HEALTH CORNER 8-18-12
Maintenance of the plasma glucose (sugar) concentration with the narrow bounds is essential for health. Low blood sugar is dangerous in the short run more serious than high blood sugar because glucose or sugar is the primary energy substrate of the brain. In its absence, like that of oxygen, produces deranged function, tissue damage, or even death if the deficit is prolonged. Normally, the body maintains the levels of sugar in the blood of about 80 to 120 milliliters per deciliter (mg/Dl) or 4 to 6 mmol/L. However, lately, some experts reduced the maximum normal blood sugar to 5mmo/L, meaning if a person has a blood sugar level of 5mmol/L, he is considered as pre diabetic or already diabetic. But this is not the subject of this article.
Hypoglycemia is defined as abnormally very low levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Hypoglycemia most often results from taking too large a dose of insulin. Hypoglycemia is uncommon among people without diabetes. However, it can occur to some people who are not diabetic, which will be discussed later. Low levels of sugar in the blood interfere with the function of the many organ systems. The brain is particularly sensitive to low blood sugar, because sugar, as stated above is the main source of energy. If the sugar levels in the blood fall below the normal range, the brain responds by stimulating the adrenal glands to release epinephrine or adrenaline; it will stimulate the pancreas to release glucagon, and the pituitary gland to release growth hormone, all of which cause the liver to release sugar into the blood.
Why do people develop hypoglycemia?
The most common cause of hypoglycemia is taking too large a dose of insulin. However, even non-diabetics can also have hypoglycemia. It is therefore, advised that diabetic persons who are taking insulin therapy should not skip their meals, meaning, they still have to eat their meals 3 x a day but with discipline and moderation. In anything that we do, discipline is the key to good life. Hypoglycemia clearly is the most dangerous complication of insulin therapy. Secondly, I advise patients undergoing insulin therapy to keep some type of rapidly absorbed carbohydrate in their pockets or wallets or bags or what have you such as glucose tablets, candies, fruit juice, sweet chewing gum, or sugar itself available at all times to raise blood sugar at the first sign of hypoglycemia. Everybody including the patient will be surprised that after taking the articles I mentioned, he/she will be up and about. This is how dramatic the result of taking any sweet material after a hypoglycemic attack. Of course, the patient will have to be taken to the hospital for proper treatment.
Another tip that I’d like to share with my ardent readers who are diabetic, is that if possible they should carry with them some sort of identification or information stating among others that they are diabetic. This is so the public will know when hypoglycemia strikes a diabetic. In some countries, diabetics use “dog tags” in their necks as necklace similar to what the soldiers wear. In the Philippines, perhaps, it’s a good idea if we can include that information in our I.D.s such as the driver’s license, SSS I.D.. Postal ID, Philhealth ID, or any valid ID. What can our authorities say about my suggestion?
To be continued to Part 2 for additional causes and signs and symptoms
“HYPOGLYCEMIA” (LOW BLOOD SUGAR)
HEALTH CORNER 8-18-12