The Story of Understanding The Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

Dr. Jean-Francois Yale, MD, CSPQ, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses the symptoms of Hypoglycemia.

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Dr. Jean-Francois Yale, MD, CSPQ, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses the symptoms of Hypoglycemia.
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Dr. Jean-Francois Yale, MD, CSPQ, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses the symptoms of Hypoglycemia.

So hypoglycemia is usually when we don't have enough sugar in the blood. And the sugar is important to make our different organs function well, like the muscles, the heart, and particularly the brain. So when the sugar comes to be too low, the brain senses that and tries to make sure that the sugar will go back up. And one of the things that does, it asked the body to secrete stress hormones that will make the sugar go up.

Now, why stress hormones? Because when we’re stressed, it's not supposed to be because we’ll have an exam in half an hour. In nature, we’re supposed to be stressed because there's a bear in front of us in the forest. And we have to prepare because of the bear to either run away or climb a tree or, if we’re really crazy, fight with the bear.

So the body prepares us for that and the stress hormones, what they do is, they cause a series of changes such as perspiration; it makes us slippery if we fight with someone. It makes our heart pound and breathe faster to help us run. It will make us have tremor cause we’re ready to move very fast. If I ask you to go and get a ball under the balcony and, as you're walking under the balcony, I say “By the way, be careful there's big spiders under the balcony.” You’ll become nervous and if any grass touches you, you’ll be very fast to move. So that's useful when we fight. So there's a series and we become white like a sheet so that we don't bleed if were scratched. So all these things are useful, but also the body, with stress hormone, increases the sugar levels tremendously in the blood so that our muscles will have a lot of sugar as we run. When hypoglycemia occurs, the body knows that.

So by giving out stress hormones, it makes the sugar come up in the blood, which is the desired action. But the stress hormones, they don't know they're there just to make the sugar go up. They do all of their actions so the person with hypoglycemia, will sweat, will have tremor, will have the heart pounding, will feel nervous without knowing why. So these unnecessary symptoms actually become very useful because it will allow the person with diabetes having hypoglycemia to recognize it and to treat it in time.

Presenter: Dr. Jean-François Yale

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