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Hypoglycemia: The Forgotten Blood Sugar Disorder - Guest Column From Dr. Keith Berkowitz (Thanks to Blogger Jimmy Moore)

Posted Dec 18 2008 8:11pm

I'm always pleased to learn of a medical doctor who's savvy about the dangers of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) -- which, as I point out in my book SUGAR SHOCK! -- is a much-ignored and much-maligned condition that plagues millions of Americans.

In fact, my interest in the dangers of sugar and refined carbs began with my own blood sugar nightmares and many baffling symptoms, from excessive fatigue to brain fog, as I reveal in Chapter 1 (when I tell my embarrassing sugar story).

FYI, I also delve into a discussion of low blood sugar in Chapter 13 of SUGAR SHOCK! This subject is so close to my heart that you can even find an excerpt, Hypoglycemia: A Hidden Hell, on the Web.

Anyhow, I was glad to see that my blogging buddy Jimmy Moore posted a special entry on his Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Blog entitlted, Is Hypoglycemia A Hidden Low-Carb Side Effect?, which was triggered by a conversation he had with New York-based physician Keith Berkowitz, M.D., who fold Jimmy that symptoms of hypoglycemia could by why your weight loss suddenly stops when following a low-carb diet.

Then, Jimmy took the smart move to invite the Dr. Berkowitz to write a special guest column. Because this is such an important subject, I'm reprinting the column here from Jimmy's Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Blog.

The Forgotten Blood Sugar Disorder: Hypoglycemia
by Dr. Keith Berkowitz, M.D.
Medical Director for The Center for Balanced Health

According to the American Diabetes Association, 21 million Americans have diabetes and another 54 million American are at risk with pre-diabetes or elevated blood glucose.

Because of this, our attention has been concentrated on treating high blood glucose while largely ignoring other blood sugar disorders. Poor eating habits, the addition of unhealthy ingredients, increased stress and poor sleeping habits has led to the increased incidence of this underappreciated blood sugar disorder: hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia has been traditionally defined as a low blood glucose level (serum levels less than 70 mg/dl either taken fasting, randomly or after a glucose challenge). Unfortunately, most individuals I see in my practice do not present with these results but instead present with normal blood glucose levels, the ability to lose some weight but not the last 10 to 20 pounds or unexplained low energy levels.

One reason for this is that most individuals only have fasting blood glucose or an HgbA1c taken by their health professional.

An HgbA1c level represents the average amount of glucose in the blood over a three-month period. A level of 4.0% is equal to an average blood glucose level of 60 mg/dl while a level of 5.0% is equal to a blood glucose level of 90 mg/dl. HgbA1c levels between 4.8% and 5.9% are considered normal. Levels below 4.8% are usually consistent with hypoglycemia.

Individuals with hypoglycemia can often have symptoms that include: headaches, increased irritability, difficulty concentrating, palpitations, light-headedness, fatigue, anxiety, excessive sweating or urination, leg cramps, dizziness and clamminess. Other symptoms can be related to eating. Patients I see with this diagnosis often feel more tired after meals, feel “sick” when they either miss a meal or if a meal is delayed.

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