Hypoglycemia is a disorder in which glucose levels are too low in the bloodstream. This disorder is common among diabetics. A rarer condition called non-diabetic hypoglycemia is a condition when the glucose in the blood is low in people who do not suffer from diabetes at all.
Glucose—which is derived from carbohydrates—is the main energy fuel of the body. A type of hormone called insulin is released to keep the glucose levels in the blood normal. This is done by breaking down glucose so it’s fully absorbed by the body. If glucose levels dip at certain parts of the day, you will feel sluggish, nauseous, and irritable. When the body is no longer producing enough insulin to process glucose in the blood, a person will develop diabetes. This makes non-diabetic hypoglycemia extremely peculiar.
Non-diabetic hypoglycemia comes in two forms: reactive hypoglycemia and fasting hypoglycemia.
Reactive hypoglycemia occurs within several hours after each meal while fasting hypoglycemia could be a symptom to an underlying disease. In extremely severe cases, non-diabetic hypoglycemia could cause seizures, coma, or death.
Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia Causes
Different things cause the two types of non-diabetic hypoglycemia. Until now, scientists are still determining the real cause of non-diabetic hypoglycemia. In the case of reactive hypoglycemia, it could be caused by releasing too much insulin to the blood. Too much insulin in the bloodstream causes your glucose level to dip.
People who are at risk of developing diabetes tend to suffer from reactive hypoglycemia. Individuals who went through stomach surgery or those suffering from rare enzyme deficiencies are also likely to develop reactive hypoglycemia.
On the other hand, fasting hypoglycemia is common among those who take various types of painkillers and antibiotics. Those who habitually drink alcohol and have developed illnesses affecting the heart, kidneys, or liver are also at a higher risk of developing fasting hypoglycemia.
Preventing Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia
It doesn’t take much to prevent non-diabetic hypoglycemia or to alleviate its symptoms. However, you need to monitor your glucose levels like a hawk. One way to prevent non-diabetic hypoglycemia is to cut down on caffeine, limit your alcohol intake, and cutting back on refined carbs.
Treating Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia
If you’re diagnosed with non-diabetic hypoglycemia, you will be given different options to treat the condition. The treatment will depend on the cause of the disorder. For instance, if you just had a tumor removed and the medicines prescribed for your recovery turned out to be the cause of the non-diabetic hypoglycemia, your medicines will have to be changed.
Treatment for non-diabetic hypoglycemia includes anything from eating or drinking at least 154 grams of carbs daily or a drastic change in your diet. Your doctor is likely to recommend consulting a dietician to develop a customized diet plan.
For mild cases of non-diabetic hypoglycemia, patients are asked to eat smaller meals each day rather than three big meals. Adding more vegetables, dairy, and high-fiber foods in one’s diet is also recommended for those suffering from mild cases of non-diabetic hypoglycemia. Limiting your sugar intake is also helpful in managing the condition.
In severe cases of non-diabetic hypoglycemia, patients are prescribed glucose tablets to stabilize glucose levels in the blood. Other treatments include taking hormones for hormone-related, non-diabetic hypoglycemia.