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Hypoglycemia??? Off Topic but I do still have MS...
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Hypoglycemia??? Off Topic but I do still have MS...

I have complained in the past about these cold sweats that I have been having which also included  light headedness and nausea.  

Well this afternoon I had an "attack" of these symptoms and I am wondering if anyone here has ever had to deal with Hypoglycemia.  My symptoms were again the cold sweats, light headedness, high anxiety (breathing pace increased and felt almost out of breath) and nausea.  I checked my heart rate while this was going on (although it wasn't easy) and it was 84bpm which is fairly normal for me.  

Now when I asked my lying gp about it she automatically knocked it up to the dreaded "menopause" but I wasn't flushed or hot during the last attacks and although I explained this to her she said that the holter monitor will tell us what is going on.  HUH...not if it's hypoglycemia you silly doctor!  Today was the worst "attack" I have had of this and it is really scary!  I did have a bowl of cereal at about 10:30 after sleeping in until 9:50.  I was going to have lunch just before this happened and when it happened I thought that perhaps eating would make me feel better...this was about 2:00 p.m.  I ate an apple and I amazingly started to feel better but still not right so I had a cookie but they are not sweetened with sugar so I don't know if it had any effect or not.  This is really bothering me as it really knocks me for a loop and I know that my gp isn't going to be much help.  If it keeps up I will go to a medi centre or perhaps see if I can get in with another dr. at the same clinic.  Does anyone out there know anything about this or do the symptoms ring any bells?  Any help would be much appreciated!

Lots of hugs,
Rena
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I get the cold sweats there awful i get soaked at night and suddenly during the day it will pour off me this is a recent thing about a year now and i am 33 and i dont think mine is menopause.

My friend has a condition that means he has to eat often and as when he doesnt he shakes sweats and gets dizzy but as soon as he has eaten then he is fine, they dont glucose test on hi i think i cant remeber though what it is called.

hopefully somebody will post too.

sam
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It seems like last time we talked about this I asked about your blood sugars.  Yes, your episodes do sound like hypoglycemia.  Some docs believe that this is a precursor to diabetes and some believe that it is an entity unto itself.

If you immediately feel better after eating something, then it is likely that your blood sugar was low.

The worst triggers of these episodes are foods that cause a big spike in insulin production.  The reason for this is that some foods, like sugary things, cause rapid rise of the blood sugar.  In the normal person this cause the body to secrete a burst of insulin to bring the blood sugar down by making it available to the cells as fuel.  This is the main role of insulin.  In the person with hypoglycemic tendencies the production of insulin overshoots its goal and brings the sugar down too fast, bringing it too low and for too long.  This causes the shakiness, confusion, sweating, rapid heart beat, headache, weakness, fainting or severe, overpowering sleepiness.

It is this process of bringing the sugar down that led to the development of the glycemic scale.  All carbohydrates stimulate the production of insulin.  Sugar does it the most and fastest and fiber does it the least (well, actually not at all).  They have studied standard servings of hundreds of food and seen which cause the sugar to go highest the fastest.  Of course, sugar is at the top of the list.

But, there are two surprises.  There are two foods that are right up there with sugar.  The first is breakfast cereal.  The second is baked potatoes.

People with hypoglycemic tendencies will often have a "crash" about three hours after a carb-high breakfast.  They may also find that something like a milkshake can cause what my household calls "sugar coma." - that deep unavoidable nap wher you sleep like the dead.

To diagnose reactive hypoglycemia, the gold stand is the 5-hour Glucose Tolerance Test.  Typically GTTs only go three hours.  But, this will often miss the deep trough of low blood sugar in the hypoglycemic.

Rena - the best way to see if this is a problem is to go on a lower glycemic diet.  Avoid sugar and processed grains and have some protein, especially at breakfast.  Avoid all cereals except complete whole grain ones like regular oatmeal.  Do not eat sugar on it.

Also it would be great to check your blood sugar early in such an attack.  Later in the attack, the body puts out adrenaline to save itself and this will pump the blood sugar up some.

Well, more than you wanted to know, but a pet epic discourse of mine.  :))

Quix
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I DO BELIEVE YOU HAVE HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!!!  All the symptoms that you mention have happened except the confusion...I am naturally confused!  hehe

Seriously though, it was about 3 hours after having breakfast which was a bowl of Oatmeal Crisp with Apple and Brown Sugar (3 1/2 hours actually) when I began to feel real bad yesterday and after I ate the apple I began to feel better.  

I am going to see if I can see a gp at my lying gp's office other than her tomorrow or Tuesday and get the blood testing done.

I truly appreciate this information Quix and I will let you know what is happening...I sure hope that this isn't a precursor of diabetes but I wouldn't doubt it with all the weight I have put on.  Then my so-called friends brought over a fresh baked home made apple pie!  I think I can do without that for a while!

I will let you know the next installment when there is a change ok?

Lots of hUgs,

Rena
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QUIX, I want to thank you so much for all the time that you give to others, here at this forum.  You are truly a God'send in so many ways!!   I've just found some more 'gold nuggets' from your previous post.  When I was very young, I was always passing out in the shower.  I'd had "those spells" other places too, of course, but the "hot shower" seemed to do it everytime!    My mom called our family doctor that first time it happened, and he said to rush me a glass of orange juice...so, she did...everytime!  

This continued for several years, until finally, my aunt (head nurse at the Baptist Hospital in Knoxville, TN at that time), told my mother that she needed to take me to the doctor and have my sugar and blood tested.  So, she did.  The doctor (was different than my family Dr...not sure what specialty?) told my mother that I was hypoglycemic.  I've had to deal with this my whole life!!  Ask my husband how many times he has had to rush me a glass of orange juice.  I try drink it (or other juice) every morning now, BEFORE I take a warm (NOT HOT) shower.  

I got brave (or stupid!!) one time and was going to conquer the Atkin's diet, after hearing, & seeing, how it had benefited a colleague of mine. I studied the diet book for hours that night and decided to start it the next day.   Hahh!!  I didn't even make it through the day. As soon as I got off work, I drove (although I'm not sure how, as I was trying to black out) to the KFC across the road from our school and ordered a LARGE Pop (don't remember...not the point)!!  I had to pull over & park, to drink it, as I was still about to pass out.  I don't even remember doing alot of this part, just know that I did it afterwards...as I had that KFC cup in my truck.  LOL!!    Anyways, that really woke me up to watching what & how I eat...especially DIETS!!!   The only diet I'm striving to achieve at this point in life (& until I die), is to get back to the most ALL NATURAL, ORGANIC......CHEMICAL & HORMONE FREE FOOD that I can get!!!   I firmly believe that the rise in diseases, including MS, Fibro, Diabetes, etc...is due to the unphathomable amount of chemicals, hormones, & radiation we're constantly being exposed to.   Just my thoughts!  ;)

Normally, I ALWAYS (and have since I was a teenager) carry a mug of some sort of drink throughout the day....for 2 reasons.  1) I have chronic dry mouth/throat/eyes...2) my blood sugar seems to drop fairly quickly.  Whenever I start feeling faint, I drink some of my sweet tea, juice (or other?) to quickly 'pick me back up.'  QUIX I never knew that about the "food spikes."  I remember my doctor talking some about sugars and foods to my mother, but I was only about 10 or 11 yrs old at that time, and don't remember much.  Mom never talked about it to me much when I was growing up...she just knew what I needed, when I needed it.  She died 2 weeks after my 18th birthday, (& I miss my best friend so much  :(  ..), so I can't ask her any of the "desperate questions" that I have about my health.  My closest Grandma (mom's mom) has passed, & I've lost contact with my "biological portaguese father & grandmother."  It's too bad too, because I knew that my "portaguese Grandmother" was always sick and was in bad health.  I can't remember now, what it was that she said she had...as it could be helpful in my diagnosis, since so many things are hereditary.  

BTW QUIX, you posted the symptoms of hypoglycemia, PRECISELY!!...& unfortunetly, I know the "sugar soma" all too well!!  Also, if I ever allow a spell to linger too long without food/drink, then I'm severely sick & worthless for the rest of the day...constant nausea, distortion, confusion, racing heart, MIGRAINE, EXHAUSTED,...walking around in a daze!...etc...doesn't matter when I FINALLY get to eat...if I've reached that "point of no return"...then it's just over for me that day!!!  So, I try to carry around pieces of candy/snacks in my purse/car for emergencies...in addition to my big mug of course!!  ;)

RENA, feel free to PM me anytime hon, if you have questions.  Believe me!...I know exactly what you're going through...and it CAN be scary, so don't hesitate to ask. ;)
~tj
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Thanks.

I think you are saying that you now know that by carrying around candy and snacks you are perpetuating the episodes of hypogycemia.  For everyone reading, using candy causes the blood sugar to be on a continuous rollercoaster of highs and EXTREME lows.  This is all because of the way they induce the production of insulin.   Tj said it well - food spikes.  Much better to eat 6 or more small meals a day, each to include a little protein and ONLY lower-glycemic carbohydrates.  The protein acts to ease the peaks of the blood sugar highs and lows.  I'm not talking Atkins here (though that is MY preferred diet).  Just check out the glycemic scale and eat the lower carbs plus high grade proteins and healthy fats.  Organic and natural are great, but remember that there are some pretty sugary natural foods.  Treat those as possible enemies until you have "cleaned up" and cautiously tried them again.

My dad was a severe hypoglycemic for years, lost his job, went on disability and was (mis)diagnosed as schizophrenic.  He couldn't work, couldn't make decisions and was irritable.  An endocrinologist properly diagnosed him, placed him on the above rules and he returned to his prior brilliant self.  His blood glucose was hanging around 40 to 50.

You HAVE to stop the sugar!  The withdrawal can be holy h@ll for about three days.  During the time that you are withdrawing from the sugar, eat all you need of proteins and totally whole grains.  Then you can back off once the withdrawal of feeling wretched is over.  The result can be astounding.  This is hard science people - not fad - not supposition.  Initially I would have everyone (hypoglycemics) also be off of white flour, pasta and potatoes, and easy on fruit which also can trigger a too-sensitive pancreas.  Once the blood sugar is stabilized (a week or so) you add in the more high-glycemic  carbs (whole grains are better) and fruit slowly and see how they affect you.

Some severe hypoglycemics have to be very careful even with fruit.

Great snacks are nuts, cheese, a bit of chicken breast, etc.  Just stay away from the sugar.  I am speaking to those with the reactions to sugar that we are speaking about.  It's a great way to eat anyway, but I am not preaching diet here.  Diet is as dangerous as politics and religion, lol.

Tj - Are we on the same page?  Rena?

Momma Quix

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Wow!  I never realized how serious this can be!  Thank you to you both, Quix and fibrotj!  I called the dr. office today and my lying gp is going on vacation for two weeks and I can't get in to see anyone else until March 10th.  Do you think it is safe to leave things for this long?  I am doing ok today so far and hopefully I won't have another attack like the other day any time soon.  

I am not sure what you mean by lower glycemic carbs either...I realize that stopping sugar is important and I have cut way back on sugar intake by using Splenda instead, that is why I am so confused as to why I am feeling this way all of a sudden.  

I have never been one to eat breakfast and although I know it was not good for me there have been many days when I don't eat lunch either.  I have in the last two weeks eaten a bowl of cereal for breakfast every morning and now I know that wasn't the way to go.  I have also ensured that I eat lunch every day and a small meal at supper.  This really stinks if I am finally trying to be a good girl and this is what it gets me eh?  hehe

I have been eating Golden Delicious apples, one every day and if I don't have one I have been eating seedless green grapes or pineapple which is something new in my diet too.  I have never been big on fruit but figured that it was better for me than not eating anything...hmmm...maybe not eh?

I don't know where to go from here really...cut out sugar for three days, protein and whole grains...but what foods exactly would you recommend?  I eat whole grain bread but if I am to avoid flour...Protein...you mean meat and peanut butter and eggs???

I sure could use some more help...I don't know when I should see the dr. about this or if it is that much of an emergency...can you help me here??  Thanks so much to both of you!

Hugs,
Rena
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there's good advice here -www.endocrineweb.com/diabetes/treatment.html or just enter diabetic diet on google and follow any of the non-commercial links.  There is tons of free information to help you get off the sugar and lower your carbs.

For me the carbs spike my glucose faster than sugar does. A piece of thick crust pizze is worse than an ice cream sundae.   I've been eating more sugar lately and feel the difference in my energy level and I don't mean in a good way.

Unsweetened, please!
Laura
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Thanks for the advice my dear!  I am really lost with all of this...can use any help that is offered!  I am not sure what is "spiking me" but I know I don't like it!  I will let you know how I am making out and thanks again for the help!

Hugs,
Rena
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Rena, I want you to do a search on The Glycemic Index and give yourself a little education.  The Index lists foods in the order that they cause your blood sugar to go up the fastest.  At the top are sugar and processed flour.  As you go down you get into the more natural, less processed food, vegetables and fiber foods.  For hypoglycemics, you need to understand this concept.  

What is a carbohydrate?

There are three categories of food in the world.  These are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

A carbohydrate is derived from plants.  They are based on the element carbon (carbo) and water (hydrate= hydrogen and oxygen).  When you look on a package's nutritional information you see how many grams of fats of different kinds, grams of protein and grams of carbohydrate are in that food.  They determine the number of grams of carb in a type of food by burning it and assaying how much carbon is left and how much water is released.

The simplest form of carbohydrate is sugar, but processed flour and other grains are close to it.  When you eat the body turns all carbohydrates into blood sugar.  Sugar is the same as glucose in the blood.  Actually glucose in the simplest form of sugar.  Other sugars are a tiny bit more complicated like fructose, lactose, etc.  When you see a chemical with the ending of -ose on it you are dealing with a form of sugar.

In the pancreas is an area that monitors the blood glucose level.   When a sugar load is eaten the pancreas releases insulin to deal with it by delivering it to the individual cells of the body to use as fuel.  If there is more glucose hanging around than is needed by the cells the insulin does it's secondary job, helping to transform the sugar into fat for storage in case there is a shortage later.  If you consistently eat more than the body needs at the time you start getting fat.  Thank you, insulin.

Not all carbohydrates affect insulin equally.  Sugar and other readily absorbable carbs cause an immediate spike in insulin.  As I said above, in hypoglycemics, the insulin mechanism overreacts and too much is released.  The blood sugar falls too low, too fast and stays there too long.  This causes the hypoglycemic reaction as the body goes into a stressed mode.  Cells of the body need a steady supply of blood glucose, especially the brain.  When it is too low all h*ll breaks loose and you get the symptoms we have been talking about.

Most people discover that they can stop a reaction very early by using sugar.  The problem is that this perpetuates the exagerated rise and fall of the blood sugar and keeps the vicious cycle going.  

Why not use sugar?  Afterall, diabetics are told to eat a pice of candy or drink a glass of orange juice when their sugar gets too low.  There is a BIG difference.  Diabetics don't have a proper insulin mechanism.  Either they don't produce enough insulin (Type I) or their bodies are resistant to the action of the insulin they do mak (Type II).  So what works for a diabetic can a hypoglycemic more sick.

The goal, when you have hypoglycemia is to keep the blood sugar stable and avoid the spikes which result in the dangerous and miserable lows.

The solution is to eat more frequently and include other foods than sugar and processed grains that do not cause bigtime production of insulin.  This is where the Glycemic Index comes in. (also called the Glycemic Scale or Ladder).  The first thing you do is eject the sugar and other high glycemic foods from your diet.  This is things like white bread, pasta, pizza crust, bakery goods, rolls, ---- and such.  Replace those with lower glycemic carbs, proteins and a little more healthy fats.  These are converted to blood glucose slower and do not affect the insulin production as much.  The carbohydrates you want are those that are more complex.

Complex carbohydrates (often called starches) are like those in whole grains - realizing that these are still higher on the scale than others, legumes (beans, lentils, etc), tomatoes, onions, squash, and other vegetables.  Only whole grain rice with bran is lower on the scale.  Porcessed white rice is still a readily absorbed carbohydrate.  Whole brown rice is much lower.  Things with fiber are are often great choices.  Fiber is a carbohydrate that is not absorbed and is passed in the stool retty much unchanged.  Think of it this way.  A pinecone is a plant.  It is also a carbohydrate and pure fiber.  If you eat a pinecone you will poop a pinecone.  :((

Fruit - always the perfect food, yes?  Not necessarily.  If you are a hypoglycemic even fruit can do you dirt, especially if you have uncontrolled hypoglycemia.  The fruits that are lowest on the glycemic scale are the berries - blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.  Some fruits are pure sugar and are fruits by definition of the way they grow and not by how healthy they are.  Some fruits are pure sugar and are fruits by definition of the way they grow and not by how healthy they are.  (I repeated that for emphasis, because not all things that are natural are healthy for everyone).

After stabilizing their blood sugars for a while, many hypoglycemics will be able to add in most real foods (not sugar or processed grains).  The length of time need to return their insulin production toward normal varies from weeks to months or years.  A severe hypoglycemic may be controllable with diet, but may never be able to enjoy sugars without paying a price.  My dad is one of the severe ones.  If he goes on a toot of eating candy and pastries, he slowly gets foggy and unclear in the head, and starts sleeping every day away.

What I have seen is that when a hypoglycemic gets clear of the sugar/poison they feel soooo much better that they aren't as tempted by the processed carbohydrates again.

What to do about the inevitable crashes, especially early in the process when your insulin production is still way out of control?  A bite (one) of candy is okay, but also eat something lower on the glycemic scale to give you a longer, more drawn out rise in your blood sugar - like a handful of berries and an ounce of cheese, some nuts, or a piece of meat

The crashes can almost be completely eliminated by eating 6 little meals a day - each containing some protein and a low glycemic carb - whole grains or vegetables.  Don't forget healthy fats.  

During the first week, but especially the first three days, you may have a horrible craving for sweets.  If the snacks don't take care of it, then choose a fruit that is low on the scale or several whole-grain crackers like Triscuit or SunCrisps, or some apple.

Hypoglycemia is dangerous in that you could faint while driving or climbing stairs.  Our brains are diseased enough without depriving them of their needed fuel, even for an hour.  You will feel better.  Rena, you will feel less confused, lol.

Go look at some sites dedicated to the glycemic scale and or a low-glycemic diet.  It will all begin to make sense to you.  The ultimate goal is to stop pumping out insulin like you were trying to put out a fire.  A side benefit for many eating this way is losing weight.

Whew!

Quix
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WOW...YOU ARE THOROUGH MY DEAR!!  Thanks so much for all this information...it makes it all a lot clearer and I now know not to eat any pinecones!  hehe  I would also like to "thank" the insulin as well for turning my sugar into fat...dirty bugger!  I will look into the Glycemic Index and glean some information from that as to what I shouldn't be eating.  Then I will head to the store and get some of the foods that I should be eating versus the ones I shouldn't and I should start to feel better.  I am also very tuned into this because like you said, "a side benefit to eating this way is losing weight"!  I have been wanting to start a diet but really didn't know where to begin.

Thanks sooo much for all the time you put into this post Quix...I really do appreciate it and at least now I have somewhere to start while I am waiting to get some blood testing done...hey maybe if I behave and follow your instructions I won't have to get a blood test cause I will feel better...sounds a whole lot better than getting stabbed by a phlebotomist doesn't it?

Thanks again Quix!

Lots of Hugs,
Rena
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Quix, i'm in the middle of a flare, so if this is greek i apolgize becuase my minds likie dry concrete but i was diagnosed with low blood sugar years ago and sent on my merry way... and one of my labs just came back to say that I know have high blood sugar, which has scared me. i've controled my hypogyclemia by eating sugar becuase no one ever told me how to control is any onther way. I have gastroparesis so i can't eat fiber, and i have allergies so other stuff is out like nuts and that diet you mentioned looks so hard becuase the only things that digest for me are potatoes, rice, whit flour stuff and i don't want to have a tube put in my tummy. I'm already thin, i can't loose anymore weight but I go through the day on a vicious cycle of up and down on sugar crashes. i'm used to this but i know it's not good, i eat 5-6 small meals a day and juice, candy, fruit bars and anything inbetween if i start to lose it.

example: breakfast was rice chex and two cookies, and lunch was chicken, pasta and peas and sweet tea. I'll have to eat soon again, or drink Ensure.

.Please, what do I do? I've tried to read everything you wrote here. It makes snse but it all bounced around in my head. If I were to get off of sugar completely how would i control it? i hope this makes any sense.
~Sunnytoday~
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ST, the point Quix is making with the hypoglycemic's  use of sugar is it puts your insulin production on a roller coaster and never gives your body a chance to equalize at a normal spot.  You want to eat the foods that don't cause these glucose levels spike - either high or low.  My mom bounces all over with her glucose - 35 to 140 in a day's time often.  Once you find the diet that your body reacts to you will feel so much healthier.  Some of it is so simple but other parts are complex and you have to make a concerted effort to understand it before you can eat right to solve the problem.

you're sweet enough,
Lulu
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yeah,  i know i'm on a rollercoaster and my foods are causing it to go up and down, i just don't know how to get off of it. Perhaps a nutrionist would be the thing to go to try to get a balance between my gastropareis, IBS, allergies, and blood sugar problems. So far my way has been eat sugar to keep around 100 pounds and if i get to feeling like i'm goin to pass out so i drink juice or eat candy. Reading this post helped me understand that i need to even it out if at all possible. Not sure how i'm going to yet though, i'll ask mom to read this and hlep me apply it to me.

i'm glad you think i'm sweet enough.
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Hi there, I have a great cookbook that explains the glycemic index, lists foods and their glycemic index rating; they call it the G-Force.

The cookbook is The Healthiest Diet In The World by Nikkin & David Goldbeck.  I found it on clearance, so you may be able to find a copy of it online at a low price.  I've enjoyed a lot of the recipes, and have learned a lot from all the informative pages it contains.

One thing that brought it to mind was your mention of artificial sweeteners.  Quix can probably tell us if there is any scientific research to back this up, but let me copy down something that this cookbook says about them:

"Artificial sweeteners, including saccharine, cyclamates, and aspartame, don't turn into glucose and therefore don't raise blood sugar levels.  Because of this many people assume they can only help with weight control.

If you look back on our discussion .... you may perceive how these sweeteners could actually stimulate weight gain.  Remember, when the brain anticipates food, and sweet food in particular, it sends out signals that arouse insulan even before glucose gets to the bloodstream

Since the brain can't detect the absence of calories, insulin is released even if there is no work for it to do (i.e., there is no glucose released for it to escort into the cells).  As long as this uncalled-for insulin remains in circulation, the effectos of hyperinsulinemia, including fat storage and retention, are set in motion.

Moreover, this unsatisfied expectation of calories may manipulate the brain in a way that stimulates hunger.  This effect has been demonstrated in experiments on animals".

Of course, this book was published in 1998, so I'm sure a lot more research has been done since then.  

Since I had my tummy troubles, I've found it difficult to eat breakfast and sometimes lunch.  I have found that I feel better if I do eat, even if my tummy bloats a little.

My favorite breakfasts are a slice of toast with fresh-ground almond butter (no sugar or weird fats added), or a bowl of Natures Path organic pumpkin flaxseed granola with unsweetened almond milk on it.  Oh, or home-cooked old-fashioned oats with some natural no-sugar added applesauce mixed in.  

When looking for low glycemic foods, such as whole grain bread, look for whole wheat flour as the first ingredient.  Avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup.  A lot of bread includes sugar of some sort; choose one that lists it way down on the list of ingredients, and is something like honey,.molasses, or plain sugar.  They all do the same dance with the blood sugar, but at least honey and molasses have traces of nutrients and are often less processed than other sweeteners.

When I consume things with some sweetener in them, I try to balance it with fiber and protein, to slow the jolt of sugar into my bloodstream.

Funny, I don't have hypoglycemia or any sign of diabetes; I just started eating this way to improve my health.

When my tummy acted up, I had to eat white bread, rice, bananas, and applesauce, which just about drove me crazy.  What I'm saying is that when you get through changing your eating habits, it feels like the normal and desired way to eat.  

Not to say I don't want a big cookie now and then; I try to select one with oats and walnuts,  going for the healthiest of the bunch.

When you think of whole grains, think of things like barley; it not only has a low glycemic index, it can also increase your feeling of fullness.  I make a really yummy chicken veggie barley soup; let me know if you would like the recipe.

I want you feeling well and happy, my friend.  Take good care of you, and accept a hug from someone down here in the balmy 50 degree rain.  

Many hugs,

Kathy


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I would love to have that recipe Kathy my dear and thanks for all the information!  I will look for that recipe book for sure.

I think this is going to be rather difficult for me though because I still have to cook a decent meal for hubby who works 12 hours shifts and needs good meals.  I suppose it wouldn't hurt for him to lose a few pounds too but it will be a bigger adjustment for him.  First of all I need to get my ducks in a row and figure all this out and then I can get started and I still need to have my blood tested by the doctor I guess.  

As usual the MS Forum and all the wonderful people here have come through for me again and I really do appreciate it.  Kudos to all of you and your thoughfulness and trouble you took to type all this information out for me...I love ya all!

Lots of hUgs,

Rena
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We all have different dietary needs, but one of them is NOT sugar - ever!  You may find that you need more starches.  Just eat as low on the glycemic (glyco=sugar, emic=of the blood) scale as possible.

Sunny - Sugar load cause the stomach to empty more slowly.  You may be exxacerbating your gastroparesis by eating so much sugar.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about artificial sugars.  Most of it is false.  Here is what has been proven:

Look to the explanation above about how artificial sweetners fool the body.

Aspartame - mimicks sugar not only on the taste buds, but in the body.  Beyond the expectation of sweetness Aspartame does even more.  Though it doesn't cause a rise in blood sugar, the body thinks it does and increases the production of insulin.  In the healthy dieter, this lowers the blood sugar faster and they get hungry sooner.  Even within a few years of aspartame hitting the market in the (?'80's?) diet docs noticed a "rebound hunger" after eating things sweetened with aspartame.  So aspartame sabotauges any diet.  This effect was seen only minimally with the other articficial sweetners.  Last time I looked it had not been seen with sucralose.

There is a natural plant derived sweetner that has been available for years in health food stores, called Stevia.  It is now on the market in the US as Utrivia or something like that.  I think this does not mimic sugar.

High fructose corn syrup has a very special adverse reaction.  It basically blocks the hormone that is sent to the brain to signal we have eaten enough.  People who take in a lot of HFCS stay hungrier and eat more.

Quix

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Quix thanks for all the great info.

well. here goes. wish me luck. i'll try to go a week of a lot less sugar. not that i'll completely succeed but i'll at least eat a good breakfast instead of cereal & cookies, a good lunch etc. I'm gonna need all the good luck wishes i can get becuase after about three days i go crazy for sugar, and feel pukey. I'm gonna have to figure out a middle ground within with my crazy diet restrictions that will let me retain my weight.. I can't eat high fat due to gallbladder sugery so if you cut out fat and sugar, you get thin. :).. any suggestions? msg. me!
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Silly rabbit!  there are LOTS of foods besides sugar and fat.  Lower glycemic carbs like whole grains and veggies, cheeses, nuts, and protein.  I wasn't suggesting high fat, but a teaspoon of olive oil and such are necessary for your health.

Yes, after about three days you feel pukey for some more sugar, but a little longer and you will stop the cravings.

Have you ever been evaluated by an endocrinologist?

Quix
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I was diagnosed in my mid 20's, yes, a LONG time ago, lol,  with hypoglycemia. Then with my first pregnancy I had gestational diabetes. Then 4 years ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  For lo those 40 years, I never followed the right diet. For the past year I have followed a modified Atkins diet, have lost 40+lbs, and now do not have to take the oral diabetes medication. I'm one of those who can't add much fruit at all, without spiking my blood sugar. Oh well, good thing I love steak, lobster, pork, and nuts and cheese.  Rena and Sunny, after a week or so, you won't feel the desire for sugar any more.  This doesn't mean you can't ever have a piece of german chocolate cake, or Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ever again. It just has to be  very very seldom. I promise after awhile you really won't miss them. I have found it's like any addiction. After the first week or so, it's more mental than physical. This from the woman who still hasn't quit smoking. Good luck, it can be done.
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I started out my 30's with hypoglycemia.  As I approached my forties, I began to show spikes in my blood glucose readings.  The doctor I had in my 30's, told me that I would probably develop full blown diabetes in my 40's, expecially if I didn't keep my weight down.  Eating sugar does NOT cause diabetes.

Family history and a large weight increase are two of the biggest causes.  BUT even the skinniest people I have known have had diabetes.  If you notice a sudden decrease in weight and I mean I lost 30 pounds without even trying, this is a cause to look into your blood sugar readings.

On my 40th birthday, I was told that I was a full blown diabetic, that could not control my glucose through diet.  So I started on medication.  By the time I got into my late 40's and my weight was up to 300+ pounds, I was an insulin diabetic.  I remember that the insulin syringe went from only 5 up to 42 units of insulin.  I finally started to get a grip and as you know, I lost 125 pounds (naturally)

I was able to give up the pill and the insulin.  Thank the good Lord.  Signs of hypoglycemia for me, are shakiness, confusion, mild shaking, breathlessness and feeling faint.  One bite of candy or drink of orange juice returns me to "normal" quickly.  Without testing my blood sugar, I know this was a hypo attack.

The best advice I can offer you, is go to the drug store and purchase a glucose monito and strips.  As the pharmacy all the supplies you will need to test your blood sugar.  I don't know if the same units of measure we use in the U.S. is the same units you will use in Canada.  This will be explained by the pharmacy.

If I keep my fasting blood sugars around 85-90, I feel well.  If my blood sugar drops to the 60's or below, I feel terrible.  Take your blood sugar reading about 2 hours after eating a regular meal.  It shouldn't be any higher than the 120's.  Test your sugar at night before you go to bed and first thing in the morning before you eat.  This will all give you an idea what is going on with your blood sugar until you can get to a doctor.  Keep a chart of what your readings are, to show the doctor, including what you ate and what time you took your reading.

You do NOT have to remove all sugar from your diet.  Its the carbs that you must watch out for.  Anything with starch in it, pasta, breads, cereals, etc. are full of carbs.  And if you are soft drink, drinker, I say throw those dern things away.  That's like drinking a cup of sugar raw.

Pre-diabetic's do NOT have to turn into full blown diabetics.  You can control your sugars with a careful diet with exercise.  Heavy sweating or heavy exercise should be avoided until you learn how to balance your blood sugar.  The sweating and exercise can lower your blood sugar quickly, if you don't keep your body fueled.

My Primary Care doctor also told me that when you drink a diet soda, that brain "thinks" that since it tastes sweet, it IS sweet, so your pancreas starts pouring out the insulin.  More than your body can use as fuel.  So be careful of those, if you don't have anything else in your stomach.

What you descirbe may or may not be the start of diabetes.  It's best to catch it early if you can, because it can be controlled.  It IS consider an silent killer, just like blood pressure, if you don't keep a check on it.  Diabetes can cause all kinds of damage to your blood vessels, and eventually your kidneys and heart.  Let's not forget your ability to heal properly and the damage that can be done to the eyes.  Diabetes is serious stuff.

Get a meter until you can get in to see a doctor.

Huggie Wuggies,
Heather
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Forgive all the typos...there are many
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I so appreciate all of the information that you have provided regarding this horrible thing I am going through right now.  Hubby is taking me to get a glucometer today and I will start recording what I find.  I have started a chart containing the date, what I eat for each meal and what time I eat it and an explanation of any of these "episodes" I have been having pretty much daily and what time they happen and what I am doing at the time and what I do to help myself.  

Yesterday I had a bad one and just barely made it to the fridge for some orange juice.  It helped but I also had an apple and it seems to help more.  I start to sweat profusely, I get shaky and weak and feel terribly lightheaded.  Afterwards I am so exhausted I can't keep my eyes open just like it is some mornings about 15 minutes after I get out of bed and can sleep for 3-4 more hours after having a full night's sleep!  Once I have tested my blood I will let you know the results and see what you think ok?  I am really hating this ya know?  I really thought that I had enough on my plate for one person!  However, I have to say that I haven't had the icepick in my head for a few days now so the steroids must have done their job for now.

Again, thank you all so much for all your help...you all know what kind of gp I have and it is laughable at times but when something like this comes along and she is knocking it up to "hormones" it seriously worries me!  I will keep you updated as to what the story is in the continuing saga of "What part of Rena's body will fall apart next?"  hehe

Lots of Hugs,
Rena
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Shucks, I just remembered that steroids can throw your blood sugar off; I don't know for how long after you take them.  Maybe these really bad episodes are temporary.

Of course, it's still necessary to do the glucometer and charting and all that.  I'm just kind of thinking out loud.

Hey, I've got a saga like that going on, too, but mine is less interesting than yours; maybe you can become rich and famous after you sell your autobiographical medical suspense story!

Warm thoughts and hugs,

Kathy
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Perhaps if we combined our stories...you could add in the backdrops from all the trips you have been on...I would like to have had hypoglycemia in HAWAII!!!  hehe

I don't know how long the steroids can affect blood sugar but the nurse at the neuro's office said they stay in your system for about 10 days.  Perhaps I should call them and see what they have to say about it...or I will look it up first on my own cause I generally get a faster answer that way!  hehe

I hope these episodes are temporary but I have a feeling that they are not...I don't do things the easy way remember?   ha ha  It's all or nuttin for me!

Lots of Hugs,
Rena
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I think we are mostly saying the same things, but using different words.

With regard to what it means to be "hypoglycemic" we know that it is a dysrgulation of the production of insulin.  Too much is produced and it causes the blood sugar to fall too low and the result are episodes like Rena has.  It is always a precursor to diabetes?  No, it sometimes is its own problem.

When the insulin production is way out of control do you have to remove ALL sugars frim the diet temporarily?  I say yes, you do, and you should also control/remove all of the processed starches.  The treatment for the hypoglycemic problem is NOT the same as though you were treating diabetes, gestational diabetes, or steroid induced glucose intolerance.  As I explained above sugars and processed starches are all carbohydrates, the things you need to be careful of.  Sugar is at the top of the carbohydrate list that causes the hypoglycemic blood sugar problems.

Yes, Rena, the recent steroids can play havoc with your handling of the sugars and starches in your diet and then is a good time to tow the line.

Yes, steroids are 98% gone from the body in 7 to 10 days, but their effects may last longer.  Each person is different.  Some people may take a few weeks to recover from exacerbations of their diabetes, for instance.

Heather - haven't you said before that a course of steroids causes you to need to step up meds for your diabetes?

Quix
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Is replacing pasta with whole grain pasta a good idea, or should one avoid pasta all together?  I'm wondering if Rena's hubby could be happy with some slightly adjusted forms of the same foods.  

I don't know what kinds of food he likes to eat, but you might be able  to cook what he likes, plus something for you, say to replace a baked potato if he's a meat and potatoes kind of guy.  

Just more thoughts.  

Kathy
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ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION...

You said....Heather - haven't you said before that a course of steroids causes you to need to step up meds for your diabetes?.....

When I had my first round of Solumedrol, I had never taken insulin in my life.  My blood glucose readings went into the high 400's, so I had to take insulin for my 3 day infusions; for the first time in my life.  Solumedrol also affects my blood pressure and consequently my heart rate.  Steroids and I do not get along, but will use them if I am having a bout of ON.  My treatments are done under hospital supervision, so I can be put on a heart monitor and have my blood sugar checked every 15 minutes or so.  During the next weeks without without steroids, I will have to increase my blood pressure medication and use the diabetic pill to keep my levels under control.  

Considering the O.N. can cause such problems, Solumedrol is used very cautiously in someone like me.
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When you are having a hypogycemic crisis, you stick sugar in your mouth, just so you don't wind up on the floor unconscious.  

There are other things that you have mentioned in your posts that are in direct contridcation with what I was told at my diabetes clinic.  I am alittle tired tonight to pick through them.  I don't mean to step on your advice.  But there are a few things that my diabetes clinic told me to do if you find yourself out somewhere, where there is no food available.  Especially when you are alone and about ready to "see black," from passing out.

Heather
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Might I sugget this web page to get a better understanding of hypoglycemia?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypoglycemia
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Heather - yes, I mentioned above that the sugar should be reserved for emergencies and then followed by something that would smooth the rise and then fall of the sugar to prevent the rollarcoastering.  Typically it takes little sugar to save a low episode, but my conunsel was for the "diet" that one should follow to keep the sugar at a more even level.

Yes, this is different than is taught to diabetics for hypoglycemic episodes. It could well be in contradiction to what you have been told.  There are three very separate conditions.

1)  A Type one diabetic has either no insulin or insufficient insulin and CAN'T respond to the low sugar.  

2)  A Type II diabetic typically makes gobs of insulin that their body can't respond properly to.  They are insulin "resistant."   Their rising insulin can't bring the sugar down well at all.

3)  A hpoglycemic produces too much insulin (like the Type II) but DOES respond (an exaggerated response) to the insulin and drops the bottom out of their blood sugar.


This is what I say in one of my first posts above:

"What to do about the inevitable crashes, especially early in the process when your insulin production is still way out of control?  A bite (one) of candy is okay, but also eat something lower on the glycemic scale to give you a longer, more drawn out rise in your blood sugar - like a handful of berries and an ounce of cheese, some nuts, or a piece of meat."

I probably was too specific about limiting the sugar in an episode.  For the emergencies, which will still happen as you are stabilizing your up and down sugars you should only take enough sugar or other carbohydrate to break the attack and also, if at all possible, a bit later also take some more complex carbohydrates and some protein once the attack is over.  The natural instinct is to "overdo" the sugar at the time of a hypoglycemic attack - a handfull of candy or a whole milkshake.  This just perpetuates the whole cycle.

What I posted in my advice was NOT the advice I would give a diabetic.  And not all people with hypogycemia are headed toward diabetes.  This is a controversial point, but I know several hypoglycemics who have not progressed toward diabetes in many decades.

I still maintain that, for the hypoglycemic, the use of sugar in the diet should be completely restricted until they stop having episodes of low sugar, because they DO still make insulin and they DO still respond to it in an exaggerated way, whereas Type II diabetics do NOT have the exaggerated response.  The physiology is different between the two conditions.  A Type II diabetic will make the increased insulin, but cannot respond to it as well.  

I read the Wikipedia article on hypoglycemia, and the authors express doubt about the very existence of a "condition" of hypoglycemia as I discribed above.  I think I mentioned that.  My opinion on this is my opinion.  The article states that mostly hypoglycemia is a diabetic problem and it is one due to an error in treating the diabetes.  If it is occurring and is documented to be low in a healthy adult, then a search for a "true culprit" should be done.  There are several hormone deficiencies, tumors or other problems that can cause a person to have hypoglycemic episodes.  The article also agrees that the proper work up is a prolonged Glucose Tolerance Test - GTT.  Also that documenting the low glucose is critical.

Nothing in the article other than that contradicts what I said.  Carbohydrate is used to reverse the attack as I said in the beginning.  In order to treat this condition, they say that if the hypoglycemia is not severe - there is no unconscious nor seizure, then the person should "experiment with frequent meals and snacks of fat and protein and reduced sugar."  That's exactly waht I said.

For the actual reversal of an episode where the person is conscious and can feed themself the article says this:


"Reversing Acute Hypoglycemia

The blood glucose can be raised to normal within minutes by taking (or receiving) 10-20 grams of carbohydrate. It can be taken as food or drink if the person is conscious and able to swallow. This amount of carbohydrate is contained in about 3-4 ounces (100-120 ml) of orange, apple, or grape juice although fruit juices contain a higher proportion of fructose which is more slowly metabolized than pure dextrose, alternatively, about 4-5 ounces (120-150 ml) of regular (non-diet) soda may also work, as will about one slice of bread, about 4 crackers, or about 1 serving of most starchy foods. Starch is quickly digested to glucose (unless the person is taking acarbose), but adding fat or protein retards digestion."

Notice that they even state that simple starches will reverse hypoglycemia.  But, they also say that adding fat or protein slows the digestion.  In this case you would wait until the symptoms subsided and then eat the starch/protein/fat snack to give yourself some more fuel.  Also note that the article recommends only a small amount of juice (3 to 4 ounces) to reverse the attack.

Heather, you are correct that you have to be prepared to reverse an epsiode wherever you are and a small amount of candy is fine ( but crackers and other starches will be sufficient), but I still believe in the advice I gave - that sugar should not be a hypoglycemic's mainstay for "preventing' attacks.

This article was written by people who take a sneering view of hypoglycemia as a condtion relegating it to Alternative Medicine and the advice of health food stores.  I disagree with this.  But, I do believe that a person should have a workup to see if there is a reason they have  such unstable glood glucose.

To all:  I was apparently unclear.  To me a "diet" is what you eat as a matter of course.  It's what you "intend" to eat during the day.  Rejecting sugar from your "diet" is not the same as not being able to eat a piece of candy to quickly take care of a falling blood sugar.

Also - What I say is not dogma.  Not only was I not a neurologist, I was also not an Endocrinologist.  :))

Heather, please feel free to offer what you know about hypoglycemia in a non-diabetic.  We can put it all together into some advice for Rena, tj and Sunny.

Quix
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bump for Sunny - here's the hypoglycemic discussion :-)

Lu
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Just a thought...I am going for blood testing in about 1/2 hour and I just put together the possibility that my fainting when giving blood may be related to Hypoglycemia...am I waaayyy off track here or could I be on to something?  This just started happening in the last couple of years (since Feb. 2007) and I have to lie down now when they take blood to avoid going face first into the floor...I had never fainted prior to this in my life for any reason.  Any input on this would be appreciated!

Lots of Hugs,
Rena
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Hi,

Sorry if this has already been covered, I haven't gotten thru all of it...
Are MS and hypoglycaemia linked in any way?

Best, Zel
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What an amazing post, I too have had issues like this together with severe blaoting for many years. I recently consulted a Nutritional Therapist - not a cranky one as I call them - but one with real scientific / medical training and Awards to her name. This was her advice, which supports what Quix has been saying and has worked miracles for me.

Eating 3 times a day can add to the peaks so add in some small snacks mid morning, mid afternoon and evening and make sure they contain protein e.g. SMALL palmful of nuts (low fat like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts) with some fruit, 2 oatcakes with hummous or peanut butter or cottage cheese or similar. Change breakfast cereal for eggs or similar protein. Cut out all caffeine (not quite managed but down to only 3 cups a day) cut out all fizzy drinks.

Wow that scared me as I already struggle with my weight - but there has been no weight change - not even losing any :( . I have just stayed the same weight. I did not often eat chocolate or biscuits etc  but now I don't touch them at all except for special occasions.  

We already eat home-made wholegrain bread and olive oil, but I also increased my veg and fruit to much more than 5 a day.

I feel so much better and don't eat as much at meals as I am no longer 'starving' when it is meal time.  For many women grazing is a much better option and I knew this for years but it took a huge effort to change.

It has also made some difference to my fatigue levels and although I still get some severe spells when I know I am MSy the frequent shaky, sweaty, dizzy need for food has disappeared along with the bloating. I am now working with the therapist to see if I have any food allergies which are, not preventing, but adding to my inability to lose weight in spite of a very healthy diet.

Not sure if anything here helps but just thought I would share my experience.

Pat x
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