In our Get Fit series, we’ve talked about the fact that by 2020, almost half the adults in the country could be affected with pre-diabetes or diabetes. But there's another problem that can get easily overlook.
Dr. Emily Cooper, founder and Director of Seattle Performance Medicine and author of "The Metabolic Storm: The science of your metabolism and why it's making you fat," explains:
The problem we’re going to talk about is hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar. We hear so much about people with diabetes and high blood sugar. But in my practice, I also see a lot of people with problems related to low blood sugar that can sometimes be just as devastating in terms of impact on quality of life.
You really don’t hear about this very much with so much focus on high blood sugar. It seems like having lower blood sugar would be a good thing. What kind of symptoms should you be aware of for low blood sugar?
There are many symptoms and not everyone has all of them but patients often wake up groggy or tired, suffer from mood swings, anxiety, fatigue or concentration issues. They can be hungry or restless during the night or get headaches or fall asleep easily during the day. They can find that their weight is prone to increasing and can abnormally jump for no apparent reason at times. These symptoms can be indicators of other problems, but when seen as a group, it’s a good thing to look for possible hypoglycemia.
How does this happen?
I wish I could tell you all the answers to that question! There’s often a family history of hypoglycemia, obesity or diabetes, but scientists have not yet discovered exactly why some people are more susceptible or the precise glitch in metabolism that causes it. However, the chances of experiencing hypoglycemic become particularly greater with low carb dieting and under-fueled exercise.
So if you have some of these symptoms, how do you find out if you have Hypoglycemia?
A simple test called a Glucose Tolerance Test or GTT measures your blood sugar before and after eating to determine whether your blood sugar levels decrease instead of increase after a meal.
Let’s say you find out you have Hypoglycemia? Is there a treatment?
Yes! Eat every few hours from all food groups. Sleep as close to eight hours a night as possible. Eat before and after exercising and avoid exercising if you are experiencing symptoms. In some cases, there may be a need for medication to help break the cycle.