© Reprinted with permission by Dr. Joan Mathews-Larson
Mental health professionals often fail to recognize hypoglycemic symptoms. They attempt to explain them as psychological phenomenons. If you have puzzled over noticeable changes in your moods, thoughts and feelings don't be so quick to accept them as psychological disorders. Hypoglycemia can cause severe metabolic changes in your brain and nervous system, creating altered moods, emotional instability and behavior changes.
The Health Recovery Center Hypoglycemic Symptometer helps people evaluate their symptoms and decide if they want to seek verification with a lab test. Some of the items on the Symptometer checklist are self-explanatory, but some need clarification:
Some clarifying symptoms before beginning the test:
1) Unstable moods, frequent mood swings: Frequent changes in mood are a symptom of hypoglycemia. As brain levels of glucose fluctuate, so do moods. The changes occur in the course of twenty-four hours, in contrast to the mood swings of manic depression, which occur over weeks or months.
2) Bad dreams, sleep walking or talking. These are signs of low levels of B6, which is destroyed in metabolizing refined sugars.
3) Crying Spells. Self-Explanatory
4 and 5) Blurred vision and frequent thirst: These symptoms suggest diabetes; a five-hour glucose tolerance test is in order.
6-9) Headaches, forgetfulness, muscle aches, and binging on sweets: Self-Explanatory
10) Confusion: Difficulty thinking clearly, Health Recovery Center clients have described these feelings as "thinking through peanut butter."
11) Nervous stomach: Heavy caffeine users often complain of this problem.
12) Poor sleep: Difficulty falling asleep (insomnia); Waking often during the night; not being able to fall asleep again easily.
13) Nervous exhaustion, excessive fatigue: This means feeling as if you are coming apart at the seams or are strung out emotionally.
14) Indecision: Not being able to make up your mind about every day matters.
15) Can't work under pressure: Self-explanatory
16) Craves Sweets: Non diet carbonated beverages often contain up to ten teaspoons of sugar; if you're drinking a lot of these sodas, you may be satisfying an unrecognized craving for sweets.
17) Depression: This problem sometimes goes unrecognized, especially in males. Measure depression by asking yourself if, when you take your emotional temperature, you often feel sad inside.
18) Feelings of suspicion, paranoia: Hypoglycemics may experience these feelings as a result of altered brain chemistry.
19) Light- headedness, dizziness: These are symptoms of hypoglycemia; you may have noticed them in the late mornings or afternoons when your blood sugar drifts too low. Some hypoglycemics also have abnormally low blood pressure and may feel light-headed when they stand up suddenly.
20) Anxiety: In this context, anxiety refers to an ongoing state, rather than concern about specific events.
21) Fearfulness: Fear of people and places usually is rooted in the biochemical status of the brain.
22) Tremors, shakes: This means involuntary shaking.
23) Night sweats: Yhis indicates exhausted adrenals due to continual demands for emergency adrenalin to raise falling blood sugar levels.
24) Heart palpitations: Pounding heart or rapid pulse
25) Noticeable lift after one alcoholic drink: Alcohol is more potent than other sugars and acts faster to reach the brain and relieve hypoglycemic symptoms.
26) Hunger after meals: Self-explanatory
27) Anti-Social feelings: Avoidance of social situations, feeling withdrawn around people.
28) Irritability, sudden anger: The sudden outpouring of adrenalin to stop the fall in blood sugar, can and does trigger sudden irritability and anger.
29) Lack of energy: This is a common symptom of hypoglycemia.
30) Magnifies insignificant events: Do you blow things out of proportion?
31) Poor memory: By this I mean short-term memory. Do you forget why you came looking for something? Do you continually have to write down appointments and make other notes to yourself? Sugar is a destroyer of Vitamin B1 (thiamine), a key nutrient for memory recall.
32) Inability to concentrate: Do you have trouble reading a book or sticking to a project?
33) Sleepy after meals: A meal should give you a lift, not make you sleepy. Sleepiness in the late afternoon might also be caused by declining glucose levels (hypoglycemia).
34) Chronic worrier: Self-Explanatory
35) Difficulty awakening in the morning: This problem occurs among nutritionally malnourished persons. (It may also be a symptom of low thyroid function.
Instructions for scoring the symptometer (found in the book 7 Weeks to Sobriety and Depression Free, Naturally) appear at the top of the chart. Don't feel discouraged if your score is high; it is only a barometer of your present emotional and physical state.
Once specific problems are identified, we will get on with the job of repairing the damage. In fact, I expect many will score significantly high. You can then choose one of two courses:
Adopt the hypoglycemic diet (as explained in the book 7 Weeks to Sobriety and/or Depression Free, Naturally) and follow it faithfully for three weeks. You absolutely will be able to see your moods and energy gradually improving. With this approach you bypass the lab work, but accomplish the same goal.
2) For those who need a powerful push to make change happen, the reality of looking at your own five-hour glucose tolerance test is invaluable. You can see the actual roller coaster ups and downs you live with and take heart that your unstable moods are a product of your chemistry, not your personality... and that it is, of course, correctable!
©This short article comes to you through the courtesy of Joan Mathews-Larson whose best-selling books Seven Weeks to Sobriety and followup, Depression Free, Naturally lay out many physical anomalies rooted in chemistry, and correctable with proper nutrition and orthomolecular medicine. More information on Dr. Joan Mathews-Larson, her clinic Health Recovery Center and the supplements/formulas she uses to address the addictions and mental health issues can be found in her books.