Reactive Hypoglycemia  

In the July 15, 2007 newsletter, I asked for those who are suffering from reactive hypoglycemia to write in and I received many replies.  Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar and normally occurs after fasting. Reactive hypoglycemia is hypoglycemia that occurs within 4 hours of eating and is a very serious condition requiring a doctorís supervision. Patients may feel sweaty, shaky, dizzy, hungry, nervous, confused, sleepy or flushed. It can be very dangerous and even cause seizures and coma. Some donít develop symptoms until years after their surgery.

Ordinarily after you eat, food stays in your stomach for a long period of time and is slowly released into the intestines. After gastric bypass surgery, much of what we eat goes rapidly into the small intestines and there is a rapid absorption of carbohydrates. This rapid absorption is followed by a big insulin release which can drive the blood sugar level very low.

The treatment is a dietary adjustment. This includes more frequent meals of protein and complex carbohydrates rather than simple carbohydrates which are broken down rapidly and cause your glucose to spike and bottom.

Two excellent books on this topic are The Low Blood Sugar Handbook by Patricia Krimmel and Hypoglycemia for Dummies by James Chow.

To read what some patients who have reactive hypoglycemia have to say, click here.