Hypoglycemia Without Diabetes

Hypoglycemia is otherwise known as the constant presence of low blood sugar levels. This is common in people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. However, a number of people also suffer from hypoglycemia without being diagnosed with diabetes. This article will go over the symptoms suffered by those who have hypoglycemia without having diabetes, the causes of this condition, its process of diagnosis, and the available treatments.

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia Without Diabetes

The symptoms of hypoglycemia in people who are not also suffering from diabetes can vary according to the intensity of drops in the blood sugar levels. Symptoms associated with three levels of hypoglycemia can be experienced.

Mild hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar level has not dropped drastically. Symptoms of this condition include feeling hungry or having the urge to throw up. Mild hypoglycemia can also make you feel nervous and jittery. The heartbeat may become faster and accompanied by sweat. In some cases, the skin might get very cold.

Moderate hypoglycemia includes the symptoms of mild hypoglycemia, in addition to other more specific symptoms, including feeling short-tempered and getting angry or irritated easily, feeling afraid and even confused, blurry vision and difficulty keeping balance while walking.

Severe hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar levels drop drastically. This is a very serious condition. Symptoms include passing out, seizures, or even coma and death if immediate medical attention is not sought.

Causes of Hypoglycemia Without Diabetes

1. Medication

There are some prescription medicines that can result in the lowering of blood glucose levels. If you accidentally take someone else’s diabetes medicines, you will experience a drop in the blood sugar levels. People taking medications for kidney failure may experience hypoglycemia. Some medicines used to treat common illnesses, such as malaria, also cause hypoglycemia.

2. Medical Disorders

Some serious illnesses can cause low blood sugar, particularly diseases of the kidney and liver. Hepatitis is a prime example. Some people suffer from insulinoma, a tumor of the pancreas, which results in an overproduction of insulin, leading to hypoglycemia.

3. Hormonal Imbalance

Another cause of hypoglycemia is a deficiency of hormones that regulate the production and distribution of glucose in the bloodstream. Children who have such hormone deficiencies are more prone to hypoglycemia than adults.

4. Other Causes

People who drink heavily may experience reduced liver function, which in turn will lead to lower blood glucose levels. Starvation is another cause of hypoglycemia.

Diagnosis of Hypoglycemia Without Diabetes

Once medical help is sought, some tests will be carried out to determine the extent and type of hypoglycemia being suffered from. Below are the tests that will then be carried out:

1. Fasting Test

The patient will be advised to fast for 72 hours. Solid foods as well as drinks other than water cannot be consumed during this period of time. If the patient is already taking certain medications, he or she will be allowed to continue taking them. After 72 hours, a blood test will be given in order to measure the blood sugar levels. The fasting ensures that the drop in blood sugar levels is not due to the patient’s diet but the result of some internal body issues.

2. Mixed Meals Test

In this test, the physician or doctor will give the patient a meal that is known to contribute to the lowering of blood sugar levels. After a while, the patient’s blood samples will be drawn to see if there are any significant changes in blood sugar levels.

3. Other Blood Tests

Other blood tests will be used to determine if any underlying medical conditions exist.

Treatments for Hypoglycemia Without Diabetes

1. Dietary Changes

For long-term treatment of hypoglycemia, dietary changes are essential. Doctors recommend consuming small meals at close intervals during the whole day. Consider having six meals a day, instead of three. Also consider increasing your intake of protein while limiting carbohydrate. One helpful thing to remember: never eat carbohydrates alone. Always pair them with proteins so that your blood sugar levels can be kept more stable after you eat. Finally, make sure you add fiber to your diet. Soluble fiber is the key, as it helps neutralize your body’s glycemic response after each meal. Soluble fibers are included in flaxseeds, oats, okra and apple.

2. Medications

Your doctor will prescribe the right form medicine according to the result of your tests and the exact cause of your condition. If the hypoglycemia is due to the medications you're taking, the doctor may suggest a change in dose or suggest you another medication.

3. Surgery

If it is discovered that the hypoglycemia is the result of a tumor, for example that on the pancreas, surgery will be required. If the tumor is malignant, further radiation treatment may also be required. 

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