As you likely know, fibromyalgia is a frustrating and often painful disorder that you really have to take care of.
It becomes a lot more difficult to treat when you’re also dealing with other types of disorders at the same time.
Hypoglycemia and fibromyalgia frequently get mixed up during diagnoses because they have similar symptoms, but it’s also common for the two disorders to go hand in hand. Why is this the case?
Let’s take a closer look at both of these disorders so that we can understand how they’re linked.
What Does Hypoglycemia Look Like?
Hypoglycemia is another term for low blood sugar. Many people associate it with diabetes, but there are a variety of other problems that could end up resulting in low blood sugar as well.
The factors that play into hypoglycemia are poor diet, an inability to deal with insulin properly, pregnancy, and other concurrent disorders (including fibromyalgia, which we’re going to discuss more below).
Women are also more likely to be hypoglycemic before their menstruation cycle begins.
Basically, the carbohydrates in our bodies are not being used as they should be, and instead of getting burned so that we can use them for energy, they’re getting stored into our bodies as fat or they’re being digested without being used at all.
So how can you know that you’ve got hypoglycemia?
What are the main symptoms that you are looking for when you want to determine whether or not you have a positive diagnosis of the disorder?
What are doctors looking for when they check you out?
Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with hypoglycemia.
Weight gain that is difficult (or in the worst cases, impossible) for the person suffering from it to be able to drop the weight in a healthy manner.
Headaches, dizziness, and other physical symptoms related to the brain.
Mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Irritability is also quite common in those who have hypoglycemia.
Nervousness (not to the point that anxiety gets to) is also quite common.
Many people with hypoglycemia will notice that they end up sweating a lot more than the average person, and they may be more sensitive to cold and to other changes in the weather.
You may notice that you have a harder time focusing on tasks, understanding what people are saying, and concentrating.
In severe cases, the hands and feet may feel swollen or numb, or you may have a tingling sensation in them.
You crave sugar or other carbohydrates, which is your body trying to compensate for the sugar that isn’t being used for energy.
Shaking, trembling, muscle spasms, heart palpitations, and other severe physical reactions to a lack of sugar.
A person who is hypoglycemic may have only a few, many, or even all of these symptoms when they are having a problem with low blood sugar.
It depends on the individual and what they specifically need.
Where Does Hypoglycemia Play Into Fibromyalgia?
Okay, so where does hypoglycemia play into the whole fibromyalgia diagnosis? Good question, and it’s important to start with this piece of information – there’s a difference between fasting hypoglycemia and what is known as reactive hypoglycemia.
They have the same symptoms, but reactive hypoglycemia’s symptoms happen at a different time.
Where fasting hypoglycemia happens because the body isn’t getting enough carbs (hence the name), reactive hypoglycemia happens when you have a major influx of carbohydrates into the body.
Basically, a couple of hours after you’re done eating a large number of carbs, those carbs begin to digest, and your small intestine reacts poorly to the amount of sugar that you’ve ingested.
Reactive hypoglycemia happens because you aren’t eating right and your eating patterns are all out of whack.
That being said, how do you know if you’re having reactive hypoglycemia as a reaction to what you’ve eaten or how you’ve eaten, and that you aren’t just having a flare-up of your fibromyalgia?
It can be hard to figure it out at first because there are a few symptoms that overlap with your fibromyalgia.
You may feel like you’re dealing with fibro fog, you may feel a lot more tired than you were before it came on, and you may feel incredibly cold.
You may start to feel nervous or irritable as well, and for some fibromyalgia patients, those may be normal things that you deal with.
But, then take a look at all of the symptoms we listed above. There are a few that don’t really overlap. The biggest is the carb cravings.
If you are noticing that you are at a point where you are craving sugar, caffeine, and simple carbohydrates, and it’s almost to a point where it’s uncontrollable, you definitely want to make sure that you take care of your reactive hypoglycemia.
Don’t go crazy on the carbs and sugar (because it will just start the cycle all over again in a couple of hours), but eat something that will make the craving go away.
Within 10 minutes of eating the sugar, you will start to see some relief from the symptoms. Some of them may linger, but in general, eating sugar should give you some help.
The important thing is to not ignore it. If you do, the reactive hypoglycemia could end up turning into type 1 diabetes or some other form of insulin disorder, which means that you’ll have to take more medication and deal with more treatments. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.
Working with your doctor in order to determine a diet and a treatment plan for your fibromyalgia and hypoglycemia is absolutely vital, or you could end up with further complications regarding your health.
It can be frustrating to have both disorders, which makes it that much more important for you to have a proper diagnosis and care of each one.
If you have questions or you want to get more information about both and/or either of these disorders, make an appointment with the specialist that cares for your fibromyalgia.