What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia can be something that happens to people at some point during their lives. There are natural and nutritional solutions to prevent its occurrence. Hypoglycemia is defined as being abnormally low blood sugar (glucose). Without enough glucose, the brain functioning of the affected patient could become increasingly impaired. This situation is called “neuroglycopenia”. As a result of the increased difficulty in brain function, a person suffering from hypoglycemia can feel “dysphoria” or even have “seizures, unconsciousness…(or) brain damage or death”.
Typically, people who are diabetic and those who are taking insulin or other glucose-regulating medications will be the ones who are most at risk to experience hypoglycemia. It is important to note that even patients who are not diabetic can suffer a bout of this condition. Excessive levels of insulin, metabolism problems, some poisons or medications, hormone issues, alcohol, starvation, infection, and organ failure can cause hypoglycemia. The consumption of carbohydrates or dextrose-rich foods is usually an effective solution to treat the blood glucose deficiency; however, serious cases may require an injection of glucagon.1 Hypoglycemia’s disturbing symptoms of shakiness, nervousness, light-headedness/fainting, anxiety, confusion, nausea, weakness, etc. can come on suddenly, but they can also be almost just as quickly resolved.2
Diabetics should have their medications and reactions reviewed regularly by their primary care physician. If the scheduling of medications or amounts are off-kilter, or if the patient begins to experience any adverse reactions or known dangerous side effects, the patient and doctor can work together to make sure the right medications and proper doses are taken at the correct time, according to the patient’s lifestyle. If patients exercise a lot, or need alterations in following a healthy meal plan, they can work with their doctors to make sure that they are getting enough meals, snacks, and appropriate medication dosages for their activity level.
Alcohol is responsible for cases of hypoglycemia even in patients who do not also have diabetes. The alcoholic beverages are especially dangerous when a person drinks on an empty stomach or drinks heavily. For those on insulin or diabetic medications, alcohol use must be considered carefully. And it should always be consumed with food. Diabetics should carry glucose tablets or gel, or have fruit juice or hard candy available, in case a bout hypoglycemia occurs.3
There are homeopathic and herbal supplements available to naturally prevent hypoglycemia or restore balance to blood sugar levels. Some home remedies may include gudmar (an Ayurvedic herb), angostura bitters, artichoke leaf, or gentian root. To treat the body’s stress response, one might consider licorice root (in moderation) or astragalus. Wild yam and bilberry can regulate insulin. To support the liver and pancreas, a person may try dandelion root or milk thistle.
Nutrition and dietary prevention are the keys to overall health and balance. Its effects go beyond just managing blood sugar levels. Reducing refined sugars, alcohol, processed foods, saturated fats, and artificial coloring/flavoring can be beneficial. There are many natural sweeteners on the market. Examples are stevia, barley malt syrup, brown rice syrup, and molasses that can help the body avoid roller-coaster glucose levels.4 It is important, also, to focus on lean proteins and green vegetables. This will reduce “blood sugar volatility”. Some nutritional supplements can also assist the dietary changes. This includes fish oil, psyllium seed husks, cinnamon, ginger, kudzu, aloe vera, and green tea. They “control the tempo of glucose entry” and keep the blood in balance.5 Finally, various vitamins and minerals can also support good blood health, including C, E, B, chromium, and magnesium.6
Massage as Another Alternative Option
Massage therapy is another form of complementary and alternative care treatment which could help the patient naturally relieve the effects of hyperglycemia. Nonetheless, patients who are at risk of hypoglycemia should be careful when receiving a massage. It has been reported by some patients with diabetes that massage helped maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This is very likely due to the fact that massage is a great way to reduce stress and calm the body, making effective in treating high blood sugar. Massage also improves circulation, which also helps patients with too much sugar weighing down their blood improve the circulatory flow.7 Those whose cases of hypoglycemia occur during stress could find relief through Swedish massage and see a reduction in symptom incidences.
On the other hand, those who experience hypoglycemia as a result of a malignant pancreatic or adrenal gland tumor and cancer should consult with their doctor, as massage is usually inadvisable. Someone who is actively experiencing a hypoglycemic episode should not seek massage therapy.8 Patients who have recurring hypoglycemic episodes should bring juice or some other form of sustenance to raise their blood sugar levels should an episode start during a massage. Massage therapists should be warned of the condition and have their own emergency supply of blood sugar-raising foods or drinks to distribute to a patient (immediately upon stopping the massage) during an episode.9
2, 3 http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/hypoglycemia/
Learn more about diabetic complications.