Research Paper about Hypoglycemia

Essay by jennaypcCollege, UndergraduateA-, February 2007

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Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by an abnormally low level of blood sugar (glucose) in the body. It is most commonly associated with diabetes, however there are a small amount of conditions in which hypoglycemics have never experienced any form of diabetes. Basically, hypoglycemia is the body's inability to properly handle the large amounts of sugar that are usually present in the typical North American diet. Non diabetic hypoglycemia is characterized typically by the over production of insulin by the pancreas, which causes blood sugar levels to drop to an unhealthy level.

There is no one specific cause of hypoglycemia, but there are several underlying factors that can contribute to its occurrence, if not cause it. Some external factors that may play a role in causing or enhancing ones chances of getting hypoglycemia are: certain medications, mistaken use of someone else's diabetes medication, and heavy alcohol use. There are also uncontrollable causes such as: endocrine deficiencies (not producing correct hormone levels for the body), some critical illnesses (such as anorexia nervosa, hepatitis or severe illnesses of the liver), beta cell tumors, and hyperinsulinemia (the bodies overproduction of insulin).

Hyperinsulinemia occurs when the pancreas produces and releases too much insulin into the blood and, in turn, the liver is unable to release glucose into the bloodstream, resulting in a low level of blood sugar.

The brain needs a steady supply of glucose in order to properly function, and so hypoglycemia may effect your brain and, in turn, display some of the following symptoms: confusion, abnormal behavior, visual disturbances (double or blurred vision), or seizures and/ or loss of conscienceness (both of which are more uncommon). Other mental symptoms could include sleepiness or anxiousness. Some physical symptoms that may appear are: shakiness, perspiration, difficulty speaking, lightheadedness and hunger. Often hypoglycemics will experience...