One especially intriguing case of reactive hypoglycemia that I treated is instructive for several reasons.
First, it demonstrates that treating the condition takes a lot of involvement between the doctor and the patient; it is not solved in a single office visit.
Second, it demonstrates the wide array of symptoms and medical problems associated with this condition.
Bill, a 32-year-old professional, came to me complaining of multiple symptoms, including:
• Increasing fatigue
• Spells of vertigo
• Daily headaches
• Flashing lights in his visual fields
• Muscle spasms
• Muscle aches and pains
He also admitted that he’d been having problems with his temper and frequently exploded at the least provocation. His bad temper was associated with general anxiety and periods of depression that at times seemed overwhelming.
When I asked about his diet, Bill confessed that he had an uncontrollable sweet tooth and drank a lot of sodas. Furthermore, he said that he usually had to eat meals rather early because of intense hunger if he waited.
Lately, he had found himself awakening in the middle of the night.
Bill had been to see a number of doctors, and had gone through a number of medical tests, including blood test and scans of various types.
Eventually, he was told he needed to see a psychiatrist for depression. He also tried several antidepressant medications, but those actually made him feel worse.
Suspecting reactive hypoglycemia, I ordered a three-hour glucose tolerance test, which showed Bill’s blood sugar falling to drastically low levels by the second hour. I asked him how he felt at that time, and he stated that he was very anxious, extremely weak, and trembling.
I also found that Bill had a number of trigger points, especially in his neck and temporalis muscles on the same side of his headaches.
His headaches met the criteria of a migraine.
I talked with Bill about what would be a proper diet for him, outlined an exercise program, and set up special physical therapy to deal with his muscle pain.
I gave him a list of foods to avoid, which would prevent his migraine headaches. These foods included chocolate, sulfites, and all excitotoxins.
I also explained that his muscle problems were a combination of activated trigger points, muscle spasms, and twitches caused by his hypoglycemic diet.
I gave Bill a copy of the glycemic index, and showed him how he could calculate his glycemic load.
When I saw Bill three weeks later, he said he felt like a new man. Most of his major problems improved: His depression had lifted, he no longer had outbursts of anger, he was sleeping through the night, and his headaches were rare and much milder.
The muscle spasms also improved and eventually went away. Most important to Bill, his level of energy improved dramatically.
I warn all patients that when they first start this type of diet, they may feel worse for the first week or two. But then they will rapidly improve.
It takes great willpower to persist at that point, but the final results are well worth it.
Over time, the craving for sweets and high-glycemic foods will pass, and most patients say they stop thinking about them and soon even find sweetened foods and drinks intolerable.
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