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What is Reactive Hypoglycemia and How do You Beat it?

Updated on February 3, 2016

I’ve had reactive hypoglycemia since 2011. After many doctors’ visits, hospital stays and my own trial and error experiments with diet, I’ve found a way to control my reactive hypoglycemia without any medication whatsoever.

Reactive hypoglycemia is a very frustrating medical problem to have. This is especially true if you have just recently been diagnosed and aren’t exactly sure what to do to control the problem. To make matters worse, sometimes you might not even be diagnosed at all with the condition and be left to discover for yourself what is causing your symptoms and how to resolve them. That was the case for me anyway!

What is Reactive Hypoglycemia?
Reactive hypoglycemia is a type of hypoglycemia. It occurs when a person takes in a high-carb load and spikes their glucose levels. This is then followed by the spiking of insulin levels that continue to climb even after glucose levels drop back down to normal levels.

For example, maybe say you were to eat mashed potatoes or some other simple carbohydrate, and your glucose shot up to 130, your insulin would then kick in. However, instead of your insulin secretion stopping when your blood glucose levels reached 70 to 80 (a normal level), your insulin secretions would continue. Because of this continued release of insulin, your blood sugar levels would drop to potentially dangerous levels or levels that cause severe symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Reactive Hypoglycemia?
The symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia can vary. And each person may experience different symptoms. However, below is a list of some of the symptoms associated with reactive hypoglycemia.

Symptoms include:
- Fatigue
- Irritability
- Heart palpitations
- Tachycardia
- Tremors
- Dizziness
- Light-headedness
- Panic
- Depression
- Nervousness

Treatment for Reactive Hypoglycemia
Treatment for reactive hypoglycemia can vary from person to person also. Often times this will depend on severity. My bout with reactive hypoglycemia in 2011 was pretty bad. The doctors were back and forth on my condition, “Yes you do have it! No you don’t have it!”

In one hospital stay, I was literally told “You have reactive hypoglycemia and we will be starting you on Acrobose.” Then shortly after I was told, “There is not enough evidence to suggest that you have reactive hypoglycemia.” What? How frustrating! I was having tremors, heart palpitations and tachycardia in which my heart reached close to 200 beats per minute. However, my glucose levels weren’t always 60 or below, which is defined as clinically low blood sugar. This leads me to the condition known as, idiopathic postprandial syndrome, which I will talk about on further down.

So, back to the treatment of reactive hypoglycemia; treating this disorder naturally can actually be quite simple once you get used to it. Yes, there are of course medications, but trust me, they are not pleasant, or weren’t for me anyway. They only made life more miserable.

So how did I finally beat it; or control it? I did so with diet and supplementation.

The first thing I had to do was eliminate all simple carbs. I was not eating many sugary foods anyway, but I made it a point to avoid candy and desserts; and also to avoid simple carbohydrates like mashed potatoes, pasta, etc. Basically, I ate foods low on the glycemic index. These are foods that will not spike your blood sugar levels. These foods include foods high in protein and fat like meats, cheeses and nuts. Also foods like vegetables and berries were safe to eat. And for carbs, I ate complex carbohydrates like oatmeal and sweet potatoes.

Another key piece in this was small frequent meals. I would eat small meals about every 2.5 hours to keep my blood sugar levels steady.

The types of you food you eat and the frequency of which you eat is KEY to a person getting a handle on hypoglycemia.

Exercising is another very important factor in living with/controlling reactive hypoglycemia. When you exercise you burn off glucose of course and your body demands less insulin. Exercising is a great way of helping to control reactive hypoglycemic episodes.

Secrets for Controlling Reactive Hypogycemia
Here are a couple of secrets that I’ve learned that work like magic when it comes to controlling my reactive hypoglycemia. One, make SURE you eat a good breakfast that includes a good balance of complex carbohydrates, fat and protein. Every morning, I eat a shake that contains raw oatmeal, unsweetened almond milk, rice protein, peanut butter and chia seed.

Okay, why chia seed? Well chia seed is virtually the perfect food and has been PROVEN to help regulate blood sugar! 20% of the chia seed is protein and these things are packed with fiber, omega 3’s and can sustain the human body for up to 24 hours with just ONE tablespoon. This is my secret weapon in controlling blood sugar! – Chia Seed!

What is Idiopathic Postprandial Syndrome?
Now back to idiopathic postprandial syndrome. So just what is idiopathic postprandial syndrome? Well it’s this simple. It’s a condition in which you have all of the symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia, but without the markedly low blood glucose level. In other words, you might be having tremors, tachycardia and loss of vision with a glucose level of 70.

So, what is the treatment for idiopathic postprandial syndrome? Well as you may have guessed, the treatment is the same as it would be for reactive hypoglycemia.

Conclusion
As you may know, I am not a doctor, so my information is not intended to replace your doctor’s orders. However, I hope that my experience and what I’ve learned can help you to at least see other options when it comes to the treatment of reactive hypoglycemia.

Always be sure to consult with your physician before starting any new supplement or diet program, especially if you have any medical conditions.

Have you ever experienced low blood sugar?

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    • profile image

      Kenzie 

      11 months ago

      Yesterday I received results from a glucose tolerance test that left me weak and shaky for the rest of the day. At fasting I was at 93. An hour after I drank the glucose drink I was at 82, then an hour after that I was at 64 and nauseated and had tremors. I have thought I had sugar issues for a long time. But the doctors just wanted to adjust my current medications (for completely unrelated issues) and most recently they thought it was sleep apnea. But because I was convinced about the sugars, they ordered the test.

      Looks like I was right.

      But now I dont know what to do next.

      This article was very helpful thank you for sharing your experience.

    • profile image

      Melinda 

      12 months ago

      I've been dealing with my problem for several years now and I know normal for most people are 80 to 120 and my doctor told me that my normal is around 130 to 140. If my sugar levels get to around 118 or so I start getting the shakes and tremors and if it gets into say the 80s I start having a seizure. Here lately it's been giving me a lot of problems and driving me crazy. My doctor told me there really wasn't much up could do for it just make sure I eat 6 to 10 times a day, he's never told me there were meds for it when I've asked him about it. Can you please give me a list of some foods to eat because after reading this I can tell I'm not eating the right foods and I really want to try something different. It feels like every time I have an attack they just keep getting worse and I have been having them a lot here lately and when I try to get my sugar back up it goes to high and then crashes really bad making the attack worse. Like I said before I'm going bonkers because of it. Thank you for this article it's helped a lot.

    • ryano123 profile imageAUTHOR

      Elvis Jackson 

      2 years ago from All around the world!

      My workouts are around 50 minutes. My goal is to prevent any problem at the gym, so I eat small meals and snacks throughout the day. Protein shakes and protein bars like "Quest" bars work great. I also carry glucose tabs to the gym in case I have any type of problem.. - But since I've been eating so clean for a while now, it's rare that I have an issue.

    • profile image

      Tee 

      2 years ago

      How long were your workouts ? And what kind of snacks did you have with you just in case you start feeling weak. I was wondering if I should have coconut water next to me since it has some electrolytes.

    • ryano123 profile imageAUTHOR

      Elvis Jackson 

      2 years ago from All around the world!

      I agree. The more you can eat natural, organic foods... the better you will feel. These days everyone is just in a hurry and depend on convenience unfortunately.

    • Chuck Bluestein profile image

      Chuck Bluestein 

      2 years ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

      The cure for this was used by Jesus, Moses, Pythagoras, Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi. It cures the cause of all disease. The Jews used it as medicine 2,000 years ago and that is why the bible has 74 references to fasting. Of course you know that eating food caused your problem.

      Food made by God or nature is good for you. Food made by man makes you fat and sick and addicted to good since money is why they do it.

    • ryano123 profile imageAUTHOR

      Elvis Jackson 

      2 years ago from All around the world!

      Hi Cory, mine were only related to my sugar levels... nothing else. If you are having tremors all of the time, it's probably best you see a doc if you haven't already.

    • profile image

      cory 

      2 years ago

      Were the tremors all the time. I am shaky/tremor even when my blood sugar seems normal. I do however feel like what I am dealing with is food related.

    • ryano123 profile imageAUTHOR

      Elvis Jackson 

      3 years ago from All around the world!

      Hi VP, I'm not a doctor obviously. But then again, they didn't help me get my RH under control, I did. The best tips I have are exercise and eating foods low on the glycemic index. If you don't, you will probably have a major crash. I hope that helps! My website is www.reactivehypglycemiacure.com. Be well!

    • profile image

      VP 

      4 years ago

      What are some of things you eat right before bed...to sustain you or blood sugar through the night? Thank for any meal plans and snack ideas. Also, do you carry a glucose meter? If so, what are your pre-meal, 15 min post meal and 1hour post meal target numbers? Thanks

    • ryano123 profile imageAUTHOR

      Elvis Jackson 

      5 years ago from All around the world!

      Thanks!

    • Leptirela profile image

      Leptirela 

      5 years ago from I don't know half the time

      GREAT HUB. Useful and thorough

      I never knew this ...Im sure you will big up awareness

      Voted UP

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