What is hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is a pathological condition characterized by a low level of glucose in the blood (below 3.3 mmol / l).

How does a certain level of sugar form in our blood, and why can it fall to the critical level? After we take food containing carbohydrates, glucose is extracted from them, and spreads over all corners of the body. This fuel, without which we can not live. In response to the ingestion of glucose into the blood, the pancreas synthesizes a special hormone - insulin, which allows the cells of our body to receive energy from glucose.

A sharp drop in blood sugar is dangerous, since a person can be lost in just 30 minutes. Among diabetics, the phrase goes: "Insulin is a medicine for the smart." Why do they say that? Because the victims of hypoglycemia almost always become inattentive and irresponsible people who neglect the advice of a doctor, and piercing themselves with incorrect doses of insulin at the first signs of poor health. Do not panic. You can always pass the danger if you act correctly and consistently.

Hypoglycemia can occur both because of the insufficient amount of sugar consumed in food, and because of the increased production of the hormone insulin responsible for the processing of glucose by the body.

Causes of hypoglycemia

Diabetes mellitus is of several types. Simplify our narrative and say that there is an insulin-dependent form of diabetes, and there is an insulin-independent one. So, people with the first type of disease are forced to make themselves injections of insulin in such a way that it is enough to process exactly the amount of glucose (in XE - grain units) that is derived from food. The injections are set at regular intervals, they are correlated with meals, and the dosage is determined by the attending physician-endocrinologist.

If the patient has injected more insulin than required for the cleavage of glucose, the liver begins to save the situation and inject into the blood a strategic stock of starch-glycogen. But when the bins are empty, an attack of hypoglycemia can not be avoided.

That's the trouble, because diabetics have nowhere to take a large or even a standard stock of glycogen. These people consume very little starchy foods, they literally each carbohydrate in the account (and, on a bad count).

Let's enumerate in order all possible causes of hypoglycemia:

  • Incorrect dosage of insulin;
  • Long period of time without food at all (more than 6 hours);
  • Intensive physical activity, resulting in complete devastation of the body from glucose (including glycogen in the liver);
  • Reducing the amount of sugar in the blood can also be associated with the use of alcohol.

Hypoglycemia can occur due to an improper diet or the use of certain medications that are not well combined with antidiabetic drugs (aspirin, warfarin, allopurinol, probenecid, etc.), enhancing the action of insulin. It can be not only specialized means, like Diabeta, Glinaz, Prandin, Starlix, Januvia or Diabenez. There are medicines that do not belong to the group of hypoglycemic drugs, but still come into dangerous interaction with insulin.

A critical drop in blood glucose levels can trigger a hypoglycemic syndrome not only in people with diabetes mellitus. Here is an example from everyday life: an elderly man, suffering from obesity, under the pressure of his wife decided to lose weight. And I did not find anything better than to listen to the well-known advice: less lop, more stamp. For a long time he refused the usual food served on the table in the family: potatoes, pasta, cereals. He practically starved and often complained of headaches.

The crisis came when he went fishing with his friends for the whole weekend. The men froze for two days, pulling tackles, rowing on boats and eating almost nothing but fish (that is, carbohydrate food). And to maintain morale, they drank vodka. As a result, our hero lost consciousness and miraculously was delivered to the hospital on time, where he finally found out that he had low blood sugar.

If a person does not have diabetes, hypoglycemia may be a symptom of another endocrine system disease. To establish an accurate diagnosis it is necessary to undergo a medical examination and to treat the illness that caused this pathological condition.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia

Symptoms of hypoglycemia begin to manifest, if the level of sugar in the blood of a person falls below the norm of 3 mmol / l.

In all patients, the disease manifests itself in different ways, so you should know what symptoms you need to pay attention first.

People with hypoglycemic syndrome often experience dizziness, deterioration of consciousness, nervousness, hunger, headache and chills. The pulse of the patient becomes more frequent, the skin becomes pale, sweating appears, coordination of movements and concentration is disturbed. A person can lose consciousness or even fall into a coma.

It is important to know that hypoglycemia has three degrees of severity: mild, moderate and severe. The lower the blood sugar level, the more pronounced the symptoms.

With mild hypoglycemia, the glucometer readings drop below 3.8 mmol / l. The patient feels an inexplicable anxiety, nervousness, nausea, hunger, his shivering, fingertips or lips grow numb; Can develop a tachycardia.

Hypoglycemia of moderate severity is manifested by a worsening of consciousness and mood: a person is anxious, irritable, has difficulty concentrating or thinking. Vision is clouded, dizzy and headache. Because of weakness and disruption of coordination of movements, a person walks and talks with difficulty.

If the blood sugar level falls below 2.2 mmol / l is a sign of severe hypoglycemia. Such a condition can lead to epileptic seizures, convulsions, loss of consciousness and coma. Body temperature is significantly reduced.

People suffering from severe hypoglycemia for a long time are prone to cardiovascular disease, brain damage.

Do not forget that the symptoms of hypoglycemia may be similar to the symptoms of other diseases, so the patient is always required to consult a doctor.

Complications and consequences of hypoglycemia

The more dangerous the hypoglycemic syndrome is, as such, we have already discussed. But often recurring "falls" of blood sugar levels are fraught with no less serious problems. Small peripheral vessels are destroyed, and this, first of all, affects the eyes and feet. A person with time can develop angiopathy and blindness.

Low glucose is extremely dangerous for the brain. This body is the most gluttonous in our body, and as soon as it lacks sugar, it starts desperately to signal and demand food. The brain can not do it without sugar for a long time, that's why when the blood glucose level is below 2 mmol / l, a hypoglycemic coma occurs in a person. If the patient is not reanimated in time, the brain cells will die, and this means a fatal outcome.

Other organs of our body also constantly need glucose and react to its deficiency very painfully. A lot of time would have gone to the enumeration of all the syndromes and diseases affecting a person with low blood sugar. Just say that this state is better not to allow. How to do it? Read on.

Treatment of hypoglycemia

People who have a risk of hypoglycemic syndrome, must carefully monitor their condition and regularly measure blood sugar: situations that can lead to its reduction should be paid close attention. It is very important to notice the first symptoms of hypoglycemia in time and take measures to eliminate them. If the sugar level falls below the norm, you need to drink fruit juice, eat a piece of sugar, a candy or other carbohydrate-rich food.

People from the close environment of the patient are also required to know the symptoms of hypoglycemia and be able to provide first aid in case of deterioration of well-being. It is important to always carry a card or medical information leaflet in case the attack of hypoglycemia happens far from home.

In patients with diabetes mellitus hypoglycemia can occur due to alcohol consumption or missed food intake, so you must constantly follow a balanced diet, take anti-diabetic medications on time, avoid heavy physical exertion and stressful conditions.

When hypoglycemia, it is better for a patient to refrain from ingesting simple carbohydrates, but to consume protein foods or complex carbohydrates. During an attack of hypoglycemia, you should also have glucose tablets or a glucose gel.

Here is the list of products that can be taken in case of deterioration:

  • sweet candy;
  • fruit juice;
  • milk;
  • honey;
  • sugar;
  • Corn syrup

A quarter of an hour after taking a sugar-containing product, you need to check the blood sugar level. If it does not rise above 3.8 mmol / l, it is worth eating more of the above products.

If hypoglycemic reactions occur more often a couple of times a week, you should definitely contact your doctor.

People who are prone to hypoglycemia often lose consciousness. The best thing in this case will be the injection of glucagon, which increases the level of sugar in the blood. Dosages and specific features of this drug should be discussed with your doctor in advance.

To avoid the appearance of symptoms of severe hypoglycemia, the patient should always have sugar, sweets and other foods containing carbohydrates (crackers, cheese, fruit juice, etc.).