Have you been feeling faint or under the weather after changing your diet, skipping a few meals or going for a few hours more at the gym? If so, there’s a chance that you’re hypoglycemic. Hypoglycemia is a fairly common condition, especially in the diabetic population, which entails a dramatic decrease in your blood sugar levels. It may cause you to feel dizzy, weak and confused. These articles will focus on what hypoglycemia is, the symptoms you should look out for, and how you can prevent episodes from happening again.
Is Hypoglycemia Dangerous?
For most people, glucose is your primary source of energy, making it one of the most important substances in the body. Unfortunately, there are instances when the body is not able to properly regulate glucose expenditure, exposing you to a variety of conditions, which include hypoglycemia. Relatively, hypoglycemia is not a dangerous condition, as long as you listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
However, there are instances when it may cause extreme complications, which may endanger your life and the lives of the people around you. Severe attacks of hypoglycemia, especially in undiagnosed or unregulated diabetics, may cause seizures, blackouts and fainting spells.1 If you’re driving or walking to work, these unexpected blackouts and loss of all motor functions may cause fatal accidents, which may lead to fatal repercussions.2
What Are the Risk Factors for Hypoglycemia?
Like other diseases, certain people are more susceptible to hypoglycemia than others. The risk depends on various external and internal factors, some of which are rooted in their interference with the body’s insulin production and energy expenditure. If you think you may be suffering from hypoglycemia, here are some of the risk factors that you should be looking out for:
• Diabetes. Diabetes patients suffer from a relatively higher risk of getting hypoglycemia because of their body's inability to regulate insulin and glucose. This condition is more common in Type 1 diabetes patients because of their dependence on synthetic insulin. When their blood sugar drops to a critical level, they are at high risk for insulin shock, a life-threatening complication of hypoglycemia.3
• Increased physical activity. A sudden increase in physical activity, whether during exercise or work, depletes the sugar in the body. This heightens your risk of hypoglycemia, especially if food intake is not appropriately adjusted.4
• Alcohol consumption. The liver is responsible for storing glucose to be released at certain parts of the day when the need arises. When you ingest alcohol, it renders the liver incapable of releasing these stores to counter insulin production.5
• Old age. Older diabetes patients are more prone to hypoglycemia because of the increased difficulty in diagnosis. They suffer from altered kidney function as well, which may negatively influence blood glucose levels.6 In some cases, hypoglycemia symptoms may also aggravate cognitive impairment in the elderly. More often than not, these cognitive symptoms are swept aside as nothing more than old-age delirium.7