Hypoglycemia is an example of a condition related to fibromyalgia syndrome. In fact, individuals with fibromyalgia are more likely than individuals who do not have fibro to have this condition. But what exactly is hypoglycemia and what are the symptoms of this fibromyalgia associated condition? And how is it linked to common fibromyalgia symptoms?
What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is a condition in which an individual has a low blood sugar level. As such, the body is unable to properly handle high levels of sugar. This syndrome is sometimes referred to as “carbohydrate intolerance”, because the body is unable to use carbohydrates in an effective manner without adverse consequences.
Causes of Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is a condition most often associated with diabetes. However, it can also occur in individuals who do not have diabetes. The following are causes of hypoglycemia in individuals who do not have hypoglycemia:
- certain medications
- certain types of cancer
- heart, kidney or liver failure
- hormonal imbalances
- disorders that cause the overproduction of insulin
As such, hypoglycemia is not considered an illness in and of itself, but an indicator of a more serious health problem.
Hypoglycemia diagnosis is based on the Whipple’s triad, a three-part procedure named after the American surgeon Allen Whipple:
- symptoms of hypoglycemia: symptoms of the condition are checked for after the individual undergoes either an overnight fast or an extended fast in a hospital setting. Symptoms may also be checked after a meal
- documentation of symptoms: a blood sample is then taken to analyze blood sugar levels
- reduction of symptoms: symptoms are then monitored to see if they disappear after blood sugar levels are raised
Treatment of Hypoglycemia
A healthy diet is the main tool through which hypoglycemia is treated.
Individuals with hypoglycemia should not consume any form of sugar, including: corn syrup, honey, sucrose, glucose, dextrose, maltose and table sugar. In addition, heavy starches, including rice, pasta and potatoes, should also be avoided, as should caffeine. Only a single piece of fruit should be consumed within a 4-hour period.
In addition, glucose tablets may be prescribed in order to increase blood sugar levels. If symptoms are severe and impair the individual’s ability to take sugar by mouth, an injection of glucagon or intravenous glucose may be used to raise blood sugar levels. If medication is found to be the cause of hypoglycemia, a change in medication will usually be recommended. If a tumor in the pancreas or elsewhere in the body is the cause, this will generally be surgically removed.
Hypoglycemia and Fibromyalgia
Individuals with fibromyalgia are more likely to have hypoglycemia because fibromyalgia is believed to have a nutritional and/or cellular cause, which can be alleviated through lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet that is monitored by a blood sugar meter, regular exercise and through the reduction of stress through such practices as yoga, dance therapy and meditation.