1. Hypoglycemia is a Condition Not a Disease: One of the most important things to remember when dealing with hypoglycemia is that it is a condition and not a disease. Hypoglycemia can result not only from diseases such as diabetes, immune deficiencies and candidiasis but from a number of behaviors such as prolonged fasting and exercise. It can be an unfortunate side effect of certain medications such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), salicylates (such as common aspirin) and quinine sulfates. However, the overwhelming cause of hypoglycemia is an imbalance between the amount of circulating glucose in the bloodstream and the production of insulin- when there is too much insulin and not enough glucose, hypoglycemia will result.
2. Understand Your Family Tree and Your Risk Factors: The old adage goes, “Choose your parents wisely.” And, when it comes to managing the risk factors for hypoglycemia, nothing could be closer to the truth. In addition to a number of factors that you CAN control, there are others that you can’t. For instance, hypoglycemia tends to affect women more than men, especially if they have a family history for diabetes or other metabolic disorders. You are also at higher risk if you are prone to chronic disorders such as liver diseases, pancreatitis, kidney diseases, thyroid disorders or adrenal insufficiencies. While there’s not much you can do about having predispositions to these diseases, it can help you to put your risks for developing hypoglycemia into perspective.
3. Diet’s Role in Preventing Hypoglycemia: If you’re a type 2 diabetic or just prone to large fluctuations in blood glucose, diet is probably the best way to manage your condition. Preventing hypoglycemia revolves around a balanced diet that is free from alcohol, refined and processed foods, white flour, soft drinks, grape and prune juice and saturated fats. Like most other “heart-healthy” diets, diabetics should follow a diet that is high in raw or steamed vegetables, low-fat proteins in cottage cheese, fish, raw nuts, skinless white turkey and low-fat yogurt. Try to limit the amount of starchy foods you eat, such as corn, noodles, pasta, yams and white rice.
4. Regular Exercise: Now comes the good news. If you enjoy regular physical activity such as walking, running or cycling, you’ll be happy to learn that aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to prevent your disease from getting worse. Studies have shown that regular physical activity increases the sensitivity of insulin that is important in regulating normal blood glucose levels. In fact, many people can successfully manage their diabetes through a combination of diet and exercise, eliminating the need to take oral medication or insulin injections. Before you begin an exercise program, it’s a good idea to speak with your health care team to come up with the best approach for your exercise program.