Low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia is a disorder of blood sugar metabolism.
Causes and Symptoms
A craving for sweets and starch in excessive amounts between meals is the first sign of a low blood sugar level. When the blood sugar level falls much below normal, symptoms such as nervousness, irritability, fatigue, depression, disturbed vision, and headaches appear. Other symptoms are sweating, trembling, numbness, absent- mindedness, dizziness, palpitations of the heart, and some sexual disturbances. Most hypoglycaemia patients feel hungry and eat frequendy to get over the feeling of weakness and emotional irritability. They feel tense if they have to go without food for several hours. Low blood sugar can compound into an emergency condition. In such an eventuality, medical help should be sought immediately. However, when die patient experiences any symptoms that indicate a fall in blood sugar, he should immediately take a heaped teaspoonful of sugar and then seek medical help.
Low blood sugar is usually caused by an excessive intake of refined carbohydrates and sugary foods. These substances cause the pancreas, the adrenal glands, and the liver to lose their ability to handle the sugar properly. Other causes of low blood sugar are a tumour; or a disturbed functioning of the liver, pituitary gland, or adrenal glands. Stress intensifies this condition.
Vitamins: Certain vitamins have been found effective in the treatment of low blood sugar. These are vitamins C, E, and B complex. Foods rich in these vitamins are therefore valuable in low blood sugar. Vitamins C and B increase tolerance of sugar and carbohydrates, and help normalise sugar metabolism Pantothenic acid and vitamin B( help to build up adrenals which are generally exhausted in persons with low blood sugar. Vitamin E improves glycogen storage in the muscles and tissues. The patje’1′ should take vitamin C in large doses from 2,000 to 5,000 mg B6 50 mg, and vitamin E – Upto l,600 IU daily.
Apple: Apples are considered valuable in low blood sugar. Two small apples with their peels should be taken after each meal for treating this condition.
Molasses: The use of molasses has been found very useful in low blood sugar. When blood sugar becomes abnormally low as a result of over exertion or under-nutrition, a glass of sherbet made of molasses will serve as a tonic and prevent the feeling of faintness. It serves the same purpose in the body as glucose. Dietary Considerations
The ideal diet for low blood sugar should be based on three basic food groups, namely, grains, seeds and nuts, vegetables and fruits; supplemented by milk and milk products, and vegetable oils. Seeds, nuts, and grains should be the main constituents of the diet. Seeds and nuts should be taken in their raw form. Grains, in the form of cereals, should be cooked. Cooked grains are digested slowly and release sugar into the blood gradually, six to eight hours after meals. This will keep the blood sugar level normal and constant for a long period.
Persons suffering from a low blood sugar should take six to eight meals a day instead of two or three large ones. Eating raw nuts and seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or drinking milk, buttermilk, or fruit juices between meals will be beneficial. All refined and processed foods, white sugar, white flour and all their by-products should be completely eliminated from the diet. Coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks should also be avoided. The consumption of salt should be reduced as an excessive intake of salt causes loss of blood potassium, which causes blood sugar to drop.
Proper rest is essential for those suffering from low blood sugar. A tranquil mind is of utmost importance in this condition. Nervous strain and anxiety should be relieved by simple methods °f meditation and relaxation. Yogasanas like vakrasana, bhujangasana, halasana, sarvangasana; and pranayama like kapalbhati and anuloma- viloma will be beneficial. A prolonged bath at room temperature will also be helpful in relieving mental tension.