WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Non-diabetic hypoglycemia is a condition in which the sugar (glucose) in your blood drops too low. When your blood sugar is low, your muscles and brain cells do not have enough energy to work well. This type of low blood sugar occurs in people who do not have diabetes. There are two types of non-diabetic hypoglycemia, which are called fasting hypoglycemia and reactive hypoglycemia. Fasting hypoglycemia often happens after going without food for eight hours or longer. Reactive hypoglycemia usually happens about 2 to 4 hours after a meal.
- Fasting hypoglycemia may be caused by certain medicines, large amounts of alcohol, or low levels of certain hormones. It may also be caused by liver disease, kidney disease or hyperinsulinism (body makes too much insulin). Disorders which affect the way your body uses glucose or over-reaction to insulin may also cause fasting hypoglycemia. Reactive hypoglycemia may happen in people who have had stomach surgery. It may also be caused by disorders which affect the way the body uses glucose. Sometimes the causes of reactive hypoglycemia are unknown. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include blurred vision, headache, or fast, pounding heartbeat. Other symptoms include feeling confused, light-headed, drowsy, tired, or nervous. You may feel shaky, weak, sweaty, irritable, hungry, or nauseous (like you need to throw up). If your blood sugar is very low, you may feel like you are going to pass out or have seizures (convulsions).
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
- Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
You may need to change what and when you eat to keep from getting low blood sugar. Follow the meal plan that you and the dietitian have planned. The following guidelines may help you keep your blood sugar levels under control.
- Eat 5 to 6 small meals each day instead of three large meals. Eat the same amount of carbohydrate at meals and snacks each day. Most people need about 3 to 4 servings of carbohydrate at meals and 1 to 2 servings for snacks. Using carbohydrate counting to plan your meals may be helpful. Ask your caregiver or dietitian for information on using carbohydrate counting to plan your meals.
- Avoid skipping meals.
- Avoid eating foods that are high in sugar. These foods include regular sodas, syrups, candy, pies, and cakes.
- Avoid drinks and foods that have a lot of caffeine in them. Some of these foods include coffee, tea, and certain types of sodas. Caffeine may cause you to have the same symptoms as hypoglycemia, and may cause you to feel worse.
- Avoid drinks that contain alcohol. If you do choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount. Have only one alcoholic drink each day if you are a woman and two drinks if you are a man. Do not drink alcohol without also eating something, because this may cause hypoglycemia. Eat food that contains carbohydrate before or with the alcoholic drink.
- Include protein foods and vegetables in your meals. Foods with protein include meat, fish, poultry (chicken and turkey), beans, and nuts. Eat a variety of vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, potatoes, and corn.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have any of the following symptoms of low blood sugar.
- Feeling very hungry.
- Fast heartbeat.
- Blurred vision.
- Nausea (upset stomach).
- Dizziness or light-headedness.
- Feeling nervous and your hands are shaking.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- Call 911 or 0 (operator) or have someone call for you if you have the following signs or symptoms. Do not drive yourself.
- Trouble thinking clearly.
- You have a seizure (convulsion) or pass out.
- Trouble thinking clearly.
© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of the Blausen Databases or Truven Health Analytics.
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.