Hypoglycemic Symptoms


Q: I experience hypoglycemic symptoms with a blood sugar reading of 70-80. Is this normal? I've been tested for diabetes and was told I wasn't diabetic or pre-diabetic but I may have slight reactive hypoglycemia. I feel my anxiety and low blood sugar continue to cause each other.


A:   Hello,
Thank you for your medical query at AskTheDoctor.com
I understand your concern.
Blood sugar levels are not always constant. Even if the reading is between 70-80, the blood sugar levels can fluctuate in and around that range. So when you do feel hypoglycemic it is possible the levels go below 70 if you are in a fasting state. Since there is a complex interplay between hormones, any kind of stress will try to increase the glucose levels and it will change by the time you take the reading.

Moreover, it depends on whether this value is after meals or not. Once you consume your meal the blood sugar level is supposed to be around 100-120 within 1 hour, and it comes down to 80-100 after 2 hours. If your values are within 70-80 after a meal, it can still be considered low.

Especially if the value is around 70, you will definitely feel hypoglycemic. In some patients, the blood sugar levels are very low after around 3-4 hours of a meal. This is known as the reactive hypoglycemia, and they are advised to consume regular small meals. Hypoglycemia, in fact, is considered to be more dangerous than hyperglycemia. In such people, the insulin levels are very high following a meal consumption, which brings down the sugar levels rapidly. That is what probably what is happening to you too.

Stress does play a part, as in patients with reactive hypoglycemia, stress causes the release of epinephrine which further makes the hypoglycemic symptoms prominent. You need to ensure you keep consuming small frequent meals constantly. There should never be a gap of more than 4 hours between each meal, except for the time when you're sleeping. There is really no such treatment apart from lifestyle modification in such conditions. You should always carry some kind of glucose, mostly chocolates are advised.

Hope this was helpful,
Feel free to discuss further,

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