Reactive hypoglycemia: what is it and how does it affect our mood?

Reactive hypoglycemia shows how biological processes related to nutrition can affect our mood and predispose us to behave in one way or another.

In this article we will see what reactive hypoglycemia is and its impact on our emotions and psychological processes in general.

    What is reactive hypoglycemia?

    Reactive hypoglycemia, or postprandial hypoglycemia, is a condition that results in low blood sugar right after a meal, which causes a number of unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms for the sufferer.

    This disorder usually occurs within 3 to 4 hours after a certain meal. what a difference with classic hypoglycaemia, which occurs when the person is fasting.

    The direct cause of reactive hypoglycemia is not entirely clear, although it may be related to one of the following, depending on the person: the type of food eaten, variations in the movement of food in the digestive tract. Typically, this results in a temporary lack of energy resources that the body can rely on to give cells what they need to function at full capacity.

    Other causes that can be found to explain reactive hypoglycemia are alcohol consumption, certain surgical procedures such as gastric bypass or ulcer surgery, inherited metabolic disorders or certain tumors.

      How does reactive hypoglycemia affect mood?

      As noted, reactive hypoglycemia is associated with a number of symptoms, including: weakness, hunger, pale skin, tremors, anemia, dizziness, sweating and malaise.

      In addition to this, some of the psychological symptoms that can appear in people with this type of disorder are anxiety, extreme fatigue, insomnia, disorientation and, in the most extreme cases, psychosis.

      Although symptoms vary from person to person, what is common to all people with reactive hypoglycemia is physical and emotional fatigue. The tendency to suffer from this situation on a regular basis can significantly affect your ability to adapt to the demands of daily life, resulting in a lack of motivation and a tendency to procrastinate, or even a greater propensity to suffer from stress and anxiety. the situation overwhelms us, we have too many “fronts” to deal with and we don’t have enough energy to accomplish these tasks or responsibilities.

      Therefore, it’s easy for a self-fulfilling prophecy to happen: the person feels that he will not be able to convince himself to do what he has to do and, faced with this discomfort, he tries to stop thinking about these pending tasks, thus falling into procrastination.

        What can be done for reactive hypoglycemia?

        Treatment for reactive hypoglycemia involves an initial medical evaluation to determine if the symptoms the person is experiencing are actually caused by hypoglycemia.

        If so, the next step is to confirm that the symptoms go away as soon as the person returns to normal blood sugar levels, and if more severe symptoms occur, further medical tests may be done.

        Although reactive hypoglycemia is not associated with specific medical treatment and its effects wear off on their own fairly quickly, Some healthy measures can be put in place depending on the person’s diet.so that their symptoms disappear and their quality of life improves.

        The main dietary and mealtime modifications that can be implemented in a person with reactive hypoglycemia are:

        1. Eat a balanced diet

        Starting a balanced diet during the week is one of the best ways to avoid the effects of reactive hypoglycemia and It is a very healthy habit that will give us energy and physical and mental health.

        Maintaining a balanced diet means eating healthy foods such as lean meat protein and fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

          2. Avoid certain foods

          Some of the foods we should eat if we have this type of disorder are sugary foods and simple processed carbohydrates such as white bread or white pasta.

          It is of great importance Avoid eating processed carbs on an empty stomach at all costsas they particularly affect people with reactive hypoglycaemia.

          3. Consume food when drinking alcohol

          Alcohol on an empty stomach is also highly recommended, which is why whenever alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed while eating some type of food to go with it.

          However, alcohol consumption is not recommended under any circumstancesneither for people with reactive hypoglycemia nor for those who do not have such a disorder.

          4. Eat multiple meals a day

          In order to avoid drastic drops in sugar, it is strongly recommended to eat several small meals throughout the day, spaced approximately every 3 hours. In this way, very large meals are avoided.

          Small meals or snacks can be of all kinds, but it is generally recommended that they be pieces of fruit, vegetables or healthy foods with little sugar.

            Are you looking for professional psychological support?

            If you need psychological help, contact me.

            My name is Tomas Santa CeciliaI am a psychologist and I can assist you in person or online via video call.

            Bibliographic references

            • Finsterer, J.; Mahjoub, SZ (2014). Fatigue in healthy and sick individuals. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 31 (5): p. 562 – 575.
            • Wyatt, P. and. in the. (2021). Postprandial glycemic declines predict appetite and energy intake in healthy individuals. Nature Metabolism, 3 (4): pp. 523 – 529.

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