What is reactive hypoglycemia?
Reactive hypoglycemia refers to hypoglycemia that occurs after a meal. Reactive hypoglycemia can be seen in patients who have had surgical removal of the stomach (gastrectomy). In the absence of a stomach, glucose in the meal is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream through the intestines, causing sudden hyperglycemia (high blood glucose). In order to
correct this sudden hyperglycemia, excessive amounts of insulin are released by the pancreas, which drives the blood glucose down, causing hypoglycemia. The reactive hypoglycemia in gastrectomy patients occurs early, usually within 1 hour after a meal.
Reactive hypoglycemia is a condition in which the symptoms of low blood sugar appear 2 to 5 hours after eating foods high in glucose. The diagnosis of reactive hypoglycemia is considered only after other possible causes of low blood sugar have been ruled out. Generally there is no specific cause.
Reactive hypoglycemia can occur when blood glucose falls, stores of glucose from the liver are exhausted and an individual chooses not to eat. The body gradually adjusts to this situation by using muscle protein to feed glucose to brain cells and fat to fuel the other body cells, but before this adjustment takes place, an individual may experience symptoms of glucose deprivation to the brain. Symptoms such as: anxiety, hunger, dizziness, weakness, shaking muscles and racing heart may result. Most of these symptoms diminish five to ten minutes after eating a source of carbohydrate. Because these symptoms are common to many conditions, a health care provider should be consulted to assess an individual’s specific symptoms and concerns.
People with symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia unrelated to other medical conditions or problems are usually advised to follow a healthy eating plan. The doctor or dietitian may suggest that such a person avoid foods high in carbohydrates; eat small, frequent meals and snacks throughout the day; exercise regularly; and eat a variety of foods, including whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
More information on hypoglycemia
What is hypoglycemia? - Hypoglycemia is a medical term referring to a pathologic state produced and usually defined by a lower than normal amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
What causes hypoglycemia? - The main cause of hypoglycemia is intentional or accidental overdose of antidiabetic medication, insulin or oral drugs.
What is reactive hypoglycemia? - Reactive hypoglycemia is a condition in which the symptoms of low blood sugar appear 2 to 5 hours after eating foods high in glucose.
What reactive hypoglycemia diet is suggested? - Individuals with reactive hypoglycemia respond favorably to high-carbohydrate, high-fiber, restricted-simple sugar diets.
What is fasting hypoglycemia? - Fasting hypoglycemia, which most commonly occurs among people with diabetes when too much insulin is administered, is potentially very dangerous.
What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia? - Mild hypoglycemia can cause nausea, a jittery or nervous feeling, cold and clammy skin, and a rapid heartbeat. Severe hypoglycemia can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures, and coma.
How is hypoglycemia diagnosed? - A low sugar level in the blood found at the time a person is experiencing typical symptoms of hypoglycemia confirms the diagnosis in a person without diabetes.
What're the treatments for hypoglycemia? - The symptoms of hypoglycemia are relieved within minutes of consuming sugar in any form, such as candy or glucose tablets, or of drinking a sweet drink.
How to prevent hypoglycemia? - People with diabetes should always have ready access to emergency supplies for treating unexpected episodes of hypoglycemia.