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Ask Dr. Gourmet

I am hypoglycemic and now my blood sugar is running higher. What should I do?

I am a female weighing only 102 lbs. and I'm 5'2". I have been hypoglycemic for 8 years. Now when I test my sugar it is going in the higher range. I am also having trouble with blurry eyes. I have been trying a diabetic diet I found on the internet (husband laid off - cannot afford to go to doctor) for two weeks. I am not feeling as tired, and I can see better, but I am losing weight sticking to this diet. Do you have any suggestions?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Blurry vision test chart

Hypoglycemia can be a challenge for folks. I have had a number of patients in my practice who have a drop in blood sugars and this is usually in response to meals or snacks. This phenomenon is referred to as "reactive hypoglycemia", because the blood sugar drops in "reaction" to eating. It is most common in young adult females, but I have had a number of males in my practice with reactive hypoglycemia.

There is some debate about whether the drop in blood sugar comes from a sensitivity to the body's release of epinephrine (adrenalin) or an overproduction of insulin. Some believe that this is a lack of the anti-insulin hormone glucogon. Here's some background from the National Institutes of Health on hypoglycemia.

In the past there has been speculation that those with reactive hypoglycemia have a higher risk of developing diabetes. We now know that the difference is the type of hypoglycemic reaction. Reactive hypoglycemia occurs in the first four hours after eating, while in a condition considered "pre-diabetic" hypoglycemia the drop in blood sugar comes later - after the four hour mark.

It is possible that you have developed diabetes with your blood sugars running higher. Following a Mediterranean style diet can help control blood sugars, but it is important that you have this looked at. Check with your local health department. They can help point you in the direction of a free clinic or other service that can help you get further evaluation. Alternatively, do a Google search for "free clinic" and your zip code.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet