Hypoglycemia is defined as a serum glucose level (the amount of sugar or glucose in your blood) below 70 mg/dL. The body regulates its glucose level—the primary source of energy for the brain, muscles, and other essential cells - by the actions of different hormones. These hormones include insulin (which lowers the blood sugar level) and other chemicals which raise blood sugar (such as glucagon, growth hormone, and epinephrine).
- Both insulin and glucagon are manufactured in the pancreas, an organ near the stomach which assists the digestive tract. Special cells in the pancreas, called beta cells, make insulin. Alpha cells in the pancreas make glucagon.
- The role of insulin is to help in the absorption of glucose from the blood by causing it to be stored in the liver or be transported into other tissues of the body (for metabolism or storage).
- Glucagon increases the amount of glucose in the blood by breaking down stored glucose (starch, called glycogen) and releasing it from the liver into the bloodstream.
- Insulin and glucagon are usually correctly balanced if the liver and pancreas are functioning normally
- Common symptoms of hypoglycemia include the following:
- clammy skin,
- palpitations (pounding or fast heart beats),
- hunger, and
When the brain remains deprived of glucose, a later set of symptoms follows:
- difficulty in thinking,
- seizures, and
Our lives are filled with manipulative marketing ads about food and diet, and because of the lack of information we receive on how to actually read food labels, we think we are eating healthy at times when we are just filling our bodies with empty calories.