Do you feel sleepy and tired an hour after you eat? It’s possible that you might have occasional low blood sugar.
How do you feel after eating a donut or sweet roll first thing in the morning? Do you get a buzzing feeling in your head? Do you start to yawn and feel like a nap about twenty minutes to an hour later?
Have you found it difficult to engage in a sport, like tennis, that requires great bursts of energy? Do you think about taking a nap about an hour after lunch?
You may have episodes of low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia. I do.
Years ago a doctor diagnosed me with dyinsulinism, a basic term for insulin that is not working properly.
What is insulin? Insulin is the hormone secreted from the pancreas that unlocks each cell in your body so that it can receive glucose.
What is glucose? Glucose is one of the products of the foods you eat. Food is digested and broken down producing glucose, a sugar needed to supply energy to every cell in every organ in your body.
Dyinsulinism can be defined as an over-production of insulin (hypoglycemia), an under-production or total lack of insulin (diabetes) or problems with how insulin is either received by your cells or transported through your body.
People with Type I diabetes have a pancreas that no longer secretes insulin.
People with Type II diabetes have a pancreas that is secreting insulin, but it’s either not enough for the number of cells in the body or it is insulin that is not fully effective. People with Type I or Type II sometimes have episodes of hypoglycemia, low blood sugar.
Back to the donut! You may have hypoglycemia unrelated to diabetes.
In hypoglycemia, the pancreas might be secreting too much insulin or your insulin isn’t working properly—then the glucose in your blood stream is rapidly used up, leaving your glucose stores depleted. (Like on the tennis court when suddenly you wonder if you can lift that racket again.)
Fatigue, yawning and lack of energy make you feel sluggish. When you are low on glucose stores, your brain suffers. You feel dizzy and unable to think clearly.
What are normal glucose levels in the blood stream? When you haven’t eaten for over 8 hours, your fasting level should be: 70-99 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
Two hours after eating it should be 70-145 mg/dL.
A random blood test should read 70-125 mg/dL.
A glucose tolerance test (GTT), which tests to see how your body utilizes sugar, revealed in my case and at several different times, that I do have hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, a form of dyinsulinism.
What happens during a GTT?
You go to the lab without eating. Your blood is drawn and the result is your fasting blood glucose reading. Your baseline.
- You drink a sweet liquid containing glucose, usually 75 grams to 100 grams.
- Blood samples are then collected at intervals of 1, 2 and 3 hours after you drink the glucose.
- Those results reveal how your body reacts to a large amount of glucose.
- The test screens for diabetes and prediabetes.
In my case, my symptoms told the story. My body sent out so much insulin to deal with the sugar load, that I was sweating, feeling faint and needed to lie down at about 2 hours into the test. The reading for that time period was 40 mgdL. Very low. But my body did rebound, my liver supplying me with stored glucose that got my levels back up to above 70 mgdL. I felt normal again.
So—the donut. If you can say yes to my initial question, here are a few things you can do.
- Eat breakfast! But eat whole grain bread with natural peanut butter (complex carbs and protein); or an egg with a whole grain bagel (complex carbs and protein); or an egg and a piece of turkey bacon with one slice of whole grain toast (protein and complex carbs); now you are starting your day with food that takes a while to break down in your system and supplies you with energy for a longer period of time
- Eat a snack mid-morning: handful of peanuts; or ½ slice whole grain bread with natural peanut butter; or handful of almonds;
- Eat a lunch of protein and complex carbs;
- Eat a mid-afternoon snack that is NOT a candy bar or chips from the vending machine;
- Eat a substantial dinner that includes protein, complex carbs and veggies. Fruit for dessert.
Your energy will improve and you won’t have that afternoon headache that begs for a nap.
If you continue to have the donut symptoms after these changes, consider getting a glucose tolerance test (GTT).
Food is energy and you want your body to utilize it correctly. Take care of yourself!
Any of your experiencing this???? You’ll feel so much better if you work to stop occasional low blood sugar by altering your diet. Try it!
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