Sudden post-meal malaise, with feelings of intense hunger, dizziness, and cold sweats can be signs of reactive hypoglycemia. Also called postprandial hypoglycemia, it is a medical term that describes recurrent episodes of low blood sugar (below 70 mg/dL), but which occur two to four hours after the ingestion of a meal rich in carbohydrates or glucose.
It occurs as a result of the imbalance between glucose and insulin levels in the blood, and can affect people who have diabetes Let's understand the causes and how to prevent these episodes.
Read more: After all, what is hypoglycemia without diabetes?
After all, what are the causes?
According to endocrinologist Taciana Borges, "reactive hypoglycemia happens between two and four hours after a meal rich in carbohydrates, by stimulating the excessive release of insulin for a longer period." In addition, the main causes are:
- Genetic cause (hereditary fructose intolerance)
- People with pre-diabetes or insulin resistance
- After bariatric surgery
- Insulinoma (insulin-producing tumor)
- Hormonal deficiencies, such as hypothyroidism
"Patients with hormonal deficiencies, such as hypothyroidism or adrenal insufficiency in which there is a deficiency of counter-regulatory hormones that raise glucose and with this can lead to hypoglycemia," explains Taciana.
What are the proper blood glucose limits?
Generally, the ideal is to keep the levels between 70 and 90 mg/dL in periods of fasting, but after ingestion of food, these values can rise and normalize in about 2 hours.
What is the difference between hypo and hyperglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is the low blood sugar (glucose) level (<70 mg/dL), while hyperglycemia is the opposite, i.e. the increase in blood sugar. According to the Brazilian Diabetes Society, the second case is very common in people with diabetes or during the use of some medicines, such as corticoids or steroids, for example.
Symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia
Thus, the main symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia are:
- Increased appetite
- Cold sweating
- Feeling faint
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fainting and coma (in more extreme cases)
How the diagnosis is made of reactive hypoglycemia?
At first, the suspicion of the diagnosis of the condition is made from the perception of the most common symptoms, but the confirmation is made by the measurement of blood glucose: "Reactive hypoglycemia should be confirmed with glucose below 70mg/dL after meals, with symptoms that regress after the correction of blood glucose", explains the endocrinologist.of insulin rate.
What is the best way to correct it?
We recommend the consumption of 15 to 20 grams of simple carbohydrates, such as 1 tablespoon of sugar in a glass of water or 1 tablespoon of honey", explains the endocrinologist. In addition, 200 ml of pure orange juice can also help to correct. After that, wait 15 minutes and measureagain, but if it is still below 70 mg/dL, repeat the process.
Read more: After all, what to do in a hypoglycemic crisis
Is it possible to prevent reactive hypoglycemia?
According to the specialist, it is possible to prevent reactive hypoglycemia. As it is related, generally, to the high consumption of carbohydrates, the best way to prevent it is by changing habits. Thus, it is important to maintain a balanced diet, avoiding large consumption of foods with high glycemic content or going without eating for long hours.endocrinologist, it is also very important to see a nutritionist", says the specialist.
So here are some guidelines:
- Eat small meals throughout the day
- Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks, such as desserts, sweet teas, and sweetened fruit juices, for example
- Include lean proteins and healthy fats in your diet
- Eat foods rich in fibers
- Limit or avoid alcohol
- Limit or avoid caffeine (do not exceed 5 cups per day)
- Practice regular physical activity
Source: Taciana Borges, endocrinologist and metabologist.