Reactive Hypoglycemia - Diagnosis of Hypoglycemia in Adults

Reactive hypoglycemia also known as postprandial hypoglycemia, is a medical condition that requires the recognition of its symptoms which cause this health problem. Regular hypoglycemia is a medical term used to indicate low blood glucose or low blood sugar. It is a health problem that occurs whenever an individual goes on a fast.

This type of hypoglycemia is referred to as postabsorptive hypoglycemia.

On the other hand, postprandial hypoglycemia is low blood sugar that occurs within three to four hours.

Postprandial hypoglycemia usually happens after an individual has consumed a meal that is very high in carbohydrates.

Causes of reactive hypoglycemia

There has been extensive research done on reactive or postprandial hypoglycemia. These extensive studies have led researchers and other health care professionals to believe that some individuals may be a little more sensitive to the normal release of the hormone epinephrine.

This hormone is responsible for causing most of the symptoms that are related to hypoglycemia...still there are other health experts that believe deficiencies in another hormone called glycagon is responsible for the symptoms of hypoglycemia.

Glycagon, in case you did not know, is a special hormone in our bodies and its main duty is keeping the glucose level in our bodies well balanced. This hormone balances our blood glucose level when it counters the metabolic effects of insulin in our livers. This process causes glycogenolysis and the release of glucose into our blood to occur.

Other causes of reactive hypoglycemia

Some researchers also believe that there are different forms of hypoglycemia. Example of two of these include Alimentary hypoglycemia...which is said to occur in about 15% of all individuals that have had some type of stomach surgery. Studies have revealed that stomach surgery can cause reactive hypoglycemia because of the rapid passage of food directly into the small intestine.

Congenital Enzyme Deficiencies is believed to be another form of postprandial hypoglycemia. This is a rare condition that is diagnosed earlier on in life. The diagnosis reveals that hereditary fructose intolerance, galactosemia, and leucine can or may cause reactive hypoglycemia.

Symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia

Symptoms of reactive or postprandial hypoglycemia is often difficult to diagnose...because they are similar to the symptoms of both fasting and diabetes related hypoglycemia. The tell-tale symptoms listed below may be an indication that an individual could be suffering from reactive or postprandial hypoglycemia. Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Hunger.
  • Depression.
  • Trembling or shakiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Weakness.
  • Perspiration or sweating.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Awkwardness.

Usually there is a medical examination conducted by a physician to safely determine the cause of the symptoms that an individual is displaying at the time. This medical evaluation involves a series of laboratory tests that measures the blood glucose, the insulin, and other important chemicals in the body. These are the chemicals that contribute to the energy level of the individual.

Examinig an individual medically, will also help in ascertaining whether the symptoms will be alleviated, once the patient's blood glucose or blood sugar returns to normal.

The patient is usually monitored after eating or drinking in this case.

Treatment for reactive hypoglycemia

Treating postprandial hypoglycemia means that an individual has to raise his or her low blood sugar immediately and at the same time, take the necessary steps to avoid or prevent any future recurrence. Although there may not be a need to treat hypoglycemia symptoms immediately, health care professionals recommend that the following steps be taken.

  • Eat smaller meals and other healthy snacks every three to four hours.
  • Become more physically active. Regular exercise can keep your blood glucose in check and help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods such as whole-grains, and fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid or limit all foods that are high in simple sugars. This warning should be taken very serious especially if you have not eaten all day.
  • Make sure that you eat a lot of fiber rich foods but check to see if they are low on the glycemic index scale.
  • Avoid foods and drink that have a high glycemic index. Some foods will spike your glucose level immediately which will cause it to come down too quickly. You want to eat foods that take longer to be absorbed by your body; thus causing a slow release of insulin from your pancreas.You should also avoid alcoholic beverages, drinks that have caffeine, and foods that are very starchy.
  • Add more soluble fibers to your meals. Health care professionals believe that it may help in relieving some symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia.
  • Be sure to limit your intake of total carbohydrates. The recommended allowance should be about 130 grams per day. It is believed that this amount can reduce the severity of your symptoms.

In treating postprandial hypoglycemia, your health care professional may refer you to a registered dietitian...who is trained to help you personalize the planning of all your meals. Although your health care provider/s recommends that you stick to a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates, research has not proved the effectiveness of this type of diet for treating reactive hypoglycemia.

Treatment of reactive hypoglycemia in adults!

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