A handful of times over the past year and a half — I’d say at least once every 4-6 weeks — I’ve experienced what I now know are symptoms associated with hypoglycemia. While hypoglycemia is most often found in diabetics, it can happen to anyone, really. Essentially, when your glucose level (blood sugar) drops too low, you get hypoglycemic, whereas if your blood sugar gets too high, either because you’re diabetic (don’t produce enough or perhaps any insulin) or because you ate an insanely high amount of sugar, you get hyperglycemic.
Hypoglycemia usually kicks in when your blood sugar falls below 70. Now, mine has always run on the lower side of normal, just as my blood pressure does (even at my heaviest, I didn’t venture into the high blood pressure range except during the last few weeks of both of my pregnancies). And since I have spent the last couple of years being super-careful about sugar intake (BECAUSE DUMPING SYNDROME SUCKS MAJOR ASS), and the last year really cracking down on my eating habits, it looks like I’m a little too restrictive, because my sugar levels crash.
FYI, symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- heart palpitations (racing, pounding, irregular beats)
- intense hunger (I don’t get this)
- nervousness and/or irritability
This morning after I was suddenly feeling overheated, yet clammy, and my heart started pounding (I was sitting at my computer desk, mind you, yet my heart was racing and pounding like I had just run half of a mile), and I was extremely shaky. So shaky, in fact, that even my husband noticed, and it took me several minutes to assemble the glucose meter that my mother left behind at our house a couple of years ago.
The reading? 64. I tested just to confirm what I already suspected/knew: blood sugar being too low. In the past I’ve tried to sleep it off, which in hindsight was pretty damn stupid of me, since it would continue to stay low, if not dip lower, until I ate something. Today I ate a small piece of chocolate and then a slice of cheese – enough sugar along with protein to hopefully bring things up.
After laying down to wait out the jitters, and taking a brief nap because I was then sleepy, I felt much better.
Lesson learned? Allow a little more sugar or carbs… they’re not entirely evil, and in small doses they’re actually kind of necessary!