Low Blood Sugar Levels after Eating – Sign of Hypoglycemia?

Low Blood Sugar Levels

Hyperglycemia is the condition that is most associated with diabetics, and it refers to elevated and even dangerous blood sugar levels. However, the opposite end of the spectrum is just as important to be cognizant of, and low blood sugar levels, (a condition known as hypoglycemia), occurs in diabetics whose bodies are short of the sugars needed to produce energy. In most cases, eating causes an increase in the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. However, less commonly, low blood sugar levels may be present in non fasting situations. However, surprisingly enough, these lower than normal levels are not always indicative of hypoglycemia and conversely, people with hypoglycemia do not always have low blood sugar after eating.

In fact, there are many causes of hypoglycemia in diabetics, and many of them are precisely the same things that can send acceptable blood sugar levels out of whack in either direction. Food, activity level, medications and health conditions can all contribute to low blood sugar levels. In terms of medications, Diabinase, Orinase, Quinine, Prandin, Tolinase and Starlix have all been linked to reducing acceptable blood sugar levels. Most of these mediations are older, however some modern day variants also may lead to low blood sugar levels. Over the counter medications may cause a drop in blood sugar as well, such as aspirin.

Some health conditions can certainly contribute to highs and lows with regards sugar levels in blood, even though they may not seem remotely related. For instance, there are some cases of tumors that actually produce insulin, which could lead to hypoglycemia or the symptoms of low blood sugar. Additionally, an a deficiency in the adrenal gland as well as other endocrine related conditions may also be responsible for low blood sugar levels. There are more common health conditions which also can potentially lead to hypoglycemia such as problems with the kidneys and hepatitis.

Food remains one of the most common methods of impacting both compromised and normal blood sugar levels. It is unsurprising to most people that eating overly refined, sugary foods can cause a relatively quick spike in the amount of glucose in the blood. However, when the opposite occurs, and low blood sugar levels appear following a meal, the situation might seem unusual and it is not uncommon for people to think that they may be suffering from hypoglycemia. More often than not, there is a simple explanation for this phenomenon, and that explanation has to do with fat. When a meal contains excessive fat – particularly excessive amounts of bad fat – it is not unusual for the stomach to empty much, much slower than it normally does. This phenomenon can lead to a false positive of sorts, where low blood sugar levels appear right after a meal, but then they become elevated and remain elevated much longer following a meal than normal. This down-then-up pattern is characteristic of meals that that are high in fat, especially when the meal is particularly large.

It is common for people to associate meal times with blood glucose readings and immediately assume that there is a connection. Most standard examples of a blood sugar levels chart specifically separate readings before and after meals because of the huge variances that can occur in blood sugar readings as a result of either fasting or eating. By this logic, it is not unusual that people who eat and then note low blood sugar levels might attribute this to hypoglycemia. But, each case of diabetes is unique, and more importantly than figures on a blood sugar levels chart is the presence of symptoms.

There is no doubt that the diagnostic tools that make monitoring blood sugar at home possible are one of the most important medical breakthroughs of our time. The readings they provide can point to highs and lows and signal danger, or help identify successes and failures in treatment. However, because no two cases of diabetes are precisely alike, looking for the symptoms of low blood sugar is almost as important as measuring it on a test strip. If a person eats a meal and then soon thereafter performs a home blood test only to find that low blood sugar levels are present, it might warrant a phone call to a health care provider. Conversely, if that same individual has blood sugar under 70 mg/dL and feels dizzy, confused, irritable, shaky, hungry or anxious, there may be a much bigger cause for concern. Aside from these symptoms, other signs of hypoglycemia include weakness, trembling, headaches, pale or sweaty skin and increased pulse rate. Advanced symptoms of hypoglycemia include further increased irritability, exacerbated headaches, problems concentrating or moving about, passing out, nightmares, oral numbness and eventually, coma.

Although perhaps less well known than hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia is still a real and present concern for many diabetics. It can be a very serious and even life threatening condition and boasts often vague symptoms that are hard to pinpoint without further evaluation. However, low blood sugar is not always a cause for concern, even if it occurs following a meal. Therefore, the very best way to determine whether or not low blood sugar levels are a cause for panic or nearly a cause to consider dietary changes is to engage a knowledgeable healthcare provider, preferably one with an intimate knowledge of past health conditions and concerns.