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Sweet solutions: Unveiling when sugar can positively impact health

Sweet solutions: Unveiling when sugar can positively impact health Illustrative photo (Photo: Freepik)
Author: Daria Shekina

Sugar is the main source of energy for the human body. However, its deficiency can have threatening consequences. When blood sugar levels drop sharply, it leads to a dangerous health condition known as hypoglycemia, reports Take Care of Yourself medical community website.

What might indicate hypoglycemia

Glucose is the main source of energy for the human body.

There are certain blood sugar levels that can be considered healthy. This indicator can fluctuate throughout the day. When a person's blood sugar drops below 70 mg/dL (or 3.9 mmol/L), it is termed hypoglycemia.

Endocrinologist Dina Krylova explainі that among the symptoms of this condition are:

  • Feeling trembling
  • Increased sweating and rapid heartbeat
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Feeling like you might pass out

It's crucial to take appropriate measures quickly to restore normal blood glucose levels as such a state can be hazardous to health.

Low blood glucose triggers an adrenaline (epinephrine) release, the fight-or-flight hormone.

Why this happens

There are many reasons why blood sugar can suddenly drop. Physicians have identified such causes:

  • Excessive physical exertion
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Hot and humid weather
  • Sudden changes in eating patterns
  • Spending time at high altitudes
  • Puberty
  • Menstruation

Specifically, individuals are more likely to experience a drop in blood glucose if they:

  • Have type 1 diabetes
  • Take insulin or other diabetes medications
  • Are 65 years old or older
  • Have a tendency towards hypoglycemia
  • Have other health issues such as kidney or heart diseases

How to check glucose levels

The only reliable method is to check blood glucose levels if possible, which can be done using a glucose meter.

If you experience symptoms but cannot check your blood glucose level for any reason, it's still advisable to treat hypoglycemia.

If left untreated, blood sugar levels will continue to drop, the brain won't receive enough glucose, and its functioning will be compromised.

This can lead to blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, confusion, slurred speech, numbness, and drowsiness.

Treatment

The primary goal of hypoglycemia is to restore normal blood glucose levels. This can be achieved by following the rule of 15 - consume 15 grams of carbohydrates and check sugar levels in 15 minutes. If the level remains below 70 mg/dL, take another serving.

This can be:

  • 1/2 cup of juice or regular soda (not diet)
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, or corn syrup
  • Glucose tablets (always read instructions)

Repeat these steps until blood glucose levels reach at least 70 mg/dL.