Hypoglycemia

You don't feel so well.  You get a bit dizzy and suddenly you hit the pavement.  When you come around, you wonder what in the world happened!

In previous blogs (Disorders caused by insulin resistance) (Insulin Resistance Description) you have read the concerns that we should have regarding insulin resistance gone astray.  Insulin is wonderful!  God has designed a fantastic mechanism of managing calories so that they are always available when we need them to make energy.  We can immediately use the calories we are taking in or we store them for future requirements.  The whole of it is orchestrated by insulin.  Insulin opens up the cells to allow sugar to get to the mitochondria where ATP (the body's energy source) is manufactured.  If a cell does not require energy at the moment, it becomes insulin resistant and its doors to sugar are closed.  Some of the excess sugar can be stored in the liver as glycogen for more immediate use.  The rest then goes to fat stores where the insulin cell receptors are so plentiful that the fat cell can rarely say no to the free lunch. 

Hypoglycemia 

Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar.  It occurs when the pancreas sends out more insulin than is necessary for the amount of sugar present. The most common occurrence is related to the amount or type of sugar that is ingested.  This is called reactive hypoglycemia.  This occurs when we eat or drink foods with a high concentration of sugars.  Although any refined carbohydrate can cause the reaction, drinking pop especially if caffeinated is the classic. 

Soda pop has a high concentration of sugar and many times contains high fructose corn syrup and perhaps caffeine. This is jet fuel! The sugars in your blood soar to critical levels and your system goes into an emergency mode.  Alarms go off and the pancreas shoots out insulin like gang busters in the crisis.  It responds quickly to the emergency to get the sugars back to normal levels.  The insulin does its job and lowers the sugar level sending it where ever it can.  The sugar drops precipitously but because the pancreas had no idea about how severe the emergency was, it may send out more insulin than was necessary and sugars now go below the normal levels. Most cells can get by when sugar is low in the blood.  Your brain, however, cannot.  Low sugar in that department starts a whole new crisis. Normal brain activity falls apart.  Mild symptoms may be that you are just not able to think quite right.  You can become dizzy, light headed, confused, and disoriented.  In more severe hypoglycemia the brain's messages to the vascular system cause other shutdowns and you can faint.  (Symptoms of Hypoglycemia)  Gravity takes over and you hit the deck.

Recovery phase

Lying on the ground is a good thing!  In this position blood can now get back to the brain.  This new crisis causes the pancreas to secrete another hormone called glucagon which starts driving sugars out of the areas like the liver where it was stored just moments earlier.  Sugar levels now start to increase and you began to be able to reorient and gather your wits.  Unfortunately you may start to feel better only when you get your sugar up by drinking more pop, eating a doughnut, or another swig of the red pop.  This many times brings about a second wave of surging insulin and the next reactive hypoglycemic event is on its way.

Perhaps you can see how the ingestion of excessive sugars cause your blood sugar to bounce from high to low like a yoyo.  This can be the norm in modern America where stress and a diet of refined carbohydrates is so prevalent.  It is common for people to eat the excessive carbs in the morning (box cereals, OJ, along with coffee). It is a recipe for disasterous cycle.

The Cycle begins:  The sugar goes up, the insulin comes out, the sugars drop, the patient feels poorly, thought processes become sluggish, they eat or drink more carbs, they start to feel better, sugars go up, insulin comes out and the cycle continues through the day as the person reacts to the low sugar by taking in more sugar.  In this milder form, fainting may not occur but the effect on the system over time can be devastating.

Fatigue and depression are rampant.  The majority of office visits are related in some fashion to these two complaints.  Perhaps you can see why but tune in next week for a better glimpse at the causes.

In the meantime there is always hope.  God has given us simple and wonderful ways to reverse these metabolic disorders.  We are 'Fearfully and Wonderfully Made' and we pray for your good health.

Vital Health Scores is an Integrative Diagnostic and Treatment Center.  Give us a call at 231-946-7360 to find out how we might be able to help you.

Doug Wigton, DO

Author
Douglas J. Wigton, DO Osteopathic Family Practice Physician

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