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Having weak heart beat. Unable to focus. Blood glucose 79. Cause?

May 2014
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Answered by

Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 6506 Questions
Hello, I have been having these "episodes" for the last few years (about 4 years). They occur very suddenly, full blown in about a minute. I start to sweat a lot, I get very shaky, weak, a fast heart beat, and feel faint. I am unable to focus on anything other than food. After I eat like a madman my symptoms go away. It does not always happen when I'm hungry since there have been times that it has happened a short time after I have eaten. I bought a glucose meter and checked my blood during an episode. It was low (79) but didn't seem low enough to cause that type of reaction. I have noticed that when I eat a lot of protein I can ward off these episodes. But it requires a good amount of protein, because I have eaten normal levels of protein and still have experienced one of these episodes. Not sure if the protein thing has anything to do with it, but it is the only thing I have done that seems to make a difference. Any ideas?
Posted Tue, 5 Nov 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Lowering of glycemic response by proteins

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing in to us.

I have read through your query in detail.

After having reviewed literature on the topic, I find that adding protein to your diet can significantly reduce the glycemic response in an individual and this varies from day to day. In other words, adding proteins to your food can delay the amount of glucose which is released slowly into blood. This can cause a more stabilized balance of glucose levels and hence less tendency of your symptoms. A recorded blood sugar level of 79 further shows that it is low during these episodes.

Hope your query is answered.
Do write back in case of doubts.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having weak heart beat. Unable to focus. Blood glucose 79. Cause? 22 minutes later
Thank you for your response. I do not intend to sound rude but it sounds like you just restated what I already said, that protein reduces these symptoms. I guess this may be my fault since I did not ask more specific questions. Is this something that I should be concerned about? What causes this? Is there some type of underlying issues that are causing these episodes? Is there a way to cure this other than just control the symptoms? What will occur if I'm in a situation where I am not able to eat when one of these episodes hit?
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 14 hours later
Brief Answer:
Please find detailed answer below

Detailed Answer:
You are welcome and thanks for writing in with an update.

You are just being honest with your problems and I had anticipated a feedback and questions from your end, thanks again.

I will answer your questions and subsequently reason my earlier views on protein reducing the symptoms.

1. Is this something that you should be concerned about?

Yes, please don't ignore your symptoms even if it occurs occasionally. You need to take expert consultation.

2. What causes this? Is there some type of underlying issues that are causing these episodes?

This is seen in those with diabetes in whom the sugar level may reach dangerously low levels while on treatment.

If one doesn't have diabetes, ongoing problems with low blood sugar can be caused by:

Diseases of the liver, kidneys, or pancreas.
Metabolic problems.
Certain medicines.
Alcohol use.
Stomach surgery.

3. Is there a way to cure this other than just control the symptoms?

If you have an underlying cause, taking necessary treatment should help. To diagnose hypoglycemia, your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your health and any medicines you take. You will need tests to check your blood sugar levels.

You may also need tests to look for or rule out health problems that could be affecting your blood sugar levels.

4. What will occur if you're in a situation where you're not able to eat when one of these episodes hit?

You can treat a sudden episode of low blood sugar by eating or drinking something with sugar in it. Some examples of "quick-sugar foods" are fruit juice, soda, milk, raisins, and hard candy. You may also take glucose tablets. This is usually all that's needed to get your blood sugar level back up in the short term.

People with severe hypoglycemia usually pass out. If you pass out, someone should call 911 right away. If you have a health problem that tends to cause low blood sugar, it’s a good idea to teach your family, friends, and coworkers about what symptoms to watch for and what to do. You may also want to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace.

Speaking of what you say has been restated by me in my earlier reply, I would like to draw your attention to a research article "The Effects of Fat and Protein on Glycemic Responses in Nondiabetic Humans Vary with Waist Circumference, Fasting Plasma Insulin, and Dietary Fiber Intake".

This article clearly describes how across the range of 0–30 g, protein and fat reduced glycemic responses independently from each other in a linear, dose-dependent fashion, with protein having ∼3-times the effect of fat.

Please go through the original article through the following link
Therefore giving you the right information after thorough literature search on your topic is most important to me and I would be glad to discuss any further clarifications that you might have.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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