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).
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
Hypoglycemia can be a serious problem if it is not treated. You could pass out or have a seizure (convulsion) if your blood sugar gets too low. Finding the cause of your hypoglycemia will help your caregiver plan your treatment.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
An IV (intravenous)
is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- Glucagon: Caregivers may give you glucagon to increase your blood sugar if you cannot swallow foods that contain carbohydrates. Glucagon is usually given as a shot.
- Glucose: Glucose may be given through an IV if you cannot swallow foods that have carbohydrate.
- Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.
- Vital signs: Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.
Some tests that caregivers may do include the following:
- 72-hour fast: You will not be given food for a period of up to 72 hours. During this time, caregivers will check to see if your blood sugar drops to a certain level.
- Mixed meal test: You will be given a meal similar to one that you believe caused your blood sugar to drop before. Caregivers will check to see if your blood sugar drops to a certain level after you eat this meal.
- Blood tests: These tests are done to measure your blood sugar levels. These tests may also be done to find the cause of the hypoglycemia.
Treatment will depend on the cause of the hypoglycemia. For example, your caregiver will change or stop giving you the medicine that is causing hypoglycemia. You may need to take hormones if you have low levels of hormones that are causing hypoglycemia. Dietitians will work with you to make changes to your diet.
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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.