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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Non-diabetic hypoglycemia is a condition that causes the sugar (glucose) in your blood to drop too low. This can happen in people who do not have diabetes. The 2 types of non-diabetic hypoglycemia are fasting hypoglycemia and reactive hypoglycemia. Fasting hypoglycemia often happens after a person goes without food for 8 hours or longer. Reactive hypoglycemia usually happens about 2 to 4 hours after a meal. When your blood sugar level is low, your muscles and brain cells do not have enough energy to work well.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Keep carbohydrates with you:
Carbohydrates will raise your blood sugar level when you have symptoms of hypoglycemia. Carbohydrates are found in bread, rice, cereal, fruits, juice, and milk.
You may need to change what and when you eat to prevent low blood sugar levels. Follow the meal plan that you and the dietitian have created. The following guidelines may help you keep your blood sugar levels under control.
- Eat 5 to 6 small meals each day instead of 3 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. Do not skip meals. Carbohydrate counting can be used plan your meals. Ask your healthcare provider or dietitian for information about carbohydrate counting.
- Limit refined carbohydrates. Examples are white bread, pastries (pies and cakes), regular sodas, syrups, and candy.
- Do not have drinks or foods that contain caffeine. Examples are 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.
- Limit or do not drink alcohol. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor. Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Drink alcohol with meals to prevent hypoglycemia.
- Include protein foods and vegetables in your meals. Some foods that are high in protein include beef, pork, fish, poultry (chicken and turkey), beans, and nuts. Eat a variety of vegetables with your meals.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have blurred vision or vision changes.
- You feel very tired and weak.
- You are sweating more than usual for you.
- You have a fast heartbeat.
- You feel dizzy, lightheaded, and shaky.
- You have questions about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have symptoms of hypoglycemia and cannot eat.
- You have trouble thinking clearly.
- You have a seizure or faint.
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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.
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