1

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Hypoglycemia: symptoms vs. blood glucose level

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created April 20, 2011 at 12:36 PM

If I have symptoms of hypoglycemia (dizziness, shaking, weakness, queasiness, cold sweats, etc.) and check my blood glucose level and it's 97, does that mean the symptoms must be something else? Or could it still be blood sugar related? I only had beef broth and coconut oil for breakfast so I thought it could be hypoglycemia but the blood test shows otherwise.

Medium avatar

(1029)

on July 25, 2012
at 05:54 PM

Agree w this; I just had a glucose tolerance test and after three hours my blood sugar was 97 but I felt horrible. So it must have been due to the decrease in my blood sugar level even though 97 is not low.

F5698e16f1793c0bb00daea6a2e222a4

(678)

on June 27, 2011
at 06:04 PM

yes, reactive, i guess. i took the 2 hour glucose tolorance test and passed it, so it's not diabetes, but at about the 3 hour mark i crashed. i don't know what's wrong with me.. my body seems to have a normal reaction to glucose initially, but then can't seem to maintain. i'm better off fasting. i jumped in. and no coffee besides the 2 cups in the am.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on June 26, 2011
at 10:35 AM

Did you jump straight in to that new fasting schedule or try it gradually? Perhaps it HAS to be done in one move to get the right effect?

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on June 26, 2011
at 10:34 AM

So are you having coffee outside of your fasting period? I'm sensitive to caffeine so won't be having much of it. Just curious.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on June 26, 2011
at 10:33 AM

thanks for the info, that sounds like you had reactive hypoglyecemia, meaning what you were eating is what your body reacted to (or was it any type of food?) . So it makes sense that by fasting, you're telling your body to adapt to a lower BG without it panicking. I think I am going to road-test your type of schedule. Though I seem to sleep better if I have a fat/protein bedtime snack. Will report back, I hate hypogylcemia...it's awful.

F5698e16f1793c0bb00daea6a2e222a4

(678)

on May 31, 2011
at 04:37 PM

oops.. "I was a challenfe" should read "It was a challenge"

F5698e16f1793c0bb00daea6a2e222a4

(678)

on May 31, 2011
at 04:35 PM

Fasted state for 16 hours (7pm dinner to 11am "lunch"). I then eat my full days worth of calories (approx 2200) in the 8 hours from lunch to dinner. I was a challenfe at first but with practice and coffee (a little cream but no milk.. there's sugar in milk) i do it easy now.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on May 29, 2011
at 07:47 AM

Hi there, just curious - what was your fasting pattern? Eg. skip breakfast for example? Or eat breakfast and nothing until dinner? My hypoglycemia is driving me absolutely up the wall and I don't want to live with it forever. thanks!

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on May 05, 2011
at 03:10 AM

Exactly right--the symptoms are non-specific.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:15 PM

I've experienced it from eating cheese on an empty stomach several times, which I take to mean that there is an insulin response without a corresponding influx of glucose. You might also be eating far less starch than you think. I can't eat enough potatoes or sweet potatoes on leg day for example; I have to eat rice.

E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on April 20, 2011
at 04:44 PM

I do eat plenty of starch and fruit - not LC at all right now. I've never really experienced hypoglycemia before through all my years of eating SAD, "clean", Paleo, LC, fasting, IFing, etc. so it was weird.

145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

(1932)

on April 20, 2011
at 01:28 PM

My experiences exactly, as well. The **change** in glucose levels seems to be as important (in terms of how you feel) as the actual level. And there is really no excuse for the looseness of the readings, which I have also experienced. Which one should you believe? I have no clue.

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6 Answers

3
Medium avatar

on April 20, 2011
at 03:32 PM

Just add some starch to your diet. I'm highly prone to hypoglycemia if I workout without sufficient starch. Potatoes, sweet potatoes and rice are all safe to eat. Paleo needn't be very low in carb intake.

E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on April 20, 2011
at 04:44 PM

I do eat plenty of starch and fruit - not LC at all right now. I've never really experienced hypoglycemia before through all my years of eating SAD, "clean", Paleo, LC, fasting, IFing, etc. so it was weird.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:15 PM

I've experienced it from eating cheese on an empty stomach several times, which I take to mean that there is an insulin response without a corresponding influx of glucose. You might also be eating far less starch than you think. I can't eat enough potatoes or sweet potatoes on leg day for example; I have to eat rice.

2
39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on April 20, 2011
at 03:48 PM

In addition to rapidly falling BG, even slower changes over time can cause symptoms of hypoglycemia.

Let's say you have an a1c of 8, which is probably an average BG of around 210 depending on whose conversion chart you believe. Then you start taking meds, working out, or doing anything else that drops it over, say, a period of days or longer, to an average BG of 100. You can experience symptoms of hypoglycemia even with a BG of 100 because your body is used to something much higher.

My doctor didn't warn me of this, and when I went Paleo and started working out mine dropped substantially over a period of a couple weeks, and I had such symptoms. The way my body reacted adjusted over time, but for awhile I was pretty nervous.

This wisdom comes from Dr. Bernstein's diabetes book, which is holy writ for anyone with BG concerns.

2
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 20, 2011
at 01:11 PM

You can get hypoglycemia symptons from rapidly falling blood sugar, so it's not always the level (although it usually is). Glucometers can give bad readings - I've had up to 30 point difference on back to back readings. I would keep checking glucose levels and maybe eat something.

If you don't feel better go see a doctor or urgent care pronto.

145d4b0f988af15acc6b26eccc1f4895

(1932)

on April 20, 2011
at 01:28 PM

My experiences exactly, as well. The **change** in glucose levels seems to be as important (in terms of how you feel) as the actual level. And there is really no excuse for the looseness of the readings, which I have also experienced. Which one should you believe? I have no clue.

Medium avatar

(1029)

on July 25, 2012
at 05:54 PM

Agree w this; I just had a glucose tolerance test and after three hours my blood sugar was 97 but I felt horrible. So it must have been due to the decrease in my blood sugar level even though 97 is not low.

1
1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:40 AM

I get those symptoms sometimes from high blood pressure, too.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on May 05, 2011
at 03:10 AM

Exactly right--the symptoms are non-specific.

0
678a83f98d01a3b819926d62ee0de30c

on July 25, 2012
at 05:39 PM

I agree with the person who mentioned that if your body is used to higher blood sugar averages, you'll actually feel bad at "good" numbers. My 81 or 82 year old diabetic friend feels horrible when her sugars are technically where they should be, so despite her doctor's advice (her attitude is "I"m 81, I'm not going to worry about it.") she allows her sugar level to stay SLIGHTLY high. I'm not advising that, but I'm just letting you know that it is true about "what your body is used to".

Also, I have felt bad in the 90s before if I dropped really fast down into the 90s. I felt bad at 127 yesterday! When I saw the 127 I flat out refused to eat again and just told myself to "snap out of it" and waited it out...because I knew I wasn't at dangerously low blood sugar numbers. One of the things it's been so hard for me to get endocrinologists to understand is that when you are hypoglycemic, it's not necessarily how low your blood sugar gets, it's how fast and how far you fall. I dropped from 187 to 67 a while back relatively quickly and got VERY sick.

0
F5698e16f1793c0bb00daea6a2e222a4

(678)

on April 20, 2011
at 01:39 PM

I used to suffer from symptoms of hypoglycemia almost daily. I always thought it was a reaction to not eating, so I'd eat every 2-3 hours. I've since learned that I had it backwards - the reaction was caused by eating. Since I started fasting it happens to me much less than it used to.

And to echo Dave S, yes most glucometers are crap.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on May 29, 2011
at 07:47 AM

Hi there, just curious - what was your fasting pattern? Eg. skip breakfast for example? Or eat breakfast and nothing until dinner? My hypoglycemia is driving me absolutely up the wall and I don't want to live with it forever. thanks!

F5698e16f1793c0bb00daea6a2e222a4

(678)

on May 31, 2011
at 04:37 PM

oops.. "I was a challenfe" should read "It was a challenge"

F5698e16f1793c0bb00daea6a2e222a4

(678)

on May 31, 2011
at 04:35 PM

Fasted state for 16 hours (7pm dinner to 11am "lunch"). I then eat my full days worth of calories (approx 2200) in the 8 hours from lunch to dinner. I was a challenfe at first but with practice and coffee (a little cream but no milk.. there's sugar in milk) i do it easy now.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on June 26, 2011
at 10:34 AM

So are you having coffee outside of your fasting period? I'm sensitive to caffeine so won't be having much of it. Just curious.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on June 26, 2011
at 10:33 AM

thanks for the info, that sounds like you had reactive hypoglyecemia, meaning what you were eating is what your body reacted to (or was it any type of food?) . So it makes sense that by fasting, you're telling your body to adapt to a lower BG without it panicking. I think I am going to road-test your type of schedule. Though I seem to sleep better if I have a fat/protein bedtime snack. Will report back, I hate hypogylcemia...it's awful.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on June 26, 2011
at 10:35 AM

Did you jump straight in to that new fasting schedule or try it gradually? Perhaps it HAS to be done in one move to get the right effect?

F5698e16f1793c0bb00daea6a2e222a4

(678)

on June 27, 2011
at 06:04 PM

yes, reactive, i guess. i took the 2 hour glucose tolorance test and passed it, so it's not diabetes, but at about the 3 hour mark i crashed. i don't know what's wrong with me.. my body seems to have a normal reaction to glucose initially, but then can't seem to maintain. i'm better off fasting. i jumped in. and no coffee besides the 2 cups in the am.

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