Doctors Should Educate the Diabetics
Diabetes results in the setting in of macro vascular and micro vascular complications. The macro vascular complication is the development of the coronary artery disease. The micro vascular complications which involve changes in the capillaries may produce blindness and/ or, kidney failure. Hence, to prevent these vascular complications from occurring, there is need for effective management of diabetes. This involves more intense insulin therapy. This is a great idea, but there is a drawback. Such aggressive insulin treatments may result in severe hypoglycemia (Decreased blood glucose levels).
Diabetes and Hypoglycemia
What is the problem with hypoglycemia? Hypoglycemia can be dangerous as well as life threatening. In contrast, one can happily survive hyperglycemia which can be tolerated for longer periods with no immediate threat to survival. Diabetes is usually associated with increased blood glucose levels. It must therefore, be surprising to know that hypoglycemia is most common in diabetics. This is because it is often difficult to pinpoint the correct dose of insulin for a diabetic as there are so many variables involved
Symptoms of Low Blood Glucose Levels
In many diabetics, the onset of hypoglycemia is accompanied by recognizable symptoms. These include shivering, profuse sweating and hallucinations, followed by unconsciousness. This is followed further by coma and death. However, there are two instances where the patients do not have an opportunity to recognize the onset of hypoglycemia. One of these is the onset of asymptomatic hypoglycemia. This means that hypoglycemia may set in without presenting symptoms and this can prove fatal for the individual who is unable to take corrective measures.
The other case is the onset of nocturnal hypoglycemia. This indicates that this hypoglycemia strikes at night when the individual is fast asleep. This means that the affected individual is totally unaware of the danger and he may never wake up.
Chemicals May Induce Hypoglycemia
Insulin overdose may not be the only cause for hypoglycemia. Some chemicals can also cause drop in the blood glucose levels. The best example here is that of the ackee fruit. This fruit is native to Africa. The fruit itself is harmless and is nutritious. The problem comes from the consumption of the unripe fruit. The unripe ackee fruit contains chemicals called hypoglycins which inhibit the oxidation of fatty acids. The liver is a major site for the oxidation of fatty acids and is also the site for the synthesis of glucose.
Failure of the Liver to Release Glucose
It is the function of the liver to release glucose into the circulation whenever there is a shortfall. The synthesis of glucose in the liver is energy intensive and this energy is supplied by the oxidation of fatty acids in the liver. Thus, hypoglycins in the unripe ackee fruit block fatty acid oxidation. Energy conservation decreases and the liver, is unable to produce glucose. Hence, the liver does not replace glucose removed from the circulation by the various tissues. This leads to hypoglycemia and this can occur even in normal individuals. What is important is that doctors should possess knowledge about things like ackee fruit.
Overcoming Hypoglycemic Apprehensions
Many diabetics are afraid of getting hypoglycemia. Hence, they avoid taking the actual dose of insulin as prescribed by the physician. Hence, there is urgent need to overcome this hypoglycemic problem. It is important that they follow the doctors instructions carefully, permitting better control of diabetes.