Hypoglycemia symptoms can mimic a plethora of different health problems. Hypoglycemia-induced symptoms such as headache, insomnia, or recurrent colds may be difficult to distinguish from stress, adrenal exhaustion or immune system weakness.
Below is a short summary of causes behind true hypoglycemia and hypoglycemia-like symptoms. Some may even be surprising.
However in the meantime print this handy hypoglycemia symptoms summary chart. Stick it on your fridge, so you have a handy cheat sheet in case low blood sugar happens.
Diabetic medication and hypoglycemia symptoms
Many diabetics end up with low blood sugar due to poor understanding of diabetic medication. Diabetics tend to take medication “as prescribed” without realizing that they should be adjusting their medication to their meals.
Some medications are designed not to increase insulin sensitivity, but to increase insulin production. Unfortunately these medications are not intelligent and they don’t self-adjust to meal types and sizes. If a meal is too small or contains fewer carbohydrates they can induce hypoglycemia symptoms. Among these diabetic medications are:
- Glyburide, Diabeta
Let’s not forget that the most common inappropriately used medication is insulin. Overshooting insulin will invariably reduce blood sugar and induce hypoglycemia symptoms. Injected insulin is not the only way to create low blood sugar problem. Our own bodies can over-produce insulin as well.
Excess insulin and hypoglycemia symptoms
Here is a list of common reasons behind overproduction of insulin
- Overeating; large portions can stimulate pancreas to produce excess insulin. If you experience energy drop after meals try to reduce portion sizes. This way the body will reduce pancreatic output.
- Eating high glycemic index foods; Eating easily digestible carbohydrates causes an immediate and excessive insulin production; if you get sugar cravings after your meals it is time to look closer at your meal composition. Pop and fruit juices are the most common hidden causes.
- Eating high glycemic load meals; high glycemic load means you are likely eating large portions of carbohydrate-laden foods. If you are putting on weight or have trouble losing cut down on your portions and reduce carbohydrates such as kasha, cereals, potatoes, rice, etc.
- Food allergies; hidden food allergies can cause irritation of digestive system and increase pancreatic output. If you feel nervous or noticed accelerated pulse after eating specific foods e.g. eggs, soy milk, yogurt it is time to do a food allergy test (please visit our clinic).
- Inflammation; hidden chronic inflammation results in insulin resistance, a condition where the body produces excess insulin just to match the cell sugar requirements. If you noticed that your waist circumference is somehow too large for your liking you are likely already suffering from insulin resistance.
Fasting and low blood sugar
It goes without saying: not eating for weeks will cause low blood sugar however, what you may not realize is that some people will develop hypoglycemia symptoms just by skipping a meal or two.
Skipping lunch should not cause low blood sugar in healthy individuals however, some people have poor conversion of liver glycogen (sugar stores) to blood sugar keeping them vulnerable to hypoglycemia symptoms in between meals. In such cases liver detoxification is advisable.
Hypoglycemia symptoms from hormonal mis-signaling
Sometimes hypoglycemia symptoms come from the least suspected places such as:
- Adrenal fatigue; under-active or weakened adrenals can make person vulnerable to symptoms of low blood sugar. Such individuals frequently have low blood pressure, low exertion threshold and get stressed easily. You can test for adrenal fatigue at home or with a help of a laboratory on-line.
- State of anxiety; epinephrine surges due to sudden stress can mimic low blood sugar symptoms that are very difficult to distinguish from symptoms of actual low blood sugar. Some coffee drinkers experience that surge right after drinking coffee regardless whether dessert is also a part of the treat.
- Candida; candida overgrowth causes many different annoying symptoms including low blood sugar; fatigue, environmental sensitivities and digestive problems are common in candida affected patients.
- Sedentary lifestyle; prolonged aversion to exercise changes hormonal interactions in the body making it more difficult for the body to use muscle-derived glucose stores. Adiponectin, an anti-diabetic hormone, is very sensitive to lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle causes its decrease. Low adiponectin is considered a forerunner to insulin resistance.