Hypoglycemia: Is this even a real thing?

I met this woman at a traditional Irish dinner last night who told me she was a "hypoglycemic."

Now, I've heard people claim this before, but I'm pretty sure it isn't a real thing.  I mean, what?  Does her body make too much insulin?  Anyone, ANYONE who doesn't eat is going to have a drop in sugar and maybe feel faint or confused.  What's different about being a hypoglycemic?

She told me that when she's hypoglycemic, she's "retarded."  I know, not cool to use that word.  But that's what she said.  I was kinda like, ok, that sounds like low blood sugar.

But then she told me that she had taken "a lot of blood tests" before and the hypoglycemia didn't "show up" on them.  But then, she said, she had a fasting glucose overnight and they tested her, and then they gave her some sort of sugar drink and she said that that caused her to "freak out" and get dizzy, and that's how they knew she was hypoglycemic.

Is it just me, or does that make no sense whatsoever?

I tried to explain to her that a sugary liquid would effectively "cure" her hypoglycemia, not make her "freak out."  But she just looked at me blankly, like so many people do so often when they just DON'T GET IT (but believe they do). 

I asked her what, exactly, it means for her to be "hypoglycemic."  She said, "Diabetics, when they drink juice, that, like, makes them spring to life!  But for me, juice, like, destroys me."

Ummmmm... that doesn't make any sense.  At all.  I told her that if I drank juice right now, it would make my sugar go through the roof.  I would have to inject insulin to counter-act it.  She said, "Exactly!  You have insulin so that the juice won't destroy you."

Ay ay ay.  What's the point of trying with some people?

But seriously, folks, is hypoglycemia even a real condition?  Does anyone have any information to offer about it?

there are 2 kinds of hypoglycemia: fasting hypoglycemia (anyone can get this when they don't eat) and reactive hypoglycemia. reactive hypoglycemia happens when a lot of CHO containing foods are dumped into the body at once. the pancreas over reacts and shoots out too much insulin in response to the food, causing low blood sugar.

i had a patient who had reactive hypoglycemia. she was in her late 70s and her diagnosis just didn't make sense UNTIL she told me she had been bulimic for 40 years. her body was incredibly used to large amounts of food being introduced to her system at one time, so her pancreas was used to spitting out tons of insulin. once she was treated for the bulimia, her body didn't readjust so she kept having low blood sugars. she also still had "food fears" so she had no fat in her diet, and hardly any protein. the CHO she ate were being broken down quickly, but the insulin was still working in her system, causing low blood sugars.

so, yes, hypoglycemia is a real thing. i don't necessarily know about the lady you were speaking with... she didn't seem to describe it very well, but it's very possible for non-diabetics to develop hypoglycemia.

i don't have any medical information regarding it, but my mom is hypoglycemic apparently. if she doesn't eat regularly, she gets similar symptoms to my lows: dizzy, confused/fluttered, short tempered/emotional, trembles, cold, weak, pale, etc. all it takes is some juice and food to cure it usually, and it usually happens if she's skipped lunch or waiting more than 3hours between meals without a snack. she can also sense it coming on, the same we can feel ourselves start to go low. she's the only person i've ever known who has those symptoms when they skip eating though.

i kinda wonder if her "addiction" to coca cola has something to do with her trying to avoid the symptoms. she drinks quite a lot and has for as long as i can remember and doesn't have a regular eating pattern either.

she's been tested multiple times for diabetes(since her dad was dx'ed with T2 in his 50's/60's, her oldest son has T2 and i have T1) but has obviously come up negative in the tests. i don't know if they've tested her for hypoglycemia or not, i don't recall her ever telling me that, but considering her, myself and my cousin all tested negative for celiac despite having the symptoms, especially in my cousin's case where she can't even eat most crackers or breads without spending the night and next day ill, i don't know if i would really trust the test to be accurate.

i donno about this woman, but maybe she's just confused about it and how her body reacts??

Oh, thank you, that finally makes sense!  It sounds like she had reactive hypoglycemia.

[quote user="Melissa"]She told me that when she's hypoglycemic, she's "retarded."  I know, not cool to use that word.  But that's what she said[/quote]


I hate, hate, hate (!!!!!!!!) when people say things like that.

yes my dad has it and literally he looks like a diabetic with a low, he gets all sweaty an dissoriented .. i actually feel bad for him when it happens lol.. My mom claims she has hypoglycemia but never diagnosed, im like i think ur mistaking hypoglycemia for that really hungry feeling, your blood sugar doesnt actually drop, she is also one of those people who claims she has fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and blah blah blahhhhhhhhh

My dad has been saying for years that he has hypolycemia, but he says a lot of things that aren't true. I didn't actually doubt him though until my son was diagnosed with T1D. I don't think he has a real issue with BG, I think it's his blood pressure that makes him feel "off" because he has known issues with high blood pressure.

On the other hand, I had a best friend whose sugar went low often while were working and looking back on it I know those were symptoms of low BG. She never said she had hypoglycemia, it was another condition she had that affected BG.

There's no reason it couldn't be real. Bodies do weird things. Ours stop producing insulin. There's no reason others' couldn't produce too much after eating (hypoglycemia). There's no such thing as normal functioning because we're all on some continuum anyway.