Hypoglycemia Signs and Symptoms

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Hypoglycemia, Blood Sugar
Last Reviewed 02/19/2014

Hypoglycemia Signs and Symptoms

Hypoglycemia can affect anyone and is a common concern for people with diabetes. Hypoglycemia occurs when blood glucose (sugar) levels fall below the level needed to maintain enough energy for normal bodily functions.

Hypoglycemia Signs and Symptoms

  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Hunger
  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness
  • Hallucinations (in severe cases)
  • Loss of consciousness (in severe cases)

Severe hypoglycemia signs and symptoms are almost always associated with diabetes drugs, which can drive blood sugar too low. That’s one reason why I’m opposed to aggressive use of these medications. However, hypoglycemia also affects people without diabetes.

What Causes Hypoglycemia and How to Prevent It

The key to keeping your blood sugar level on an even keel and preventing hypoglycemia is to pay attention to what you eat—and specifically avoid loading up on high-glycemic carbohydrates. Here is what causes hypoglycemia, and how to prevent it:

  • Eliminate high-glycemic carbohydrates such as sugar, bread, white rice and anything made with refined grains. These foods are quickly broken down into glucose, causing sharp spikes in blood sugar levels. In response, your pancreas churns out extra insulin to lower blood sugar, but it sometimes overshoots its mark and glucose levels fall into the hypoglycemic range.

  • Focus on eating plenty of fiber-rich vegetables and legumes that cause slow and gradual blood sugar fluctuations.

  • In place of three squares a day, try to eat smaller meals more frequently.
  • Include a moderate amount of protein with each meal and snack, and go easy on fruit.
  • Limit your alcohol intake, and drink it only with food.

I also recommend a good daily multivitamin to ensure you are getting enough chromium, B vitamins and other nutrients involved in blood sugar metabolism to prevent hypoglycemia signs and symptoms.

Hypoglycemia is often an indicator of more serious blood sugar problems to come. Cleaning up your diet and improving your nutritional status will help stave off future problems.

More Dr. Whitaker Advice on Blood Sugar and Diabetes

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