top of page

Reactive hypoglycemia: What it is, how to avoid it and health risks

Reactive hypoglycemia, also called postprandial hypoglycemia, is a medical term that describes recurrent episodes of symptomatic hypoglycemia that occur two to four hours after eating a meal high in carbohydrates or glucose. Thus, it occurs as a result of the imbalance between glucose and insulin levels in the blood and can affect people who suffer from diabetes or not.

After all, what are the causes?

According to the doctor. Andrea Pereira, the clinical nutrition support doctor and co-founder of the NGO Obesidade Brasil, generally speaking, there are no defined causes for reactive hypoglycemia. When symptoms occur, she explains, the goal is to investigate diagnoses of pancreatic diseases, such as cancer. In addition, having pre-diabetes, rare enzyme deficiencies, as well as stomach surgeries such as bariatric surgery can also be related to hypoglycemia.

What are the proper blood glucose limits?

Generally, the ideal is to maintain levels between 70 and 90 mg/dL during fasting periods. After food intake, these values ​​may rise and normalize within 2 hours.

What is the difference between hypo and hyperglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is a low blood sugar (glucose) level (<70 mg/dL), whereas hyperglycemia is the opposite, that is, an increase in blood sugar. According to the Brazilian Society of Diabetes, the second case is very common in people with diabetes or during the use of some medicines, such as steroids or steroids, for example.

Symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia

Symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia are:

· Cold sweating

· malaise

· Feeling faint

· Risk of imminent death

· Abdominal pain

· Nausea and vomiting

· Fainting and coma (in more extreme cases)

How is reactive hypoglycemia diagnosed?

At first, the diagnosis of the condition is made from the perception of the most common symptoms. Then tests will be done. However, the diagnosis is much more common in people suffering from diabetes. Eating habits should also be taken into account when getting the diagnosis.

What's the best way to fix it?

As reactive hypoglycemia is related to stress, alcohol consumption, and high glycemic content, the best way to prevent it is to change habits. Thus, it is important to maintain a balanced diet, avoiding large consumption of high glycemic foods or going long hours without eating. In addition, regular physical activity, yoga, and meditation, for example, can reduce stress, one of the triggers for hypoglycemia.

Is it possible to prevent reactive hypoglycemia?

According to the expert, it is possible to prevent reactive hypoglycemia. So, here are some guidelines:

1. Eat small meals throughout the day;

2. Limit the intake of sugary foods and drinks, such as desserts, sweet teas, and sweetened fruit juices, for example;

3. Include lean proteins and healthy fats in the diet;

4. Eat fiber-rich foods;

5. Limit or avoid alcohol

6. Limit or avoid caffeine (no more than 5 cups a day)

7. Practice regular physical activity.


bottom of page