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hypoglycemia and alcoholism

Old 05-05-2009, 11:36 AM
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hypoglycemia and alcoholism

Hi all!!! Sorry if this isn't in the right section, but I haven't been here very regularly anymore and don't really know where this should go.

I've been diagnosed as Hypoglycemic....and through research, have found out that it's extremely common in alcoholics...that very few of us AREN'T.

So now I'm curious....are any of you the same way??

I hope everyone is doing well! Class of July - woot woot!
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Old 05-05-2009, 01:46 PM
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Hi DG,

I went looking for the thread when you said you were writing one. Newcomers is always the best place to start. As for your question I have no idea what it is or if I have it. What are the symptoms? I definitely fit the alcoholic part. I haven't had any blood work since I stopped drinking. I have other health issues right now that are not caused by alcohol but alcohol can make it worse.
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Old 05-05-2009, 02:29 PM
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DG - sorry to hear about the diagnosis. Hopefully it's controllable for you. I didn't know much about it, but a quick trip to Wikipedia via Google, as usual, gives a good synopsis. Also found this quote:

"I have never, ever seen an alcoholic who wasn't hypoglycemic. It just doesn't occur, it's the same problem." Dr. Douglas M. Baird, HSF Medical Director, author of The Blood Sugar Hotline

Don't know if that's what most all of the experts say


Philly,

Searching on Hypoglycemis vs. Diabetes turned up this:

Hypoglycemia occurs in people who have consistently low blood sugar levels. This is caused by an over active pancreas, one which secretes too much insulin. They will have to eat 6 small meals a day in order to keep blood sugar levels up and monitor blood sugar via a glucometer.

Diabetes Type I is someone whose pancreas is failing to produce ANY insulin at all. They require insulin injections or they can get the insulin via an insulin pump. They also must monitor insulin levels via a glucometer.

Diabetes Type II is someone whose pancreas is still producing insulin but not enough to regulate blood sugar levels. They typically manage the disease via diet control and or oral medication. They must also monitor blood sugar levels, but not as tightly as someone who is Insulin dependent.
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Old 05-05-2009, 02:32 PM
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Oh Yes, Yes, Yes!!

Me too!!

I had no idea there was a connection. It was another one of those red flags that I wish I had known about. From childhood, I had problems with low blood sugar - feeling weak, faint, tremors and I would crave sugar desparately, but was never overweight. I have found that it is common in alcoholics too.

And, yes, Joinedintime, I eat at least six times a day and I can't go for very long without eating.
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Old 05-05-2009, 02:37 PM
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Most definitely! I was diagnosed after getting hit with panic attacks over and over, and then it all kind of came full-circle realizing the alcohol = hypoglycemic = panic attacks.
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:00 PM
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Yep.. me too.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:42 PM
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So what to they tell people to do for this? Is it all about diet? Prescription? Both?
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:41 PM
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Damned if I know, JIT...I lost my family doctor! lol I know that if I don't have enough in me, I get "wonky"....I have massive shakes in my hands...I start to slur...I have a very hard time thinking....I walk kinda funny. Sounds familiar to hang-overs, eh?
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:45 PM
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I'm borderline hypoglycemic according to my physician. Does that count?!
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by joinedintime View Post
So what to they tell people to do for this? Is it all about diet? Prescription? Both?
You manage it through diet, usually several small meals during the day so your blood sugar doesn't drop too low.
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:55 PM
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My husband swears he has some type of diabetes and has been a heavy drinker his whole life. He also has alot of stomach problems and he still drinks way too much- go figure. Maybe some blood work would make him cut down but that is highly unlikely. I will ask the next time I have blood work. About 5 years ago before I was affected by alcohol my blood work was great. While I ws into heavy drinking I sort of avoided it. Now being almost 10 months without the poison I am anxious to see the harm it has caused me.

I hope all is well with you DG and you can control it. I guess it is just one of a million reasons why alcohol is no good for us.

Last edited by Philly; 05-07-2009 at 02:56 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:02 PM
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My daughter is diabetic type 1 so she gets low blood sugar levels as a result of her insulin shots sometimes. The specialist said it is best to eat several meals a day to avoid lows, at least 5. When you eat or drink a carb/sugar, combine it with a low fat protein. The protein helps keep a stable blood sugar over a longer period of time, rather than a spike and then drop. If you combine the "sugar" with a high fat protein a sugar spike will occur 4 to 5 hours after the snack or meal which will cause one heck of a drop later. Healthy carbs rise slower and the drop is not as nasty where as unhealthy sugars are almost impossible to control. I plan to follow the same diet in recovery because I have always suspected that I may be hypoglycemic. Makes sense actually that it could be caused by my drinking. Sugar, sugar, sugar!
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Old 05-07-2009, 04:05 PM
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Never been diagnosed hypoglycemic but have all the symptoms: dizzy, shaky, etc. I never knew that. Thanks for the info. I too can't go too long without eating or I get faint.
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Old 05-07-2009, 04:27 PM
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Definitely a connection! Hypoglycemia is managed with diet, a regular, good healthy diet to maintain blood glucose levels stable. Best managed with several small meals x day (ideally should include a good lean protein and good carbs, i.e. unrefined: whole wheat, brown rice, potatoes, etc. plus all types of veggies and fruit.) And that's why in AA I hear they recommend having candy when the urge hits. Personally, while Alcohol is not my drug of choice, it is a problem if I allow it to become one. Especially when I haven't eaten right and am stressed out... if that happens, I reach for a glass of grape juice, which is high in natural sugars. Or in desperate times: a chewy caramel candy (or two or three, lol!). Sugar is a carbohydrate and that is what alcohol is, a very highly processed refined carbohydrate.
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Old 05-07-2009, 04:30 PM
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Freedom, I'm borderline hypoglycemic as well, it does count as far as I can tell by personal experience!
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:53 PM
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I too failed the "Glucose tolerance test"
The Doctors recommend a high protein/low carbohydrate diet.
Hypoglycemia Diets, Hypoglycemia Food Menu, Hypoglycemia Symptoms
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:24 PM
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DG...glad to see you again....

Dust off your copy of "Under The Influence"
check out the eating plan there.
My doctor thought it was excellent for me
as a borderline hypoglycemic.

Google has many links to hypoglycemic eating plans.
Ask your doctor before starting these
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinkcuda View Post
I too failed the "Glucose tolerance test"
The Doctors recommend a high protein/low carbohydrate diet.
Hypoglycemia Diets, Hypoglycemia Food Menu, Hypoglycemia Symptoms
Me too. I knew I was a borderline diabetic and hypoglycemic (wonky pancreas) since I was diagnosed back when I was 17 years old. If you check out the diet restrictions, alcohol is a no-no (beer’s the worst). Personally I think it was instrumental in shortening my drinking career as anything else. (I started really drinking at age 24 and hit the Program of A.A. five short years later at age 29.) And guess what, not only does the disorder affect you physically; it gets you mentally as well.

Hopefully you will be able to keep it under control with diet. (Watch out for those starches and carbohydrates!) Follow your doctor’s advice and you can live a full and happy (healthy) life.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:10 PM
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DG, since I think I'm pretty sure I know where you and I are alike, I'm betting that of all the parts of all the responses this jumped out on your screen and started flashing and doing cartwheels.

Originally Posted by evmdimples View Post
...I hear they recommend having candy when the urge hits....
How's my guess? Do I know you, or what?
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:30 PM
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Thanks for the link, Pink!
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