Our body needs a constant supply of energy in order to properly function. This energy is usually obtained from glucose.
Glucose is an essential sugar that acts as the main fuel in most of our organs and tissues. It is commonly known as “sugar” and is obtained from food and drink.
In addition, in order to avoid needing to be continually eating; our bodies have a really complex glucose storage-recovery system.
Thanks to this, we are able to store part of the energy obtained by feeding; mostly in the liver, muscles and fat.
By contrast: our body recovers stored glucose when fasting, doing an intensive physical activity, being ill or many other situations that implies a greater energetic waste.
In this way, our blood sugar levels are maintained
consistently within a range of blood glucose that is considered “healthy”.
Under normal conditions
THIS AMOUNT OF BLOOD SUGAR IS MAINTAINED BETWEEN 70-150 MG/DL (3,89-8,32 MMOL/L).
Therefore, a “blood sugar drop” starts to happen when our blood glucose is below 70 mg/dl. Yet, we say “it starts to happen” and not only “happens”, because hypoglycemia is not a specific moment; but a succession of events. And the prognosis after it depends on multiple factors.
If you have or are living with a disease that can cause hypoglycemia; it is essential that you learn to identify and treat its symptoms. It is even more important if the sufferer is a baby or a small child who is not yet able to take independent control of the condition.
The person who enters into hypoglycemia changes from feeling well to experiencing annoying sensations.
THESE ARE ALERT SIGNALS SENT BY THE BODY; WARNING THAT THE AMOUNT OF BLOOD SUGAR IS NOT ENOUGH TO KEEP ON PROPERLY RUNNING THE BODY.
Especially, for the brain to keep functioning in the proper way.
These signs manifest as different symptoms and they happen because the body is activating the counterregulatory hormones – those which recover stored glucose.
These first symptoms can vary significantly but often manifest as: paleness, tremors, anxiety, palpitations, hunger, irritability, tachycardia, tingling, sleepiness, sweating (usually cold sweat), weakness and nausea.
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WHEN THE INITIAL SITUATION OF GLUCOSE SHORTAGE IS NOT CORRECTED AND LEVELS DROP FURTHER; THE BODY BEGINS TO EXPERIENCE OTHER MORE SEVERE SYMPTOMS.
These are a consequence of the lack of glucose in the brain.
The second symptoms can also vary significantly but often include: confusion, aggressiveness, lapses of consciousness, incoherent speech, altered behavior, dizziness and weakness, headache, double or blurred vision, seizures, unsteady gait or lack of coordination, feeling heat or cold, lack of concentration, burning sensations or pricking sensations, language or speech disorders.
In general, these more serious symptoms usually appear when sugar levels drop below 50 mg/dl (2.78 mmol/L) and they happen because the nervous system suffers a lot from lack of glucose.
A severe hypoglycemia is an emergency situation and requires immediate action
IT USUALLY REQUIRES THE HELP OF ANOTHER PERSON TO CORRECT IT
We could say that first symptoms are a “take care because you’re going to hurt yourself” warning and the second ones happen when you’re already hurting yourself.
These ones are the most dangerous of all symptoms.
If those second symptoms are not corrected, the person might enter into a hypoglycemic coma. In principle, it is not permanent, since it could be reversed by administering intravenous glucose.
In the event that blood glucose drops further and the organism runs out of blood sugar, death might occur.
Many families are fighting daily against hypoglycemia and it forces us to gain a basic and not-so-basic knowledge
FROM THE VERY FIRST HYPO
Families should get adequate, understandable and quality training on glycemic control and how to act in emergency situations.
It is not so important to know the reasons why low blood sugars happen, but it is important to understand the seriousness of a sugar drop and learning how to act if lows happen. Acquiring this knowledge can save someone’s life.
It even matters more if that “someone” is your baby and you have crossed hypoglycemia a few hours after childbirth.