Now that the HSF has revealed the first comprehensive infographic on hypoglycemia, we are actively receiving feedback and input for the next version. Clearly, hypoglycemia is a complex condition with many pathways, diagnoses, and treatment approaches. There are many differing and conflicting opinions in the medical field about hypoglycemia, types and definitions of hypoglycemia, descriptive (technical – often confusing) terms, protocols and methods for treatment, etc.
Technical as well as common terms for describing hypoglycemia, blood sugar, blood sugar irregularities, metabolic disorders, etc., often lack standardized definitions, and are frequently contested by those concerned with hypoglycemia, including experts from a wide variety of medical and scientific fields, in addition to health advocates with non-professional backgrounds.
Compounding this issue is the fact that collective stats on hypoglycemia don’t exist – at least verifiable ones that we know of – which is why we didn’t include them in the infographic. We chose to focus on one population suffering from prediabetes and type 2 diabetes because this group represents over 50% of the population in the U.S. – and globally.
Hypoglycemia is associated with so many diseases, it is challenging to tease it out. Searching the web or academic search engines, type in hypoglycemia, and cancer, cardiovascular disease, strokes, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, etc. – and you will find that virtually all the leading global chronic diseases are associated with hypoglycemia. Of course, there are also many different types of hypoglycemia – caused by different reasons too…fasting, non-fasting (postprandial), pediatric, gestational, iatrogenic, and the list goes on and on.
We simply can’t make everyone happy with one infographic – and one perspective on how to define and respond to hypoglycemia.
We have made it clear that this infographic places a strong emphasis on a very specific type of hypoglycemia that is mostly diet-driven. Within the past 40 plus years, a majority of the patients seeking help with hypoglycemia from the HSF have had diet-related issues…a relatively small percentage present symptoms that are related to other medical conditions. The HSF makes it clear to patients with diet-related symptoms that blaming themselves is NOT helpful. Our foods, food system, and food culture has changed dramatically – we now live in extremely unhealthy (“obesogenic”) food environment – and diets based on processed food are now the norm. Too few have been informed that what they eat is fundamentally related to their symptoms and health.
This being said, we welcome constructive input – with the understanding that the infographic we have developed represents the perspective of a four-decades old patient advocacy organization that has received feedback from tens of thousands of people who have suffered needlessly from the confusion and inadequate educational resources dedicated to addressing hypoglycemia and low blood sugar.