Diabetes is characterized by surging blood glucose in the blood stream. However, if diabetics are not careful with their diets and medications, the blood glucose level could suddenly fall below the normal level, giving rise to a condition known as hypoglycemia.
What causes hypoglycemia in diabetics?
Glucose is the main fuel required for producing energy needed for different functions of the body. In a normal healthy person, the carbohydrates obtained from foods are converted into glucose. The pancreas secretes insulin, which helps the body to absorb glucose. The excess glucose that is not converted into energy is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver.
When need arises or in between meals, the body converts glycogen into energy. When the glucose level in the blood plummets, glucagon, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, helps the liver to release the glycogen stored in it. By converting glycogen into glucose, the blood glucose level rises and preserves the normal blood glucose level. In diabetics, the glucagon could not respond appropriately when the blood glucose level drops.
Certain oral diabetes medications can suddenly push down the blood glucose level, producing hypoglycemia. Excess intake of insulin, incompatible with your carbohydrate consumption, could cause hypoglycemia.
Diabetics can develop hypoglycemia if they fast or skip meals. Intake of alcoholic beverages could also increase the risk of hypoglycemia.
Excess physical activity might push your blood glucose level below normal.
How to prevent hypoglycemia
If you are suffering from diabetes, a balanced meal is necessary to prevent this condition. Maintain your regular medication and meal schedule. Always take your diabetes medications at the recommended time. Taking the right dose of medicine, compatible with your daily carbohydrate intake, helps to prevent hypoglycemia. Skipping meals and fasting is not recommended for people with diabetes. Stay away from simple sugars. Complex carbohydrates could help to retain the normal glucose level in the blood. Frequent small meals are necessary for preventing hypoglycemia. To minimize the risk of hypoglycemia take a protein or complex carbohydrate snack before going to bed. Taking a snack before exercise could also help to preserve the normal blood glucose level.