Hypoglycemia Essay

This essay has a total of 1458 words and 7 pages.


About four years ago we started to notice that my dad was having problems sleeping, he was
very moody, and he started getting headaches a lot. After it got to a point where my dad
was feeling bad every day we all started to worry. So as any normal person would do, my
dad went to the hospital to have it checked out. The doctor found that my dad had
developed a disease called hypoglycemia. At first this was very hard for my dad to handle
because to subdue the symptoms of his disease he had to drastically change his diet. After
doing a lot of research my mom had come up with a good diet for my dad, one that would
help him to deal with his hypoglycemia. Now, what once was a major health problem has now
become something that is easy to deal with. By eating right and taking vitamins everyday
my dad has almost no symptoms. According to the fifth addition of Miller-Krane
Encyclopedia & Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, & Allied Health the definition for
hypoglycemia is: “An abnormally low level of sugar (glucose) in the blood.” (731) Glucose,
a form of sugar, is the body’s main fuel. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, occurs when
blood levels of glucose drop too low to fuel the body’s activity. In this paper it will be
made clear what hypoglycemia is, the possible causes of it, what the symptoms are, and how
to cure it.

As was stated before Hypoglycemia is an official name for low blood sugar. According to About Hypoglycemia at
http://www.dynanet.com/bodychem/hypoq.html: “Low blood sugar is a body chemistry condition
where the amount of glucose in the blood is below the amount needed for the cells of your
body to function properly.” To understand why this is bad, one would have to know what
blood sugar is and why it is needed. Glucose or blood sugar is the substance the cells in
a person’s body use for energy; it is also needed to help the body run correctly. It is
imperative to know that glucose is very important in a person’s body because it is used
everywhere, About Hypoglycemia at http://www.dynanet.com/bodychem/hypoq.html put it well
when they state: “ Glucose is used by every cell in your body.” The amount of glucose in
the blood is controlled mainly by the hormones insulin and glucagon. Too much or too
little of these hormones can cause blood sugar levels to fall too low (hypoglycemia).
Other hormones that influence blood sugar levels are cortisol, growth hormone, and
catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine). The pancreas, a gland in the upper
abdomen, produces insulin and glucagon. The pancreas is dotted with hormone-producing
tissue called the islets of Langerhans, which contain alpha and beta cells. When blood
sugar rises after a meal, the beta cells release insulin. The insulin helps glucose enter
body cells, lowering blood levels of glucose to the normal range. When blood sugar drops
too low, the alpha cells secrete glucagon. This signals the liver to release stored
glycogen and change it back to glucose, raising blood sugar levels to the normal range.
Muscles also store glycogen that can be converted to glucose. It is clear that
hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is bad for the body because it causes a person to have no
energy and makes the cells in the body function improperly.

The most common cause of hypoglycemia is as a complication of diabetes. Conditions that
can lead to hypoglycemia in people with diabetes include taking too much medication,
missing or delaying a meal, eating too little food for the amount of insulin taken,
exercising too strenuously, drinking too much alcohol, or any combination of these
factors. People who have diabetes often refer to hypoglycemia as an "insulin reaction."
Hypoglycemia in people who do not have diabetes is fairly common to Americans today.
Hypoglycemia can occur in some people under certain conditions such as early pregnancy,
prolonged fasting, and long periods of strenuous exercise. People on beta-blocker
medications who exercise are at higher risk of hypoglycemia, and aspirin can induce
hypoglycemia in some children. Drinking alcohol can cause blood sugar to drop in some
sensitive individuals, and hypoglycemia has been well documented in chronic alcoholics and
binge drinkers. James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., authors of Prescription
for Life Nutritional HEALING, believe that unhealthy eating habits can cause Hypoglycemia,

More and more Americans today my have this condition, due to poor dietary habits that
include eating large quantities of simple carbohydrates, sugars, alcohol, caffeine, and
soft drinks, and insufficient amounts of complex carbohydrates. High stress factors are
also believed to be contributing factors to the increasing incidence of hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia can be inherited, but most often it is precipitated by an inadequate diet.

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