Here, have some juice…

Hypoglycemia is a medical issue that many endurance athletes are faced with, and if not treated, can lead to seizures, coma, and death. Being in the medical field, I know how serious it can really be if untreated, and I wanted to share some information with you about the new American Diabetic Association guidelines. Hypoglycemia is not something only diabetics have to worry about, either. I have issues with low blood sugar, and must have received that from my father, who has severe hypoglycemic episodes, especially when he goes for long runs and rides.

As an athlete, and you know if you have issues with hypoglycemia, it is a good idea to buy one of those little glucometers- the little machines that take a sample of your blood and can see the glucose levels in your blood. I bought one, just in case my levels ever get too low. You can purchase them in any drug store.

The ADA 2010 Guidelines defines hypoglycemia as anything below 70mg/dl of glucose in the blood. Signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia include pallor, diaphoresis, shakiness, palpitations, tachycardia, increase in systolic blood pressure, headache, irritability, and hunger. The second phase of the hypoglycemia response in the body is Neuroglycopenic, which is when the brain things it is being deprived of glucose at peripheral and central sensors. This results in cognitive behaviors, psychomotor abnormalities and as the BS continues to drop, seizures, coma, and brain death occur.

Signs of low blood sugar

So, low blood sugar can be a big deal for those who have issues with it, esp. athletes. Each contraction of the muscle fibers requires energy–sugar basically–in order to function. And when you are going for long runs or rides, you body is using up all its sugar stores. This article isn’t about weight loss. It is to tell you what to do incase you ever find yourself having a “hypoglycemic attack.”

1. Always bring a bottle of orange juice with you on your long rides (you only need about 4 oz to raise your blood sugar). Or if you need to stop at a gas station or shopping center to get something, drink 4 oz of regular soda (not the diet! because you want the sugar!!!), or 8 oz of Skim milk (it must be skim, because the fat in whole milk delays the body’s cellular uptake of the glucose). Or, you might be able to get Glucose tablets (which are what I have), that are 15calories and each tablet has 4g of carbohydrates. Powerbars and Energy bars with a lot of protein are good for keeping you going longer, but in the midst of an attack, eating one of those will delay the sugar uptake into the cells, which is what you are trying to avoid. A simple sugar like the tablets, or eating a couple Lifesavers will give you the sugar you need, and you will feel the results within minutes.

Lifesaver candies can be life savers. I know they’ve saved my life.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. RG
    Sep 06, 2010 @ 06:55:24

    Thanks for this informative and much appreciated life-saving info in layman’s terms…now I get it!

    Reply

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