I'll try to keep this short as I can so if anyone wants more information please ask.

I have recently (in the last couple of months) finally been diagnosed with a carbohydrate sensitivity, reactive hypoglycemia.

I suffer low blood sugar (2.4mmol/l and under) about 2-3 hours after consuming carbohydrate, especially the single and double sugars found in fruit and table sugar. Lucozade has the most clear effect where my blood sugars will hit 13mmol/l after 1 hour, then 2.4mmol/l after 2 hours. Symptoms include general low blood sugar symptoms and I am prone to passing out, situation depending. The first time I passed out from low blood sugar was at 11 years old, so I've had the condition from that age at least. When fasting my blood sugar remains stable at 4mmol/l.

Since following a lower carbohydrate diet, leaving out sugar and eating fibre with each meal as advised by my specialist - the low blood sugars have improved greatly. I even manage to eat some fruit and not suffer now.

But that's only half the battle.

I have another set of symptoms which may or may not be related to the hypoglycemia. Here's the symptoms:
Severe fatigue, brain fog, confusion, irritability, depression, memory problems, tearfulness, inability to think, anti social, etc...
These symptoms occur in phases which have been worsening and getting longer over the last 5 years. Usually a phase would last a few days and a diet low in carbohydrate (or better, a fast) would help lift the symptoms, but this is isn't the case anymore. Despite my blood sugars improving on a low carbohydrate diet, this second set of symptoms are persisting and I'm unable to shift them.
Bread, pasta, rice, etc, seem to bring on these symptoms or at least worsen them, whereas fruit and veggies I seem to get away with. I was under the impression that sugar is sugar as far as your body is concerned, but maybe there's something else in these specific types of carbohydrates that's aggravating(?).
After eating these foods (bread, rice etc) I instantly feel very fatigued and have to lay down. What goes down the loo is more often than not a light orange colour.

I also have a constant niggly headache in the eye area which has been constant for the last 4 years at least. It's a lot worse recently and is really starting to get to me, pain pills rarely clear it.

Other things that may be relevant - I wake up every night, sometimes more than once, to go to the loo. This is very annoying since it interrupts my sleep. I also have frequent nightmares and move and talk during my sleep, to my husbands despair. I've also been suffering seemingly random bouts of nausea and dizziness more recently.



I'm still in touch with my surgery and am waiting for news on a referral for my headaches. But the set of symptoms including fatigue and brain dog, aren't being dealt with. I've had a full blood screening as well as a gluten intolerance test, and there's nothing of any concern.
I've considered depression and have tried anti depressants which didn't help any. I've also considered an adrenal fatigue due to the excess insulin I was producing so regular, which I still suspect may be the case, but I'm not a doctor and I haven't mentioned it to mine as I don't want him to think I'm self diagnosing from the internet Embarassed


My mother has type 2 diabetes, and my father has a low blood sugar problem which he takes prescribed sugar supplements for, my father has also been diagnosed with ME. The ME diagnosis was after many years of seeing many specialists, doctors still don't know what exactly is happening to him but ME is the closest they can diagnose at the moment. My symptoms are much less severe but worryingly similar to his, fatigue, brain fog, confusion, etc.



If anyone has a similar problem or has any idea what could be going on, it would be appreciated Smile
Did you find this post helpful?
|

User Profile
replied April 25th, 2008
Community Volunteer
Here are some things:

1. I'd like to see a nice list of what you're currently eating on a regular basis including drinks.

2. You NEED to stick on your diet. Unfortunately, change will NOT come fast, it can take months to see the results you'd like, but if you keep eating bread or bad foods now and then you're only going to set yourself back and get worse in the process.

3. Nightmares are common and are in fact linked to food, so don't listen to what you've heard if you have. Going to the bathroom perhaps once a night isn't unusual, it's only when you go like more than three times that it should be considered an issue.

4. What is ME?

5. Expect to get scared you have cancer and get a lot more tests done, only to discover that you have nothing. This is probably all being caused by your sugar imbalance. I've gone through stuff ten times worse than what you mention and thought I had every disease under the sun, not to downplay your symptoms, because trust me, I KNOW they suck, but don't go diagnosing yourself and getting obsessed with internet symptom lists (trust me, it becomes a daily habit if you don't watch yourself) until you're sure a good diet over a period of AT LEAST four months doesn't have any noticeable effect.

6. Sugar is NOT sugar. Fructose, for example, not straight but in fruits, does not stimulate insulin the same way that bread and pasta does, so YES, there is a connection. I still can't eat these things but I can eat plenty of fruit. You're going to need to increase that a bit, sticking with bitter fruits (cranberries, blueberries, etc.) at first is a good idea. Apples are good too.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied April 25th, 2008
Supporter
You like apples don't you? Very Happy

1) Before my diet consisted of bread. And not much else.

Now - I'm eating a lot of chicken, spicy mince, cooked chicken packs from Tesco for convenience when in work, cheese, milk, eggs, I've chanced the odd sandwich within carb limits. Also in my list from the last few weeks on fitday is peanuts, mayonnaise, peanut butter, yogurt, onion/sweetcorn/peppers/carrots/mushrooms/ broccoli, strawberries, sausage, tuna, bananas, apples, ice cream, marmite, baked beans. I'll add a lot of garlic powder, pepper, lemon to cooking.
Drinks include water, coffee (decaf no sugar), and alcohol(!).

Looking at that list there's a bit of room for improvement.

2) I was doing ok until I hit ketosis, then I started crying constantly (driving my husband nuts), being extremely irritable and suffering all the symptoms that the diet is intended to help with. I'll stick with it in future Smile

3) That's good to know. I've always been a somewhat active sleeper so I'm not worried about that. Nightmares are annoying though when I have the mental brain fog, when I wake up I can't tell the difference between my dream and reality for a good few hours. And I sleepwalk, especially when I'm down on carbs.

4) Myalgic Encephalopathy. It's related to chronic fatigue syndrome and shows many of the same symptoms. Not a lot is known about it to date.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied April 26th, 2008
Supporter
Stan Stepanic wrote:


5. Expect to get scared you have cancer and get a lot more tests done, only to discover that you have nothing. This is probably all being caused by your sugar imbalance. I've gone through stuff ten times worse than what you mention and thought I had every disease under the sun, not to downplay your symptoms, because trust me, I KNOW they suck, but don't go diagnosing yourself and getting obsessed with internet symptom lists (trust me, it becomes a daily habit if you don't watch yourself) until you're sure a good diet over a period of AT LEAST four months doesn't have any noticeable effect.

6. Sugar is NOT sugar. Fructose, for example, not straight but in fruits, does not stimulate insulin the same way that bread and pasta does, so YES, there is a connection. I still can't eat these things but I can eat plenty of fruit. You're going to need to increase that a bit, sticking with bitter fruits (cranberries, blueberries, etc.) at first is a good idea. Apples are good too.

Sorry, missed these two completely!

5) So the longer 'phases' of symptoms including brain fog, confusion. fatigue, could be due to the hypoglycemia? (or lack of a good hypo diet). The phrase "I can't brain today" is ever true Rolling Eyes I'm hoping it is the hypoglycemia and not something more serious, and I'm hoping that cutting out flour will be what I was missing.
(A couple of years ago I was dating someone who was gluten intolerant. I adopted his diet for the summer and saw a massive improvement, I had more energy than I'd had in a long time and was actually getting on with things. I assumed what made the difference was the lack of carbs, but maybe it was the lack of flour or something more specific Confused )


I know the danger of looking up symptoms online, especially ones like fatigue where a large number of conditions can apply. Before I was diagnosed I spent days and days going through what must have been every page that would come up on Google!


6) Fruit is dodgy for me. A year ago, pineapple would have caused a low blood sugar and a painful belly. Now, as long as it's not on an empty stomach, I can eat all the berries and apples I want (to my knowledge!).
But yes fructose is better than the complex starches in potatoes and pasta - they give me instant fatigue which I still don't understand. Complex carbs I've always thought were 'good' as they take longer to break down, but they're a bigger problem for me in that they appear to cause the brain fog and fatigue rather than low blood sugar (which the simpler sugars cause).
|
Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied April 30th, 2008
Community Volunteer
Yes, brain fog and all of that is directly related to sugar problems. It's quite simple, the brain really can only function on glucose and it has no ability to store it in itself, so it's very sensitive to any changes in the level in the blood because this is the only way it can get it. If it's low, it starts to shut down, just like a car low on gas. Mental symptoms tend to be predominant because the rest of the body has other ways of continuing like fat and such, but the brain does not.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied May 1st, 2008
Supporter
Indeed, glucose is the only fuel the brain can use. Whereas the body can use fat for fuel. Also bare in mind excess protein is converted to glucose.

What's worrying me, and making me wonder if these are hypoglycemia symptoms, is the prolonged periods that I suffer brain fog. It can go on for days without relief but I find it difficult to believe that no glucose has found it's way to my brain in that time, my blood sugars may have been perfectly stable but still the brain fog doesn't lift. Maybe it takes a few days for normal brain function to resume, but I'm not sure of the biology behind these 'long term' symptoms so I'm a bit lost for an explanation there.

When I was on too low carb, only 30g a day, I could easily explain brain fog away. Like you said the brain needs glucose, and I wasn't supplying enough for basic function. But surely the first injection of glucose you have would go straight to the brain, and lift the symptoms? Despite a low blood sugar in 2 hours time and brain fog returning, I would have thought there's be a temporary relief at least. Unless of course it takes time for normal brain function to resume.

I mentioned adrenal fatigue. The reason I got into that subject was because of the role of adrenalin in preventing a hypo. If blood sugar is dropping low and fast, glycogen stores are utilized as we know, hence the little rise after the low. But adrenalin also plays a role in stabalising blood sugar. So if blood sugars are swinging out of control on a daily basis, your body is going to get very tired, including your adrenal glands. Prolonged fatigue and brain fog are symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

I may be a long way off with that, but one day I'll confirm it either way Smile
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied May 1st, 2008
Supporter
A better question:

Do you, as a hypoglycemic, suffer prolonged brain fog, fatigue, depression symptoms, etc? (or used to, if you're good now)
|
Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied May 1st, 2008
Community Volunteer
Yes, I did. As far as I could assume, it was because I was having blood sugar problems over an extended period of time, which the brain was just not used to, thus the symptoms. It has a balance just like anything else. Imagine dumping a bunch of gasoline into a lake. Just because you put clear water in it to filter it out doesn't mean the effects of it (plants, fish, etc.) will magically appear the next day, takes time.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied May 1st, 2008
Supporter
Then I hope those symptoms improve soon Smile
|
Did you find this post helpful?