When your blood sugar (glucose) drops below a specific level, it could be detrimental to your health. The medical name for this common condition is hypoglycemia. There are lots of reasons why blood sugar may fall in the danger zone; many of which are associated with drugs that used to treat diabetes. Although these medications are essential to maintain glucose levels within a healthy variety, they may raise the risk of depression in some patients.
To understand why people with diabetes are more prone to hypoglycemia and thusly to depression, it’s necessary to talk about insulin resistance syndrome – one of the most frequent ailments in the Western world. Generally caused by an steady diet of sugary foods, the disease occurs when cells which would ordinarily take sugar from the blood become immune to the action of insulin. Because of this, the hormone may no longer lower blood sugar to healthy levels, which induces hyperglycemia, a potentially fatal illness.
So as to restore equilibrium to their blood, people who have insulin resistance diabetes or syndrome must take drugs that mimic the effects of insulin. But taking these medications is far from a precise science. Because they’re injected rather released as required by the body, it’s often quite easy to take more artificial insulin than necessary, which might lead to glucose levels to fall to the unhealthy, hypoglycemic variety.
But how do fluctuations in blood glucose affect your mood and frame of mind? If we begin with the simple, indisputable truth that all biochemical reactions are driven by energy, it’s easy to understand why the brain responds the way it does when sugar (the sugar our body’s use as energy) drops below acceptable levels. Here’s how it works. Threatened with energy starvation, the mind prepares the body for deprivation by sending messages to the adrenal glands to release strong stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
These stress hormones help convert stored sugar molecules (glycogen) into sugar to provide the mind the energy it needs to complete essential operations. However, this emergency action has a price. Scientists have known for many years that stress hormones put off a chemical chain reaction in the mind. Specifically, the potent cortisol has a suppressive effect on dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that help fight stress by generating feelings of satisfaction and wellbeing. It’s not surprising then that many antidepressants help stimulate the production of the neurotransmitters in patients with deficiencies. It’s also not surprising that elevated cortisol levels are common in people who suffer from episodic and clinical depression.
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The symptoms of the illnesses could be more difficult to control if they’re caused by an underlying illness like hypoglycemia. Whether it’s due to insulin resistance syndrome or bad diet, low blood sugar precipitates the release of stress hormones which can wreak havoc on our psychological state. Because they can’t restrain their own insulin levels, the former group is in a higher risk of depression than the latter. But if the individual has yet to develop Type 2 diabetes, blood glucose levels could be normalized in time.
The adoption of a hypoglycemic diet, for example, may help restore healthful glucose, insulin, and stress hormone levels in a way of months. The amount of biochemical reactions that take part with the uterus from healthy blood glucose to hypoglycemia and ultimately to melancholy make it highly unlikely that tablets could ever address all of them. Furthermore, the majority of the antidepressants on the market today are really powerful, addictive, highly toxic medications that carry with them a whole range of serious side effects. So while the desire to attempt and cure all that ails you with a pill could be tough to resist, we implore you to do that! Because they can be converted into sugar far faster than protein or fat, carbohydrates are the food of choice for rapid energy. And the organ which produces the most frequent and insistent requests for fuel is your mind.
Did you know?
Your brain consumes one-third of your entire glucose intake? But when it doesn’t get what it needs, our smartest organ panics and flooding our system with stress hormones. For a hypoglycemic person, these hormones are both a boon and a curse. Stress hormones rescue them from suffering the most serious symptoms of low blood sugar, but at exactly the same time induce them to function in emergency mode until the crisis was resolved.
The only problem for those who have the disorder is the next crisis is just around the corner. It’s thus not at all rare for a individual with persistently low blood glucose to suffer from chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. When blood glucose levels are consistently low, the issue can often be corrected by diet. For folks that suffer with diabetes, injecting too much insulin will lead to glucose levels to fall, sometimes precipitously. The exact same is true when diabetics don’t eat enough before a period of intense exercise or physical activity.
Symptoms like blurry vision, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, and abrupt mood changes may occur shortly after glucose levels enter the danger zone. Signs of depression, however, are unlikely to manifest themselves as expeditiously. Typically, the ones that have low blood sugar will become a funk for which they don’t have any explanation or apparent cause. It’s only later when they learn they are hypoglycemic the symptoms of the disorder begin to make sense. For people who have experienced bouts of hypoglycemia before, whether diabetic or not, eating high-carbohydrate snacks are often the best medicine.
A cup of baking soda or juice or a couple of hard candy should boost glucose levels sufficient to alleviate the symptoms of moderate hypoglycemia. People who have depression, however, should speak with their physician as soon as possible. Although both are undeniably linked, it’s not true that everyone who experiences spells of low blood sugar may also experience depression. The etiology of the mental illness is much too complex to ascribe to one risk factor or even to a precipitating condition.
What we do know, however, is that individuals with diabetes that are depressed have a 40 percent greater chance of a hypoglycemic episode than those that are not depressed. Once more, researchers consider the stress hormones that are released when blood glucose levels fall too low increase the probability of depression for a number of patients. Because they’re more susceptible to hypoglycemic episodes, the majority of the study that links depression to low blood glucose has involved diabetics. Numerous studies haven’t only found that depressed patients with diabetes had a significantly shorter time for their first major hypoglycemic episode, but also that they were more likely to undergo additional episodes in the long run.
Although more testing is needed, scientists have established a clear association between depression and hypoglycemia. While not definitive, there seems ample evidence to suggest that low blood glucose might be a risk factor for depression. It strikes some patients with hypoglycemia and others isn’t at all surprisingly, because the biochemistry of well-being is well beyond our ken. We can, however, promote the ones which are at elevated risk of hypoglycemia, i.e., diabetics, to track their glucose levels on a regular basis. This easy step ought to help them reduce their risk of depression in the long term.