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Last Updated on March 17, 2017 by Diane Hoffmaster
I sent my daughter away for a week of band camp yesterday and I can't help but worry about her. I have been hypoglycemic for most of my life and passed this lovely trait on to my kids. What does it mean to be hypoglycemic? Basically, we deal with low blood sugar on a regular basis. Unlike diabetes which is usually characterized by HIGH blood sugar, people who have NON-DIABETIC hypoglycemic tend to have LOW blood sugar. I have had my kids nearly pass out on a number of occasions because they just haven't quite gotten the hang of how to control low blood sugar yet. It worries me, but I know they have to stand on their own two feet eventually....hopefully without passing out!
So, how do you know if you have non-diabetic hypoglycemia? Here are a few symptoms to discuss with your doctor.
- Blurred vision or changes in vision
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or shakiness
- Fatigue and weakness
- Fast or pounding heartbeat
- Sweating more than usual
- Nausea or hunger
- Anxiety, Irritability, or confusion
There are a number of ways to help even out your blood sugar levels so they don't dip low enough to become a problem. If you suffer from low blood sugar, here are a few tips that I have found that have helped my kids and I over the years.
Easy Tips to Help Control Low Blood Sugar
1. Skip the simple sugars and choose complex carbohydrates: A candy bar is NOT a good option to help control low blood sugar unless you are having a serious problem and need an immediate boost of blood sugar. Choosing whole grains for snack and meal time provide plenty of carbs without the crash that comes from simple sugars.
2. Combine carbohydrates and proteins in one meal. A slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter, a bowl of cereal, or a glass of milk and an apple will provide a nice balance between carbs and protein. The carbs provide a quick shot of glucose to your bloodstream and the protein will help level it out over the next couple of hours.
3. Eat small meals every few hours. I have found that a 'meal, snack, meal, snack' eating system works well in my house. As long as food of some sort is consumed every 2 to 3 hours, our blood sugar doesn't drop dangerously low.
4. Stay well hydrated. I'm not sure what it is about water but not drinking enough of it has always made our low blood sugar issues worse. I think the water helps move the glucose through cells and organs more efficiently to help prevent low blood sugar but I could be totally off on that!
5. Always be prepared. I try to always travel with a granola bar or some sort of snack in my purse for those times when I get stuck running errands longer than I thought I would be. Of course, today I forget to bring one to the gym and ended up at the Starbucks next door for something sweet and fruity. Driving while blood sugar is low is NEVER a good thing!
6. Start EVERY single day with a good breakfast! You have gone all night with nothing to eat and your blood sugar is low, whether you feel it or not. Put together a healthy breakfast with a combination of whole grains, protein and plenty of fiber to help control blood sugar and fill you up. You would be amazed at how long your blood sugar will stay level if you start your day with a healthy breakfast!
7. Know your supplements: Certain medicines or herbal supplements such as fenugreek, ginseng, or cinnamon can cause drops in blood sugar.
8. Check with your doctor: Sometimes, people suffer from underlying conditions that may cause low blood sugar. If you have serious medical conditions, you will not be able to control low blood sugar without your doctor's help. Medical conditions such as liver disease, hypothyroidism, and tumors can all be causes of low blood sugar.
Learning how to control low blood sugar is relatively easy. You really need to pay attention to your diet as well as the food you and (and when you eat it.). If you really want to know specific numbers when it comes to measuring blood sugar levels, you can use my affiliate link for a blood sugar meter that will help you keep track of things. Now, if I can just get my kids to learn how to control low blood sugar without me having to nag at them about packing a granola bar with them at all times!
Do you suffer from low blood sugar?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.