Visual disturbances and brain fog can be hypoglycemia

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by xchocoholic, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic New Member

    Hi folks,

    My doc was telling me that my immediate reaction to eating sweets (brain fog and visual disturbances) could be because I am releasing too much insulin.

    This is called hyperinsulimia and would cause a hypoglycemic reaction (low blood sugar).

    I get brain fog and fuzzy vision immediately. Some of the same symptoms I get if I wait too long to eat.

    This answers my question about my visual problems. Not sure what to do now, but I am getting there ...

    I thought some of you might be able to use this info ...

    ********* Hyperinsulimia - ************

    Hyperinsulimia (hyperinsulinism) is the presence in the body of an abnormally high level of insulin, the hormone secreted by the pancreas and needed by the body to disperse and utilize sugar.

    Abnormally high levels of insulin in the body result in abnormally low levels of sugar in the system, triggering such symptoms as headache, dizziness and weakness.

    In extreme cases it may cause convulsions, coma, and death.

    Causes of Hyperinsulimia

    The cause of these high levels of insulin may be organic - a tumor of the pancreas, impaired liver function, or endocrine disorders - or it may be functional - unusually vigorous and sustained exercising, pregnancy, or lactation.

    Among diabetics, hyperinsulinism is known as insulin shock, or hypoglycemia, and may occur as a result of treating themselves with an accidental overdose of insulin.

    Treatment of Hyperinsulimia

    Treatment for hyperinsulinism (hyperinsulimia) depends on which type is involved.

    For example, if the cause of the hyperinsulinism is organic, surgery may be required to remove it.

    Whereas functional hyperinsulinism is typically treated by dietetic measures designed to improve the insulin-sugar balance.

    Hyperinsulimia and Insulin Resistance

    Hyperinsulimia is sometimes associated with insulin resistance (called Metabolic Syndrome X, or more properly, Insulin Resistance Syndrome), a largely genetic condition which (it is believed) may affect up to 30 million Americans.

    Insulin resistance causes cells to reduce their sensitivity to insulin, the pancreatic hormone which the body needs to disperse blood glucose to the cells for use as energy.

    This insulin-insensitivity provokes the pancreas to overcompensate by secreting even more insulin - an outcome which can promote serious weight gain as well as heart disease.

    It can also lead to type 2 diabetes.

    People with the genetic predisposition to metabolic syndrome can avoid it (or alleviate their condition) through regular exercise and by following a low-glycemic-index diet based on the Low Glycemic Index Food Pyramid.

    ************ End of article ***************

    I'm guessing from all the hypoglycemia posts on board that it is common in CFIDS / FM. Is it listed as a common symptom ?

    [This Message was Edited on 12/08/2006]
    [This Message was Edited on 01/05/2007]
    [This Message was Edited on 01/05/2007]
    [This Message was Edited on 03/20/2007]
  2. OptimusUndead

    OptimusUndead Member

    IMO i find that its very common for someone with fibro or CFS to have hypoglycemia. Especially!! after eating refined sugar or a sweetened candy etc. I think that most if not all of the people on this board with fm/cfs have hypoglycemia.

    Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) was the first thing i was tested for in the form of a Six hour glucose tolerance test. That was before i knew what CFS was, but knew i had hypo.
  3. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic New Member

    Thanks for replying,

    I see a lot of threads here about hypoglycemia. I'm going to start a hypoglycemia head count to see how many have this. I wonder how many of our symptoms are from this.

    I had symptoms of hypoglycemia long before I got sick too. Only I had no idea what it was. I remember I could not enjoy sweets in the morning with my co-workers because my vision would be out of focus and I wouldn't be able to think.

    The only reason I picked up on the how and why then was because I was a computer programmer and if you can't think you can't do your job ....

    I am planning on trying the diet to see if it improves.

    Have you tried it ? If not, are you interested ?

    I have to research it again, but basically the idea is to avoid ALL spikes in blood sugar by avoiding all foods that can cause a spike.

    Eventually the pancreas is supposed to retrain itself not to produce too much insulin.

    My only question is can I have the goodies late in the day with meat on my belly ??? : )

  4. OptimusUndead

    OptimusUndead Member

    sorry i haven't replied.. been relapsing pretty hard.. just wanted to bump before i went to sleep to say i read it ^_^
  5. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    What is the diet for this?

    Thanks. (( ))
  6. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic New Member

    I'm sorry you are not feeling well.

    In this article, it said that it was not a good idea to spike your blood sugar. It talks about retraining your pancreas this way.

    But ...

    I have since found that sometimes I have to give myself a good jolt in order to feel energized. By this I mean orange juice, whole candy cane, etc.

    I always follow this a protein.

    I have no idea why this is working, but you gotta do what works ... So far, I am not crashing afterwards either.

    Maybe you just can't teach an old pancreas new tricks... LOL


    [This Message was Edited on 01/05/2007]
  7. mxmom419

    mxmom419 New Member

    a sample diet plan for this? I already know that I have hypoglycemia and wanted to know if this diet plan was updated from the one I got years and years ago?
    PS Great info!!
  8. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic New Member

    Shannon and mxmom, I bumped the other hypoglycemia thread I had going. There is a lot of good info from other members on it.

    The diet instructions are simply to eat small meals containing a lean meat + complex carbs every 2 to 3 hours.

    And avoid high glycemic foods such as cookies, candies and certain high sugar fruits. But, if you just have to eat it, follow it up with a protein like raw nuts or meat.

    However, I have found that there is more to it than this for me and possibly others here too.

    At this point, I have to eat every 30 minutes if I am excercising. I have no idea why this is working to keep the brain fog and visual problems at bay though. I've only been doing this for the past month.

    I'm hoping this problem is temporary.

    If you check out the symptoms list, you may find low blood sugar is responsible for other problems you are having too.

    good luck to you ... xchocoholic
    [This Message was Edited on 01/05/2007]
  9. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic New Member

    Hypoglycemia Diet

    Hypoglycemia is the term for a blood glucose level that is lower than normal.

    When foods are digested in the body, they are broken down into many nutrients.

    These nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream to be used in performing various body functions.

    One of these nutrients is glucose, a sugar that provides fuel to the body.

    The process that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood is complex. Adrenaline is a part of this complicated process.

    Everyone has experienced a rush of adrenaline at some time -- that "love-at-first-sight" feeling, or the pounding heart after narrowly escaping an accident.

    Adrenaline is produced by the adrenal glands located on top of the kidneys.

    The sudden release of adrenaline is what causes the symptoms of hypoglycemia -- apprehension, hunger, sweating, rapid heartbeat, and faintness.

    Hypoglycemia can occur from certain illnesses, such as liver disease and some types of tumors.

    These conditions cause a type of hypoglycemia called organic hypoglycemia.

    They usually require specific medical treatment or surgery. There is another type of hypoglycemia.

    In some people, the body simply responds differently to the digestion of foods.

    Some foods are digested and absorbed rapidly, resulting in a burst of glucose entering the bloodstream.

    In most people the body adjusts smoothly.

    It would be like two children trying to balance a see-saw. There may be a slight teetering or swinging up and down as the children shift their weight to achieve the balance.

    In some people, however, the response is like an actively rocking see-saw swinging up and down.

    The body over-reacts and sets the process in motion to reduce blood glucose.

    The result is a glucose level that is too low. Then the body releases adrenaline, increasing glucose in the bloodstream.

    This is called Reactive Hypoglycemia -- the body is simply over-reacting. It is not easy to diagnose.

    However, it usually occurs consistently from one to three hours after a meal and returns to normal on its own.

    When no known medical causes are found, the diagnosis of reactive hypoglycemia is made.

    The best way to manage reactive hypoglycemia is have glucose enter the bloodstream at a steady, even pace. This can be done with changes in eating habits.

    Nutrition Facts

    Following a hypoglycemia diet gives the body all the calories, protein, minerals, and vitamins necessary to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for healthy adults.

    Special considerations :

    Simple carbohydrates and concentrated sweets: All carbohydrates can be broken down into glucose in the body.

    Some carbohydrates have a simple structure that easily breaks down into glucose.

    These are simple carbohydrates, commonly known as sugars. Table sugar, corn syrup, and honey are simple carbohydrates.

    Simple carbohydrates also occur naturally in fruits, milk, and other foods.

    They are digested rapidly, and this allows glucose to be absorbed into the bloodstream quickly.

    Therefore, meals that are high in simple carbohydrates can contribute to reactive hypoglycemia.

    Concentrated sweets such as candy, table sugar, soft drinks, cookies, cakes, and ice cream are mainly simple carbohydrates.

    Avoid these foods unless they are made with sugar substitutes. Read package labels to avoid foods containing sugars.

    Look for terms such as sugar, corn syrup, corn sweetener, or high fructose corn syrup.

    Complex carbohydrates and proteins are important in the diet. They are a basic source of energy.

    Complex carbohydrates are many molecules of simple sugars linked together like beads on a string. They take longer to break down in the intestine, and this helps to keep blood glucose levels more consistent.

    Pasta, grains, and potatoes are complex carbohydrates.

    Proteins are made of amino acids that the body needs for growth and good health. Foods from animal sources contain protein, but so do legumes, nuts and seeds.

    Most food protein can be converted into glucose by the body, but since this process takes some time, the glucose gets into the bloodstream at a slower, more consistent pace.

    That is why people with reactive hypoglycemia should eat complex carbohydrates and protein for their energy needs, instead of simple carbohydrates.

    Choose high fiber foods. Fiber is the indigestible part of plants. Insoluble fiber, such as wheat bran, does not dissolve in water.

    It adds bulk to the stool and causes it to pass through the intestine more quickly. Soluble fiber does dissolve in water, forming a sticky gel.

    It is found in the fibrous coatings of foods such as legumes, oat products, and pectin found in fruit.

    Soluble fiber delays stomach emptying, digestion, and absorption of glucose.

    Therefore, it helps to prevent hypoglycemia symptoms between meals.

    When making fruit choices, choose whole fresh fruits or those canned without added sugar instead of fruit juice. The added fiber helps to slow down the absorption of sugar.

    Size and frequency of meals is very important for managing hypoglycemia.

    The body really can't tell the difference between the glucose in a candy bar and the glucose in a whole grain roll.

    The object is to manage the diet so glucose is released into the bloodstream slowly and evenly.

    Many people skip meals, and this is certainly not good for people with reactive hypoglycemia.

    Start out with three well-balanced meals. Include a small mid-morning, afternoon, and evening snack.

    If symptoms are not relieved, it may be necessary to divide the daily food intake into five or six smaller, well-balanced meals evenly spaced throughout the day. Include an evening snack.

    Choose more complex carbohydrates over concentrated sweets, and try to include some insoluble fiber and protein with each meal.

    Fats like those in whole milk, cheese, and meats should be limited. A low-fat diet has been shown to help in treating hypoglycemia.

    When selecting dairy products and meats for protein; choose lean meat, skim milk products, and eggs in moderation. Use oils sparingly.

    Sweeteners such as sorbitol, saccharin, and aspartame (Equal® and Nutrasweet®) do not contain sugar or calories and may be used in a hypoglycemia diet.

    If you have questions about them, consult your physician or a registered dietitian.

    Alcohol is high in calories and can cause hypoglycemia all by itself. Therefore, people with reactive hypoglycemia should avoid or limit alcohol.

    Caffeine should be avoided. Caffeine stimulates the production of adrenaline. So does reactive hypoglycemia.

    Therefore, caffeine in the diet can make symptoms worse because the production of adrenaline is increased.

    Body Weight: Excess weight has been shown to interfere with the body functions that regulate glucose.

    So if you are overweight, reducing to the proper body weight could help to control reactive hypoglycemia.

    This is from the Jackson Gastroenterology website.
    hope this helps ... xchoc

  10. Hi xchocoholic,

    I know this is an old thread, but I almost fainted when I read your list of symptoms. It's the first time I've heard of someone having the exact same symptoms as I do when I eat carbs. I was wondering if your symptoms have improved over the years? My insulin and glucose levels are normal, so I don't think hyperinsulemia is my problem.

    I was feeling so bad (even blurry vision) that I went to an endocrinologist. She put me on 500 mg of Metaformin (a drug for diabetics) for "reactive hypoglycemia," although my glucose numbers (checked on home meter) do not support actual hypoglycemia. I think the idea is to keep my insulin levels more steady. It has helped with my symptoms only slightly. Doctor said I could take more Metaformin, but I just think this is all so wierd, especially since I try to eat relatively low carb.

    I don't have any other diagnosed health problems. I'm normal weight and try to take care of myself. I have a positive ANA result, but no signs of active autoimmune disease. I sometimes get way more tired than I should, achy, and vision migraines. I'm very sensitive to chemicals, perfumes, cleaning products, etc. Other than that, my bloodwork looks great. My symptoms first began with pregnancy.

    I'd certainly appreciate any more thoughts/insight on how you are doing, and any other health problems you have correlated with the hypoglycemia issue.

    Thank you!