Sugar levels in the blood drop while fasting. If they drop too low, it can lead to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a medical condition produced by consistently low blood sugar levels. A literal translation of hypoglycemia is "under sweet blood." You have to be alert because this can occur at any age for numerous reasons.
Blood sugar level is the amount of glucose present in the body. Glucose is derived from carbohydrate-rich foods and is the primary energy source used by the body. The body regulates blood sugar levels and keeps it between 70 to 100 mg per deciliter of blood. Sugar levels are usually at their lowest before breakfast. That's why doctors stress a wholesome and nutritious breakfast.
Maintaining a normal sugar level is vital for good health. The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which enables the cells in your body to use glucose. After consuming a meal, there is generally a rise in blood sugar levels, but the pancreas controls the release of insulin into the bloodstream to keep levels steady. Constantly high blood sugar levels lead to hyperglycemia, while blood levels that are too low lead to hypoglycemia. The disease diabetes mellitus develops if the body fails to regulate its blood sugar.
Blood sugar levels fluctuate in the body before and after a meal. When blood sugar levels plummet, one can experience confusion, drowsiness, headache, dizziness, lethargy, anxiety, irritability, perspiration, heart palpitations, numbness, trembling, moodiness, inability to think, poor memory, depression, impaired mental function and loss of consciousness.
People who have diabetes and use insulin are more at risk. Too much insulin can send excess glucose into the bloodstream, leading to a sudden drop in sugar levels or hypoglycemia. If left unchecked, it can even result in seizures, brain damage or coma.
Hypoglycemic patients usually feel hungry and eat frequently to get over the feeling of weakness. At times they get tense if they haven't had food for a long time. In case they feel their blood sugar level has fallen, they should take a teaspoonful of sugar immediately. After that, they should get medical help. Some people use a glucose meter to measure their glucose levels. Others go in for a blood sugar test to ascertain the amount of glucose in their blood. Blood sugar tests measure how well the body processes glucose and can be used to diagnose diabetes.
In cases of recurrent hypoglycemia, the best thing to do is to go in for a diagnostic fast. This is usually done after the patient has fasted overnight or for a period of 8 hours. The patient is made to fast to determine whether he can maintain a normal blood glucose level. Ideally, after fasting, insulin should be almost untraceable. This blood sugar fasting test is the most reliable way of confirming hypoglycemia.
The best way to take care of low blood sugar is to follow a proper diet and watch your sugar intake. Eating foods abundant in soluble fiber and protein will help control blood sugar levels. Exercise and meditation also keep the body healthy.