Author Topic: 'low blood sugar'  (Read 3053 times)

Case

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'low blood sugar'
« on: May 09, 2017, 03:40:18 PM »
I realize this forum isn't the ideal place to ask this, but maybe some MDs or biochemists are out there:

When you haven't eaten in a while and start to feel kind of woozy or dizzy and tired, what is the physiogical cause of this?  I initially assumed low blood sugar, but when I search for information on that, all of this information on diabetes comes up, and I surely am not diabetic. 

Secondary question is, when you are that sort of hungry, what is the body doing about it?  Does it burn fat?  Does it burn muscle?

HipGnosis

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2017, 05:55:23 PM »
I'm type 2 diabetic, so I've got knowledge and books that have info on this.

Your body turns sugars and carbs you eat into glucose, which your body uses for energy.

Not eating sugars or carbs, which includes not eating anything, causes your body to use stored glucose - glycogen.  This process takes water from your body (and puts it in your bladder).  This also removes minerals such as salt, potassium and magnesium.  The lower levels of these cause the tired, dizzy, etc sensations.

Yes, your body burns fats when it doesn't have readily available glucose.  This is Ketosis.  Doing this for long duration has undesirable side effects.

Your body will burn muscle when it runs out of fat.  That's very bad.




SRJay

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2017, 06:37:45 PM »
I realize this forum isn't the ideal place to ask this, but maybe some MDs or biochemists are out there:

When you haven't eaten in a while and start to feel kind of woozy or dizzy and tired, what is the physiogical cause of this?  I initially assumed low blood sugar, but when I search for information on that, all of this information on diabetes comes up, and I surely am not diabetic. 

Secondary question is, when you are that sort of hungry, what is the body doing about it?  Does it burn fat?  Does it burn muscle?

Exercise Science with an Emphasis in Nutrition

First answer was spot on-

2nd) The body will go into ketosis if forced and the fast is held long enough, but it wont inherently start burning muscle mass for fuel. It will start to use ketones, which is a derivative of fat. The body starts metabolizing muscles mass as the fast continues with subsequent utilization of the internal organs there after. If you are cutting, or in a sustained large caloric deficit, make sure to eat adequate amounts of protein to keep the body from potentially utilizing muscle tissue for fuel. There are some large proponents of Ketosis in the body building world, but it can take quite some time to achieve this state and can be hard to adhere to.

Case

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2017, 07:31:55 PM »
I'm type 2 diabetic, so I've got knowledge and books that have info on this.

Your body turns sugars and carbs you eat into glucose, which your body uses for energy.

Not eating sugars or carbs, which includes not eating anything, causes your body to use stored glucose - glycogen.  This process takes water from your body (and puts it in your bladder).  This also removes minerals such as salt, potassium and magnesium.  The lower levels of these cause the tired, dizzy, etc sensations.

Yes, your body burns fats when it doesn't have readily available glucose.  This is Ketosis.  Doing this for long duration has undesirable side effects.

Your body will burn muscle when it runs out of fat.  That's very bad.

Thanks for the info!

teen persuasion

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2017, 07:48:01 PM »

When you haven't eaten in a while and start to feel kind of woozy or dizzy and tired, what is the physiogical cause of this?  I initially assumed low blood sugar, but when I search for information on that, all of this information on diabetes comes up, and I surely am not diabetic. 
I've wondered this, too, and been confused by the same (lack of) information.  My only difference would be that I don't feel woozy or dizzy, I feel jittery and clumsy, my hands get shaky, and I start getting snappish with anyone that gets between me and my pursuit of food when I feel that way.

So why do I feel this way just a few hours after eating, and what should I be eating when it hits to get back on an even keel?

geekette

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2017, 08:13:43 PM »
It's not only diabetics who get hypoglycemia. Some people go hypo after a high carb meal (body produces a bit too much insulin and whoops!) Look up reactive hypoglycemia (or sugar crash). 

Carbs will push your bg to a comfortable level, but protein and fat will help keep it there.

Meters are cheap, IIRC, although test strips aren't, but it may be worth it to see what your bg number is when you feel shaky. Normal is 70-100 mg/dL in the US (other countries mmol, so I'm not sure there).

Some people also get this when hiking or running - called bonking.  Just running out of reserves.   


« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 08:25:53 PM by geekette »

pk_aeryn

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2017, 01:05:29 AM »
Quote
Secondary question is, when you are that sort of hungry, what is the body doing about it?  Does it burn fat?

It should be burning fat - if you are, your blood glucose will be stable and you'll have appropriate energy.  There's lots of physiological reasons that this doesn't happen tho- something may be preventing free fatty acids from being released from fat tissue for energy. The usual culprit is insulin, as it blocks ffa release.  But things like sudden bursts of adrenaline, intense exercise, etc, can clear blood sugar so quickly that your body can't keep up. I actually "gave myself" severe hypoglycemia the other day when I accidentally drank highly caffeinated cold brew concentrate without realizing it wasn't diluted.

pk_aeryn

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2017, 01:12:39 AM »
Quote
So why do I feel this way just a few hours after eating, and what should I be eating when it hits to get back on an even keel?

Most likely what's happening is that you are eating too many carbs (for you, it's all relative), so that insulin is elevated even several hours after a meal. When this happens, you'll have used up a lot of the glucose energy in the blood stream, but when insulin is hanging around, it prevents fat from being burned.  So you get hungry because you essentially have no useable fuel and your body is like "hey we desperately need food here". Solution is to experiment with amount and type of carbs until you don't experience hypoglycemia as much.  (Low carb isn't a pancea tho, you might want to consult a dr too)

Drifterrider

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2017, 08:52:48 AM »
1.  See a doctor; get a CBC (complete blood count).  Get a whole physical, you are already there.
2.  Know your numbers.  A1C

Your doctor can proscribe you a test meter for blood sugar (with an RX most ins. companies will cover some/all of the cost as well as the test strips and lancets).  Your doctor may even give you a test meter (big pharma gives them out to docs).

I did not recognize the symptoms.  I was getting checked for something else.  My A1C was 10 and my blood sugar was 350.

These are not good numbers.  I could have had the disease untreated for a couple of years.  Now I know, now I test.

wenchsenior

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2017, 08:55:01 AM »
What geekette and pk_aeryn said.  I have reactive hypoglycemia but not diabetes, and I generally get 'crash' symptoms if I eat sugar or simple carbs with no mitigating protein or fat to slow down my insulin response.   I react both to low blood sugar by itself (anything be below 70 for me is not great) but I react most strongly to a sudden drop in blood sugar.  In other words, my bs can be technically fine (e.g., 85), but if it's dropping rapidly off a spike caused by too much sugar or simple carbs, then I get symptoms just as bad or worse than when it's just low but stable.

The problem is that it can become a cycle where you crash, crave sugar and carbs, over-eat them, spike your insulin and blood sugar, crash again, etc.

The way off the merry go round is to cut WAY down on all sugar and simple carbs, and eat fiber, protein, and healthy fat with the carbs you are eating. Eat a small amount regularly throughout the day.

Trifele

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2017, 03:38:28 PM »

The way off the merry go round is to cut WAY down on all sugar and simple carbs, and eat fiber, protein, and healthy fat with the carbs you are eating. Eat a small amount regularly throughout the day.

This.  I have reactive hypoglycemia too.  To change the see-sawing of your blood sugar, you need to change the fuel you are giving your body. 

Bracken_Joy

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2017, 03:52:32 PM »
It's not only diabetics who get hypoglycemia. Some people go hypo after a high carb meal (body produces a bit too much insulin and whoops!) Look up reactive hypoglycemia (or sugar crash). 

Carbs will push your bg to a comfortable level, but protein and fat will help keep it there.

Meters are cheap, IIRC, although test strips aren't, but it may be worth it to see what your bg number is when you feel shaky. Normal is 70-100 mg/dL in the US (other countries mmol, so I'm not sure there).

Some people also get this when hiking or running - called bonking.  Just running out of reserves.

Nurse here. And the above captures it. Heck, everyone on this thread captures it =) If you are often having blood sugar issues, especially first thing in the morning, please bring this up with your doctor. There is a whole continuum of normal -> prediabetes -> type 2 diabetes, and it's possible BS regulation issues are suggesting you're moving down that continuum. Getting blood work done (Hemoglobin A1c, basically your 'rolling average' for your blood sugar for the past 3 months) will give you a good idea of what's going on.

As for the 'what does the body do then' question, it really depends. On your diet, on how insulin sensitive you are, the level and type of carbs in your diet, your exercise habits... lots of stuff. In your case, where you're getting a lot of hypoglycemia (low BS) symptoms, it can be assumed you are NOT burning fat for fuel, or much of it anyway. That's why you're getting those symptoms. Over a longer time period, or in a 'fat adapted' person, the body will begin to convert fats into sugars for your body, through a process called gluconeogenesis. As fat stores wind down (or in certain pathological conditions) your body will break down muscle, instead.

Diabetes symptoms to watch out for: excess thirst, excess urination, excess hunger. If you're not sure, go and talk to your doctor =) It's what they're there for!

geekette

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2017, 04:44:20 PM »
FYI, don't think because you're skinny and/or young you can't be type 2.  Fewer, yes, but definitely not unheard of because there's a genetic component.

Abe

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Re: 'low blood sugar'
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2017, 07:50:50 PM »
Out of curiosity, are these symptoms new and that prompted your question, or is it a "just wondering" kind of scenario?