Finding out that Nan has hypoglycemia has probably saved her life. Hypoglycemia is not well-known and many people mistake it for depression or other serious illnesses that require medication. For hypoglycemia however, the low blood sugar can be treated with correct eating habits. Medication often will not help and will make the condition worse. 

What is hypoglycemia or LBS (low blood sugar)? 

Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) is too low. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low. Blood sugar at or below this level can harm you (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).

 Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar (not to be confused with hyperglycemia) is an abnormally diminished content of glucose in the blood.  The term literally means "low sugar blood." It can produce a variety of symptoms and effects but the principal problems arise from an inadequate supply of glucose to the brain, resulting in impairment of function. Effects can range from mild dysphoria to more serious issues such as seizures, unconsciousness, and (rarely) permanent brain damage or death (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypoglycemia).

Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by an abnormally low level of blood sugar (glucose), your body's main energy source.  

concentration problems
sleeping difficulties
visual disturbances
digestive problems
mental confusion
asocial behavior
unsocial behavior
back ache and muscle pain
cold hands and feet
temper outburst
negative thoughts and attitudes
crying spells
feeling of going mad , insane
suicidal thoughts
mood swings
many more, too numerous to list.

Possible causes of hypoglycemia:
Too much insulin being released
under or over active adrenal glands
liver disorder
excessive amounts of refined carbs in diet
disorders of pituitary or thyroid glands
tumor of pancreas

Classifications of LBS:
The are two classifications of LBS are organic and functional.
1.  Organic-very rare, caused by a gland having a defect or tumor which once detected and corrected, the symptoms leave.

2.  Functional-something in the bodies chemistry is not functioning properly.  Most commonly is that the person has an overactive/over sensitive pancreas which releases too much insulin.  There is reactive LBS, where the symptoms occur shortly after eating certain foods.  And there is fasting LBS where the symptoms occur a a result of not eating for a period of time.

Nan has functional LBS and has experienced both reactive and fasting LBS.

Seriousness of LBS:
It is very serious.  Think about the symptoms.  A person can experience nightmares to suicidal thoughts.
It can cause domestic problems, learning disabilities, alcohol and drug abuse, and psychological problems.

How to determine whether you have LBS:
If you, after reading about LBS and the symptoms, and  suspect you are hypoglycemic there are a couple of ways to approach it.  You can go to the doctor and have an examination.  Tell him how you have been feeling, your symptoms and that you suspect hypoglycemia.  He can run some tests that may be helpful.  This might be a good place to start, so as to rule out any other medical condition.
You can keep a food journal of all the foods you have been eating.  Then you will need to keep a food journal daily, all your life, so you can see what foods affect you both negatively and positively.
Begin the Elimination diet.

Elimination diet:
Simply put, eliminate all refined carbohydrates from your diet and most unrefined carbs as well. This means you will eat mostly protein foods for the first two weeks.    You should notice a difference soon, but some experience withdraws and actually feel worse in the beginning.  Hang in there for the two weeks!

Foods allowed:
Meats (except processed meats like deli, hot dogs...)and no breading on meats)
Eggs--any style
Cheese--cheddar and swiss
Vegetables-green veggies, stay away from root vegetables
Butter, olive oil, vegetable oil
Breads, cereals-none
Condiments-make sure no added sugar in them, herbs and seasonings are fine
Beverages-water, clear broth, seltzer
Plain yogurt--can add cinnamon

Gradually add whole grains to your diet.  Oats are one of the best grains for LBS, for it is very nutritious and have the highest protein content of the grains.  Nan loves to cook with oat flour, which can be bought at a health food store of simply made at home by grinding oats in a blender. 

For sweeteners, Nan likes stevia the best.  We have also tried agave, which she can tolerate in small amounts.

A New Way of Living:
If the elimination diet was successful after two weeks and you (and your doctor) have determined that you are hypoglycemic, then you are on the road to recovery!  You will want to embrace this style of eating for life.  At first it may be difficult to say no to birthday cake or french bread, but you know the difference of feeling truly healthy, mentally and physically and feeling like you want to give up on living.  It is worth every ounce of self-control.  Enlist your family and friends' help.  Educate them on LBS and what foods you will and will not eat.  It is your body and your life!

You will be able to enjoy most meats, vegetables, whole grains and fruit.  There are quite a few great websites with recipes too.

 The Low Blood Sugar Handbook by Edward Kimmel
The Low Blood Sugar Cookbook by Patricia and Edward Kimmel
(I bought both of those on Amazon.com)
http://hypoglycemia.org/--website with helpful information, although they do sell material, I haven't bought any.
http://www.elanaspantry.com/--a wealth of recipes, wholesome delicious.  Look through them and decide which ones fit you LBS diet.

No comments:

Post a Comment