Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can be caused by many different things and can be associated with serious medical conditions.
Whether you suffer from hypoglycemia or know someone who does, it’s important to know the potential causes of hypoglycemia to handle any future episodes properly and avoid them in the first place.
Here are some potential causes of hypoglycemia that you may not know about, along with suggestions for how to prevent them.
A failure to provide your body with a high-enough-quality diet even with all your insulin.
One potential cause of hypoglycemia is not eating enough carbs for how much insulin you take. If a person takes more insulin than they eat, the blood glucose level will drop.
And a person may not notice that their blood glucose is low, and so they may not eat to increase their blood sugar levels, causing them to become hypoglycemic.
Another cause of hypoglycemia is something called reactive hypoglycemia. This typically occurs after a person has gone without food for at least 8 hours and then eats something high in carbs.
The body releases too much insulin in response to the food, and this can lead to low blood sugar levels. A failure to provide your body with a high-enough-quality diet even with all your insulin.
Timing of when you take your insulin
To reduce the risk of hypoglycemia, it’s important to know when you should take your insulin.
-For basal insulin, you should take it before bedtime or after waking up in the morning.
-If you are taking both basal and bolus insulin, take the basal insulin as instructed by your doctor first.
-Take bolus insulin before meals if possible.
-Do not eat within 30 minutes of taking a meal bolus dose.
-Always carry emergency doses with you in case of an emergency.
The amount and timing of physical activity
Physical activity can have an effect. When you exercise, your muscles need glucose for energy.
When your body breaks down the glucose in your muscle cells, it releases insulin to help move more glucose from the bloodstream into the muscle cells.
This can result in a drop in blood sugar levels, which is why it’s important to eat something with carbohydrates before or during exercise.
The intensity and duration of physical activity: A person who spends the majority of their day sitting at work may not be getting enough physical activity to balance out their diet.
For those people, a midday break and walking the block could be all they need to maintain their blood sugar levels.
Alcohol can cause your blood sugar to spike, which could cause hypoglycemia. Alcohol consumption that is too high or too frequent can also lead to an increase in cortisol, which is a stress hormone that can cause hypoglycemia.
In addition, alcohol interferes with the liver’s ability to convert glycogen into glucose when blood sugar levels drop. The result? Low blood sugar levels and the onset of symptoms such as shaking, fatigue, and, confusion.
Your meal’s fat, protein, and fiber content
A low-carb diet is one that typically has less than 100g per day. However, many other types of diets can cause hypoglycemia.
Protein is also another important macronutrient to consume in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels; a low-protein diet typically consists of less than 10% protein intake per day.
Fiber can slow down the digestion process and help stabilize blood sugar levels; if you have a low-fiber diet you may not be consuming more than 10 grams per day which can lead to hypoglycemia.