According to leading experts, more than 80 million Americans have hypoglycemia and most don’t even know it! Are you one of them? Let’s take a look at some of the symptoms of this confusing, complicated and too often misdiagnosed condition.
Fatigue, insomnia, mental confusion, nervousness, mood swings, headaches, depression, phobias, heart palpitations, craving for sweets, cold hands and feet, forgetfulness, blurred vision, inner trembling, outbursts of temper, sudden hunger, allergies and crying spells.
And that’s just a start. Most books written about hypoglycemia have a list of 40 other symptoms!
How about we look at this from another point of view?
You try to sleep but you’re restless all night long, so when you finally do get up, you need at least three cups of coffee to function. You struggle to get to work, already feeling tense because you’re late, and then snap at your coworkers for some minor infraction. You reach for another cup of coffee before noon and then again at 3 o’clock when you feel that afternoon slump coming on.
Or you got up too late to eat breakfast but race off to your first meeting of the day. Great, they’re serving coffee and donuts! Lunch, I’ll just have a yogurt with fruit…that should be healthy. Now it’s 5 o’clock and you’re rushing to get the kids from school, but your pounding headache makes it a difficult drive. Then you have to dash out for a late night meeting or to pick up last-minute supplies for your child’s school project, so dinner ends up being a quick macaroni dish, chicken from Publix or, as a last resort, canned soup and sandwiches.
Do you realize that through this whole scenario, your blood sugar is going up and down like a yo-yo?
Your coffee, donuts, sugar-laden yogurt, skipped meals and stress can lead to hypoglycemia symptoms that just keep getting worse if left untreated!
Are you aware that if you make some small changes, you may see a difference in your attitude, behavior and thinking that can lead to better personal and professional relationships?
Here are some quick and easy ways to stabilize your blood sugar and avoid the highs and lows of hypoglycemia…a condition most of you don’t realize affects you on a daily basis.
1) Start and end the day with protein. That means breakfast is a must, even if it is just a good protein drink, hardboiled egg or apple slices with almond butter. For a list of recommended snacks check out my September 2012 blog.
2) If you have an early dinner, make sure you have a protein snack an hour or so before bedtime. Going 12 to 14 hours without food overnight may be the reason some find it very difficult to get out of bed in the morning!
3) If you have yogurt, make sure it is plain Greek yogurt, and add your own fresh fruit and nuts. Too many name brands are full of sugar, which will drop your blood sugar in just a few hours and leave you feeling even hungrier and more fatigued.
4) Watch your consumption of orange juice. Most believe it is the perfect drink, especially since it is advertised as “natural,” but each 8-ounce glass contains 8 teaspoons of sugar!
5) Preparation is the key! Make several meals ahead of time, preferably over the weekend. You can freeze some and then serve them on a night when you absolutely have no time to cook.
6) Always carry a protein snack with you, especially if you are driving. It is easy to grab a few almonds or string cheese if you’re feeling weak.
7) If your place of work offers coffee on arrival, ask to add herbal teas, nuts and allowable fruits.
8) Strenuous exercise, especially without eating before or after, will definitely lower your blood sugar…sometimes to an extreme. Instead of worrying so much about how you look, listen to your body’s reaction. If symptoms persist, you may have to slow down your exercise program or change your routine entirely.
My main purpose for this blog is to let you know that how you think, feel and act can be the result of what you are or are not eating! Before you take a pain pill for your headache, be aware that it could be from the three cups of coffee you had to start the day. The anxiety that requires tranquilizers could be that skipped breakfast and lunch…your body is running without fuel, so it won’t – it can’t – function! And finally, the sleeping pill that’s required to get your “forty winks” at night could be the candy, ice cream and soda you consumed just before going to bed.
It’s still the beginning of a new year. Take stock, evaluate your dietary habits, keep a diet/symptom diary and assess those foods and habits you think or know need adjusting. In doubt? Reach out for support, information and assistance. You don’t have to do it alone!
Here’s to your health…make it count!