Reactive hypoglycemia is a condition that more and more women are facing. Its treatment largely depends on a proper diet, our lifestyle hygiene, and changing eating habits. What types of hypoglycemia do we distinguish, and what are its symptoms? Let’s delve into the text!
Reactive Hypoglycemia – Types
We distinguish three types of hypoglycemia:
- Postprandial reactive hypoglycemia – occurs after bariatric surgeries, such as gastric operations, e.g., resection (removal) of part or all of the stomach. In such cases, hypoglycemia appears as early as 30 minutes after a meal. The drops are significant enough that the glucose tolerance test is not performed here because the patient may complain of feeling unwell during and after the test.
- Early-stage Type 2 diabetes hypoglycemia – a result of poor pancreatic function. Appears 3 – 5 hours after a meal.
- Idiopathic reactive hypoglycemia – affects healthy individuals. It results from pancreatic function disorders. Appears between 2 to 5 hours after meal consumption. This type of hypoglycemia may occur in women with insulin resistance. Treating hypoglycemia with insulin resistance can be very difficult.
Postprandial Idiopathic Hypoglycemia – Who is Most Affected?
We can assume that hypoglycemia mainly occurs in slender or slightly overweight women after episodes of sudden weight loss, typically in the age range of 20 – 40 years. However, this is not a rule. This condition often occurs in overworked women.
- hand tremors, sweating, palpitations,
- numbness of limbs,
- feeling hungry,
- weakness, drowsiness, fatigue,
- vision disturbances, spots,
- memory and concentration impairments.
It’s worth noting that symptoms can worsen after heavy meals rich in simple carbohydrates or after a long break between meals. Typically, they do not occur at night. When experiencing the first symptoms of hypoglycemia, eating something sweet can be helpful.
Diagnosis of Postprandial Idiopathic Hypoglycemia
The most reliable result will come from a 5-hour sugar curve test. Between the second and fifth hours, the most significant sugar drop may occur. Therefore, this test is performed under hospital conditions – during hospitalization. During this time, we perform a glucose-insulin curve, known by patients as the sugar-insulin curve. This test will show us if, besides reactive hypoglycemia, the patient also has insulin resistance, for example.
Diagnosing whether the patient suffers from reactive hypoglycemia is obvious based on:
- glucose at 60 minutes of the OGTT test <70mg/dl, or
- glucose at 120 minutes of the OGTT test <70mg/dl.
The 2-hour sugar curve does not always show a decrease in glycemia below 70mg/dl. Still, when we observe a significant drop in glycemia after glucose administration (drinking), we can strongly suspect this condition. Here’s an example of such a curve:
- fasting glucose 99 mg/dl
- glucose at 60min 100mg/dl
- glucose at 120min 73mg/dl.