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Hypoglycemia: the causes and symptoms

While diabetes is the major cause of hypoglycemia, there are other situations in which a person may develop this disorder.   

Those individuals who consume large amounts of alcohol and eat very little are prone to experiencing hypoglycemia. Alcohol is 

known to block the process of glucose production which depletes your body's stores of glycogen.  

Insulin and other medications used to control diabetes often cause hypoglycemia.  If you accidentally take someone else's' oral diabetes medication, you may experience this.  

Consuming too much alcohol can cause serious health problems, so if you’re one of those who drink too much, please consider signing up for alcohol detoxification programs
before any real harm can be done.

Additionally, drugs used to treat people with kidney failure my prompt this condition of low blood sugar.  Quinine, most commonly used to treat malaria and leg cramps may also have this effect on some people.  

There are several illnesses which may cause your body to experience hypoglycemia. Severe diseases of the liver, for example, drug-induced hepatitis, is one of them, as is anorexia nervosa, the condition where individuals basically starve themselves because they constantly view themselves as overweight.  Kidney failure is another serious health problem which may produce the symptoms of hypoglycemia.


If your body produces an excess of blood insulin, you may experience hypoglycemia.  This is a rare health condition created by the beta cells of your pancreas, which releases the insulin.  This could occur if you had a beta cell tumor, known as insulinoma.


Other cancers that may affect your glucose level include non-beta-cell tumors, which may not necessarily cause an overproduction of insulin.  Instead, they produce an excessive use of glucose by the tumor itself.  Or it may result in a glut of insulin-like substances.   Elevated levels of these will produce hypoglycemia as well.


How do you know if you're experiencing the symptoms of hypoglycemia? You'll know it; first, because of the effects it produces on your brain.  If you're feeling confused, or if you are acting abnormally, you may consider hypoglycemia as the culprit.  These are two of the signs.  The inability to complete routine tasks is another indication of the disorder. Those with hypoglycemia also complain of disturbances in their vision, which may manifest as blurred vision or seeing double.


Two uncommon complaints of hypoglycemia are seizures and loss of consciousness.


Physically, hypoglycemia can produce such symptoms as heart palpitations, hunger, tremors, sweating and a generalized, unexplained anxiety.


You'll notice that most of these symptoms aren't exclusively linked to hypoglycemia.  Many of them are associated with other diseases as well.  The only way to know for sure if hypoglycemia is the cause of your problems is through a blood sugar level test.


If your health care practitioner suspects that your symptoms may be due to hypoglycemia, she'll want to perform a Whipple's triad.  This test is named after the American surgeon, Allen Whipple, who first developed it.


Your health care practitioner will ask you to fast overnight, after which your system should be exhibiting the hypoglycemic symptoms. You may either fast at home, or be admitted into the hospital overnight for this. If your symptoms occur right after you eat, she'll want to test you following a meal.


During the time you're displaying the symptoms, she'll draw a sample of blood for laboratory analysis.  The third part of the triad, then, is the diagnostic phase. She'll monitor you to see if the symptoms disappear once the blood glucose levels go back to normal.


In addition to this, your health care practitioner will probably also give you a physical examination and review your medical history.  During this time, she'll ask you if you're on any medications, your alcohol use and other pertinent details related to the displaying

Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.


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