Feeling Sick And Shaky All Of A Sudden
Feeling Sick And Shaky All Of A Sudden: It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. You’re driving along the highway with nothing but open road ahead of you when it hits you like a brick wall. You can’t seem to catch your breath, you feel as though you’ve just run five miles uphill, and you’re starting to get dizzy. Or maybe you’re sitting at home feeling tired, exhausted, and overwhelmed by everything going on around you when you find yourself getting more and more confused until finally you have trouble thinking clearly at all. Either way, you may not know what’s happening to you.
In this article we’ll look at some of the symptoms associated with low blood sugar so that you can determine whether they might be connected to hypoglycemia (also known as “low blood sugar”). We’ll also talk about how much help there is for treating hypoglycemia and what you should do next.
You don’t need any special training to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia, which include shaking hands, nausea, sweating, paleness, hunger pangs, irritability, confusion, headaches, drowsiness, cold sweats, rapid heartbeat, and sometimes fainting. In addition, you probably already know that if you eat something containing carbohydrates without having eaten recently enough beforehand, you will experience an increase in blood glucose levels. The same goes if you drink juice, soda pop or alcohol without eating first. This phenomenon occurs because these substances cause insulin secretion from the pancreas, which in turn causes glucose to enter cells where it becomes stored as glycogen.
But if you haven’t had anything to eat or drink within three hours before experiencing low blood sugar, then your blood sugar level has dropped below 65 milligrams per deciliter of plasma, which is considered dangerously low. If your blood sugar drops below 50 mg/dl, you may become unconscious. Hypoglycemia is most common in people who take diabetes medications such as sulfonylurea drugs, biguanides, meglitinides, or insulin injections. But it can happen to anyone.
The good news is that hypoglycemia doesn’t usually result in permanent damage to vital organs. However, it does require prompt treatment. Left untreated, hypoglycemia can lead to seizures, coma, convulsions, loss of consciousness, and death. Fortunately, treatments exist for both mild and severe cases of hypoglycemia.
For milder cases, doctors recommend taking a quick shot of glucagon, which is a hormone produced naturally by the pancreas. Glucagon stimulates the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream. It works fast —within two minutes of being injected. For moderate cases, doctors recommend drinking a glass of orange juice or other sugary liquid. When taken within 15 minutes of developing symptoms, such as a headache, shakiness, or a burning sensation in the chest area, it can raise your blood sugar back up to normal in just three to four hours. Severe cases, however, require hospitalization.
What happens during hypoglycemia? Read on to learn why you often feel so shaky.
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
Although hypoglycemia doesn’t typically result in long-term health problems, it can make you feel very sick, especially when it develops while you’re engaged in strenuous activity. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shaking hands, nausea, sweating, paleness, hunger pangs, irritability, confusion, headaches, drowsiness, cold sweats, rapid heartbeat, and fainting. In severe cases, hypoglycemia can progress to unconsciousness.
One reason you may suddenly develop hypoglycemia is that you ate something salty, spicy or rich in fat. These foods can stimulate production of catecholamines (hormones) in your adrenal glands, causing them to send signals to your cells to produce energy. Your body uses up its stores of glucose first, leaving little room for other sources of fuel. Another possible cause of hypoglycemia is diarrhea. Diarrhea creates lots of fluid and dilutes the amount of water in your stomach and intestines, making it difficult for your body to absorb nutrients properly.
Your doctor will want to test your blood sugar soon after you start to feel ill. He or she will use a finger prick method to obtain a small drop of blood from a vein in your arm. Then the lab will analyze the blood sample using a portable glucometer device.
Glucometers detect changes in blood glucose levels through chemical reactions between glucose molecules and reagents coated onto tiny gold electrodes. As the blood flows past the electrode, electrons pass through and interact with the reagent. Changes in the rate at which electrons flow indicate fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Modern glucometers are accurate down to 0.3 percent.
Now that you understand the basics of hypoglycemia, read on to learn about your options for treating it.
A person suffering from a severe allergic reaction to aspirin or other salicylates could possibly suffer from hypoglycemia due to excessive consumption of aspirin or other salicylate-containing products. Salicylate poisoning results in gastrointestinal distress, dehydration, tachycardia (an abnormally high heart rate), hypotension (abnormally low blood pressure), hypothermia, metabolic acidosis, hyperglycemia, and ultimately shock [Source: American Red Cross].
When you suspect that you may have developed hypoglycemia, you should seek medical attention immediately. Treatment includes replenishing lost fluids, consuming a snack with complex carbs (such as crackers or toast), and injecting yourself with glucagon if necessary. Glucagon is a synthetic version of human glucagon that mimics natural pancreatic hormones. It helps the pancreas secrete insulin and raises your blood sugar level.
Doctors generally advise patients against simply consuming sugary liquids, since doing so can further lower their blood sugar levels. Instead, they suggest drinking nonfat or 1% milk, unsweetened juices, gelatin desserts, custard made with whole eggs rather than egg yolks, bananas, applesauces, and potatoes. Eating snacks with complex carbohydrates and fiber can help stabilize your blood sugar level. Complex carbs contain several kinds of sugars bound together in a single molecule that the body cannot easily break apart. They can provide sustained energy for longer periods of time than simple sugars found in many processed foods and sodas. Fiber adds bulk to food, helping you to feel full sooner. Both types of carbs can keep the digestive system working smoothly, and delay absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. Foods containing protein or fats can also contribute to lowered blood sugar levels. They slow digestion by adding bulk to stools.
Fruits and vegetables are great choices for those looking to treat hypoglycemia. They provide plenty of complex carbs and fiber, and have no effect on blood sugar levels. Fruits and vegetables also contain antioxidants, which protect cells from free radicals and allow cells to function better. Free radicals come from unstable oxygen molecules.
Oxidation caused by free radicals leads to aging and cancer formation, among other things. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and therefore reduce cellular oxidation. Vegetables also contain phytochemicals, plant compounds that act as antioxidants and fight cancer. Phytochemicals present in green leafy vegetables, fruits, and grains work with vitamins C and E to strengthen our immune systems and prevent diseases such as cancers and cardiovascular disease.
To learn more about hypoglycemia, visit the links on the following page.
Hypoglycemia is a condition that affects millions of Americans each year. It occurs in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes, and people with impaired glucose tolerance also called prediabetes. People with type 1 diabetes have been diagnosed early in life and receive daily doses of insulin shots. Those with type 2 diabetes are diagnosed later in life and must take medication and diet control measures to manage their blood sugar levels. Prediabetics are thought to be in a state of pre-diabetes; they aren’t sure yet if they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
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