There are several reasons why this may happen, the most common being a side effect of drugs used for the treatment of diabetes. But to understand how hypoglycemia happens, it helps to know how your body normally regulates blood sugar production, absorption & storage.
BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION
During digestion, your body breaks down carbohydrates from foods such as bread, rice, pasta, milk products, vegetables & fruit into various sugar molecules. One of these sugar molecules is glucose the Main energy source for your body – Glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream after you eat but it can’t enter the cells of the most of your tissue without the help of insulin – a hormone secreted by your pancreas.
When the level of glucose in your blood rises, it signals certain cells (beta cells) in your pancreas located behind your stomach to release insulin. The insulin, in turn, unlocks your cells need to function properly. Any extra glucose is stored in your liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. If you haven’t eaten for several hours and your blood sugar level drops, another hormone from your pancreas called Glucagon signals, your liver to break down the glycogen and release glucose back into your bloodstream. This keeps your blood sugar level within a normal range until you eat again.
CAUSES OF HYPOGLYCEMIA
1.For those who have diabetes, hypoglycemia can occur as a result of taking too much insulin. It can also occur if after taking your diabetes medication, you don’t eat as mush as usual (ingesting less glucose) or you exercise more (using up more glucose).
2.Excessive alcohol consumption: Drinking heavily can block your liver from releasing stored glucose into your blood streams, causing hypoglycemia.
3.Critical Illness: Severe illness of the liver such as severe hepatitis can cause hypoglycemia.
4.Medications: Taking someone else’s oral diabetes medication accidentally is a possible cause of hypoglycemia. Other medications may cause hypoglycemia especially in children or people with kidney failure. One example is quinine which is used to treat malaria.
PREVENTION OF HYPOGLYCEMIA
– Decreasing alcohol intake.
– For diabetic patients, lowering the dose of insulin or other medications.
– Lowering levels of exercise and avoiding rigorous exercise.
– Blood glucose can be raised to normal within minutes by taking carbohydrates in form of food or drink. Some fruits like orange, apple or grape juice can also be taken to regulate the blood sugar to a normal range.