating, but I will suffer (dizzy, nauseated, weak, irritable, headaches, tired, sleepy, sweating, can't think straight, disoriented, scatterbrain, can't find stuff, forgetful, stressed out, angry ..... ).

-- vja4Him


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RE: hypoglycemia

I agree that the lunch meats are very bad for this, almost like junk food. The key thing is to be aware of how much hidden sugar is in everything we put in our mouths these days. Some people can eat lots of bananas; I can't. I stand by my recommendation to read a copy of the South Beach Diet Book written by a doctor (can't recall his name). He not only has recommendations to lower cholesterol, but also to keep your weight down, as well as to stabilize blood sugar.

I once was told by a cardiologist that sugar intake is the worst thing you can do for your heart. Try to find a substitute, such as cheeses (there are all flavors). Also, you can still eat chocolate in small portions, if you stick with the bitter, dark kind.

Keep us posted on how you are doing, and try the rigorous exercise.


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RE: hypoglycemia*

cateyann, how about an update? How are you doing? Were you able to wean yourself off sugars?


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