A general malaise may be one of the more recognizable symptoms of hypoglycemia in women. Others may experience differing physical complaints as well. Examining biological and other health processes can help understand the cause of low blood sugar in women and what the solutions might be.
Low Blood Sugar Causes
Almost all foods contain sugars or starches. Some, like grapes, have at their core glucose, the simplest sugar. Other foods, such as citrus fruits and dairy products, contain naturally occurring fructose, lactose, or sucrose. All of these are complex carbohydrates (also includes starches and cellulose), and must be broken down by the body’s metabolic processes into useable glucose.
When these processes fail, blood sugar level can spike or drop. These changes can be caused by the failure of the liver or other organs to properly convert the complex sugars into useable glucose. This condition lead to diabetes in some; for others it can range from mildly life-altering to deadly.
Low Blood Sugar Side Effects
Symptoms of hypoglycemia in women are generally and easily recognizable. Other than anemia, there are few other disorders producing the same set of problems.
Hypoglycemia presents in varying degrees of severity. For those women experiencing only mild hypoglycemia, common symptoms are inappropriate or excessive hunger, feelings of nervousness, mild sensations of nausea, and rapid heartbeat. The skin may become cold and clammy to the touch.
The next level, moderate hypoglycemia, may incorporate all of the milder symptoms with some additional indicators. A woman with this level may also be short-tempered, nervous, confused, and even afraid. Vision may blur; incoordination, causing feelings of unsteadiness and even trouble walking, may occur.
At its most severe, hypoglycemia can lead to passing out. While unconscious (or just before), seizures can occur. If medical treatment is not sought immediately severe hypoglycemia can lead to coma and death.
A good warning sign of trouble is “night sweats”. Although this may usually be associated with menopause in older women, it is not always attributable to that source. Sometimes, if a woman has had an episode of mild hypoglycemia during the night, she may awaken with a headache or excessively tired. She may have unusual, horrific nightmares. She may perspire so much that her nightclothes and sheets are soaked in sweat.
Any woman suspecting she may be symptomatic should consult a physician to get to the root of the problem. It may merely be dietary: women on overzealous weight-loss programs, for example, may not be getting proper nourishment. Nursing mothers and pregnant women are also prone to the disorder as their bodies are being stripped of nutrients and minerals by either a growing fetus or a nursing infant. For them, a vitamin supplement and a diet of smaller, but more frequent meals, may resolve the problem.
It is important to pay close attention to any potential symptoms. Low blood sugar is far more common than hyperglycemia (or high blood sugar) and affects thousands of women each year.