Why Does My Blood Sugar Drop After Eating
- Sluggish and shaky after finishing a big meal?
- Low blood sugar doesn’t only happen to diabetics
- Certain lifestyle factors can cause blood sugar to drop during the day
Hypoglycaemia is the term used to describe what happens when our blood sugar drops. It can cause weakness, hunger, sweating, heart palpitations, tremors or shakiness, fainting, dizziness, nausea, headache, and disturbed vision. It may become so severe that it causes mental symptoms like confusion.
While hypoglycaemia most often affects diabetics after a large dose of insulin, non-diabetics may also sometimes experience these symptoms, especially when the body secretes a large amount of insulin.
So, if youve ever felt shaky, sweaty and weak after a meal in the absence of diabetes, it may be reactive hypoglycaemia when blood sugar drops as a result of too much insulin.
Why can this happen?
When you are at work, this might be particularly unpleasant, especially when you need to focus on an important task.
However unpleasant, in most cases hypoglycaemia after a meal isnt life-threatening. It is the result of your body producing too much insulin after consuming a heavy, carb-laden meal. The extra insulin removes too much glucose from your bloodstream, resulting in the symptoms mentioned above.
Other, more serious causes of reactive hypoglycaemia include pancreatic tumours, alcohol, surgeries such as gastric bypass or ulcer treatment, or insulin resistance .
The Danger Of Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, can become a lot more dangerous more quickly. Hypoglycemia, if left untreated, can quickly result in diabetic coma and death.
Low blood sugars will not lead to permanent complications in most cases but cause frequent, short-term complications in the form of being physically unable to function when experiencing a low. They require fast-acting glucose as treatment.
Symptoms of low blood sugar can hit different people at different times, and some people may not feel their low blood sugars at all , which can be very dangerous.
Continuous glucose monitoring systems and diabetes alert dogs can help people detect their lows earlier, before they become extremely dangerous.
Hypo unawareness occurs in about 40% of people with type 1 diabetes, and less frequently in people with type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, one study showed that the average person with type 1 diabetes experiences two episodes of low blood sugar per week!
Low blood sugars can happen for many reasons, all of which result from too much insulin in the bloodstream and not enough glucose for the body to function properly.
Reasons can be anything from taking too much insulin for food, to accidentally over-bolusing with an insulin pump, to not finishing a meal, to drinking alcohol in excess, or even after physical exertion and exercise while not reducing basal insulin settings appropriately.
How To Treat Someone Who’s Having A Seizure Or Fit
Follow these steps if someone has a seizure or fit caused by a low blood sugar level:
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to have a seizure or fit.
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Preventing Low Blood Sugar
Although sweets will always raise your blood sugar and cause the dips that come with it to some degree, there are some things you can do to prevent from your blood sugar from getting too low. Dont eat sweets on an empty stomach. The sugar in sweet foods digests really quickly and if you eat sugary foods on an empty stomach, there is nothing there to slow down this digestive process. As a result, your blood sugar will spike and youre more likely to experience a blood sugar crash shortly after. Instead, eat sweets after a meal that is rich in protein and healthy fats. Dont overdo it. Its probably not surprising that the more sugar you eat, the higher your blood sugar levels get . If you want to eat something sweet, pay attention to portion sizes, use them as an occasional treat , and dont eat too much.
What Are The Treatments For Hypoglycemia
Make an appointment with an endocrinologist if you feel like youre having episodes of hypoglycemia, even if youre not diabetic. Theyll talk you through treatment strategies, including:
Adjusting your medications. You may need to change how often you take insulin or other medications, which medications youre on, how much you take, and when you take them.
Working with a registered dietitian on a personalized meal plan that stabilizes blood sugar levels. Theres no one-size-fits-all hypoglycemia diet, but a nutritionist can help you figure out a consistent meal plan tailored to you, and teach you how to count carbohydrate grams to go along with your health and routine.
Increasing and improving self-monitoring of your blood glucose levels. Knowing your blood glucose level throughout the daywhen you get up, before meals, and after meals etc.can help you keep it from getting too low.
Limiting consumption of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol interferes with the way your body metabolizes glucose. If you’re prone to hypoglycemia, consider decreasing how much alcohol you consume.
Glucose tablets . Make sure you always have glucose tablets on hand, whether at home, school, the office, or the gym. After taking the tablet, check your blood sugar. If its still low, take another tablet. If that doesnt help, check with your doctor.
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How Can I Prevent Insulin
- Check your blood sugar regularly.
- Know what causes low blood sugar.
- Eat at regular mealtimes. Do not delay or skip meals and do not eat partial meals.
- Take all medicines exactly as prescribed.
- Check your blood sugar more often when you are exercising more or eating less, or when you are sick, according to your healthcare provider’s recommendations.
- Keep your follow-up appointments with your provider.
Developed by RelayHealth.Published by RelayHealth.This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.Â© 2018 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.
Do I Need To Check If My Blood Sugar Level Is Normal
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, tracking your blood sugar regularly will help you understand how medication, food, and physical activity affect it. Checking your blood glucose level also gives you the chance to see when it’s rising and take action to correct it.
Others who may want to track their blood glucose regularly include people:
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What Causes A Low Blood Sugar Level
In people with diabetes, the main causes of a low blood sugar level are:
- the effects of medicine especially taking too much insulin, medicines called sulfonylureas , medicines called glinides , or some antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis C
- skipping or delaying a meal
- not eating enough carbohydrate foods in your last meal, such as bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes and fruit
- exercise, especially if it’s intense or unplanned
- drinking alcohol
Sometimes there’s no obvious reason why a low blood sugar level happens.
Very occasionally, it can happen in people who do not have diabetes.
Can Diabetes Be Reversed With Fasting
Fasting can be a practical way to lose weight because its fairly straightforward, but its not a mainstream treatment for type 2 diabetes. A very small study found therapeutic fasting going without food and drink with calories for a set amount of time can help reverse type 2 diabetes.
Which is more accurate fasting glucose or A1C?
Measurements of hemoglobin A1c more accurately identify persons at risk for clinical outcomes than the commonly used measurement of fasting glucose, according to a new study. HbA1c levels accurately predict future diabetes, and they better predict stroke, heart disease and all-cause mortality as well.
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What If Fasting Sugar Is Normal But Postprandial High
A high 2 hr pp blood sugar combined with a normal fasting blood sugar is a condition called pre-diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. No need to bother with a HbAiC. Look for associated atherothrombotic disease risk factors such as cigarette smoking, dyslipidemia, and hypertension and treat those.
How does fasting affect your blood sugar levels?
Fasting can definitely raise blood glucose. This is due to the effect of insulin falling and the rising counter-regulatory hormones including increased sympathetic tone, noradrenaline, cortisol and growth hormone, in addition to glucagon. These all have the effect of pushing glucose from liver storage into the blood.
Why does my blood sugar go down after eating?
It may be due to a phenomenon called reactive hypoglycemia. This refers to low levels of blood glucose that react to high levels. According to Mayo Clinic, it can occur within 4 hours of eating a meal.
Why Is My Blood Sugar Low After Eating
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Treating Low Blood Sugar
You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:
- Skip or delay a meal or snack
- Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
- Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates
Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:
- Weakness and/or fatigue
If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :
- Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
- Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
- If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.
Blood Sugar Levels Before And After Eating
Blood sugar levels in our bodies will fluctuate depending on various conditions and circumstances. Here are the different levels:
1. Normal Blood Sugar Levels After Eating
According to the American Diabetics Association, normal blood sugar levels after meals should be 70 mg/dl 140mg/dl.This should be the reading 2 hours after a meal. If the levels are lower than 70mg/dl, it might mean that you have hypoglycemia. If your blood sugar is slightly higher than 140mg/dl, it does not necessarily mean that you have diabetes. However, you might need to have an oral glucose tolerance test later on to determine the severity of your elevated post-meal blood sugar.
2. Normal Levels of Fasting Blood Sugar
This blood sugar level is taken first thing when you wake up before your first meal. A normal level of fasting blood sugar lies from 70mg/dl to 92mg/dl. This is also the blood sugar level for a normal person who has not eaten for the past few hours.
3. Normal Blood Sugar Level for Type 1 Diabetics
American Diabetes Association recommends that blood sugar targets should lie between the following:
Before eating your blood sugar should be:
- Adults: 90-130mg/dl
After 1 to 2 hours after meals, your blood sugar should be:
- Adults: less than 180mg/dl
When going to bed, your blood sugar should be:
- Adults: 90-150mg/dl
4. Normal Blood Sugar Level for Type 2 Diabetics
American Diabetes Association recommends the following blood sugar targets for people with type 2 diabetes:
- Adults: 70-130mg/dl
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Things To Know About Hypoglycemia Unawareness
Sometimes hypoglycemia may even occur in your sleep, causing nightmares and sweating. Previous research published in Diabetes Care has also indicated that people with type 1 diabetes may have an increased risk of hypoglycemic-related cardiac arrest during sleep.
For people with type 2 diabetes, its possible to experience hypoglycemia after eating a large, carbohydrate-heavy meal due to higher levels of insulin circulating in the body, Dodell adds.
Your risk for hypoglycemia depends on your health and how well youre managing your blood sugar.
Aside from any possible diabetes medication side effects, the Mayo Clinic notes that your blood sugar levels may decrease as a result of:
What Causes Low Blood Glucose In People With Diabetes
Low blood glucose levels can be a side effect of insulin or some other medicines that help your pancreas release insulin into your blood. Taking these can lower your blood glucose level.
Two types of diabetes pills can cause low blood glucose
- sulfonylureas, usually taken once or twice per day, which increase insulin over several hours
- meglitinides, taken before meals to promote a short-term increase in insulin
The following may also lower your blood glucose level
What If Im Experiencing Hypoglycemic Episodes Even Though My Doctor Has Confirmed That I Dont Have Diabetes Or Prediabetes
If you have low blood sugar and dont have diabetes or , it can be a sign of another serious health issue such as a tumor, hormone deficiency, kidney disorder, anorexia, or other eating disorder, all of which can cause dangerously low blood sugar.
Anorexia has an extremely high mortality rate compared with other psychiatric disorders, according to the NIHs National Institute of Mental Health , and the cause of death can be hypoglycemia. So take your illness seriously and seek help if you suspect your eating disorder may be progressing to the point where it is causing you to faint or experience other signs and symptoms of dangerously low blood sugar. The National Eating Disorders Association has resources on how to identify the signs that you may have an eating disorder, a hotline for help, as well as easily accessible information on everything from how to know when you need help to how to find quality treatment options in your zip code.
People who are not diabetic don’t spontaneously have hypoglycemia for no reason, explains Dr. Christofides. Its often an indication of another underlying issue, such as a hormone deficiency or eating disorder, so its important to schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause in order to prevent complications.
Common causes of hypoglycemia in people without diabetes include:
Anorexia and other eating disorders
Treating An Episode Of Hypoglycaemia
The immediate treatment for hypoglycaemia is to have some sugary food or drink to end the attack.
For example, this could be:
- a glass of fruit juice or non-diet soft drink
- between three and five dextrose tablets
- a handful of sweets
At first you should avoid fatty foods and drinks, such as chocolate and milk, because they don’t usually contain as much sugar and the sugar they do contain may be absorbed more slowly.
After having something sugary, you should have a longer-acting carbohydrate food, such as a few biscuits, a cereal bar, a piece of fruit or a sandwich.
It will usually take around 15 minutes to recover from a mild episode of hypoglycaemia. If you have a blood glucose meter, measure your blood sugar again after 15 to 20 minutes. If it’s still too low , you should have some more sugary food or a drink before testing your levels again in another 15 to 20 minutes.
When treating someone else with hypoglycaemia, if the above treatment isn’t effective, you may be able to help them by applying glucose gel to the inside of their cheeks, and gently massaging the outside of their cheeks.
It may take 10 to 15 minutes before they feel better. This shouldn’t be done if the person is drowsy or unconscious because of the risk of choking.
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What Can Cause Low Blood Sugar Levels
Some things that can make low blood sugar levels more likely are:
- skipping meals and snacks
- not eating enough food during a meal or snack
- exercising longer or harder than usual without eating some extra food
- getting too much insulin
- not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise
Also, some things may increase how quickly insulin gets absorbed into the bloodstream and can make hypoglycemia more likely. These include:
- taking a hot shower or bath right after having an insulin injection increases blood flow through the blood vessels in the skin, which can make the insulin be absorbed more quickly than usual
- injecting the shot into a muscle instead of the fatty layer under the skin
- injecting the insulin into a part of the body used a lot in a particular sport .
All of these situations increase the chances that a person may get hypoglycemia.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
- Difficulty speaking
- Muscle weakness
If you are experiencing an extremely low blood sugar, which is anything less than 40 mg/dL, that is not responding to fast-acting glucose or glucagon, and you have taken fast-acting insulin within the previous 2 hours, call 911 and seek immediate emergency medical attention.
This condition can be life-threatening if not treated.
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What Is Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose, also called low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below what is healthy for you. For many people with diabetes, this means a blood glucose reading lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter .1 Your number might be different, so check with your doctor or health care team to find out what blood glucose level is low for you.