BUL. #45, APRIL 1971
REVISED NOV 1988
HYPOGLYCEMIA ASSOCIATION, INC.
18008 New Hampshire Ave.
Ashton, Md. 20861
HAl RECORD-A-CALL (202) 544-4044
HOW TO LIVE WITH HYPOGLYCEMIA
The best age to be diagnosed aS having hypoglycemia is the earliest age possible, before food habits become firmly established. Infants and young children, we are told, respond the fastest, both in adapting to the treatment and in getting well. The more established the deficiencies and breakdownS, the longer the treatment. Indeed, for most patients, the treatment must become a way of life. When we are sick, we are sick all over. To recover, we must get well all over. This includes proper insight and regularity. This is the holistic approach, which means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
One's attitude to THE DIET FOR. LIVING WITH HYPOGLYCEMIA is of prime importance. The negative thinker would complain, "I am depriving myself (or my family)". The positive thinker would say, "How wonderful to know what to do to help control my bad symptoms." Most individuals feel better after starting THE DIET, but some have reported that after a few months they lost their new-found energy. We can suggest several possible reasons. Since THE DIET reduces or eliminates grains and cereals, a vitamin B deficiency may result. A good multiple vi -mineral supplement may be helpful as will brewer's yeast and liver, if tolerated, for additional B complex.
Also, of importance is vitamin C (ascorbic acid or sodium or calcium ascorbate which is non acidic.) The adrenals contain more vitamin C than any other tissue in the body. Fresh fruits in small portions and vegetables are needed daily. Other possible reasons may be an underlying adrenal cortical incompetence, enzyme deficiencies or liver involvement. It is also quite common to have problems of the gastrointestinal tract, involving digestion, assimilation and elimination. For this it would be wise to find a physician who will pay attention to the possible need for hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes (especially pancreatic enzymes for digesting protein), comfrey-pepsin (for digesting mucUS from the walls of the small intestine), and some form of Lactobacillus acidophilus or kefir milk for favorable intestinal bacteria. After such a program, when needed, the coated tongue becomes pink, the lips smooth, the "lead in the heels" disappears, and there should be a feeling of well-being.
FREQUENT SNACKS ARE REQUIRED IN THE BEGINNING, usually a small serving of fruit, with breakfast within 20 minutes,in the morning, and a hearty bedtime snack with protein and fat (to last through the night). Throughout the day, the number of snacks is an individual matter. The best snacks are miniature meals containing protein, fat and a little carbohydrate such as fruit or a vegetable. The protein and fat result in a sustained blood sugar level. Frequent snacks provide the continuously working heart and brain with the necessary continuous supply of glucose. We will then have fewer accidents, make fewer mistakes, and be less irritable. If wakeful at night, which usually recurs about the same time, have a snack ready (cheese, meat, nuts, hard boiled egg-protein with fat--using a thermos or cooler if necessary). When a patient is subject to seizures, heart palpitations or asthma, the timing of food intake must be exact--always just before going to bed and one hour before the time of an expected attack. In this case, set your alarm to waken you one hour before the usual time of the attack. After one becomes stabilized, carbohydrates may be increased but not the readily absorbed kinds.
SOME PERSONS APPROACH LIFE IN THE SPIRIT OF SELF DENIAL. The hypoglycemic must unlearn some of this, and learn to be a little bit selfish, for in only doing this will he be able to recover. Self blame and self denial, which are negative, must be changed to self acceptance and the pursuit of pleasure, which are positive. The pleasure referred to here is inner comfort, freedom from tension, and joy of life. When our bodies function well, we enjoy life. Our chief aim, therefore, is to have a well-functioning body. If we omit just one part of the holistic approach, we will not have pleasure.
REGULARITY is the key that winds up a well functioning body and keeps it humming. The ebb and flow of body substances have their own rhythms. Some are diurnal (daily, daylight), and some are on a 24 hour or circadian cycle. Of special interest to the hypoadrenocortic (a person with an insufficiant output of adrenal cortical hormones), each of the three groups of the adrenal cortical steroids has its own rhythm. So as not to disturb this rhythm, and so as to take advantage of it, we must maintain regularity in eating, exercise, rest and sleep. This means retiring the same time every night, and preferably one or two hours before midnight. It means excercising parts of the body not regularly used, and doing it the same time each day. The kind and amount of exercise is entirely an individual matter. Slow deep breathing is a marvelous tenaion relieving device. Physicians tell us that breathing is properly done by pushing the abdomen out
while inhaling, and pulling it in while exhaling a pencil of air. This is also the yoga method of breathing. Breathing exercises provide oxygen to all parts of the body, which each cell must have in order to utilize the glucose; the important point is the utilizing of glucose.
Oxygen is carried from the lungs to the tissues by the hemoglobin in the blood, and to have sufficient hemoglobin, there must be adequate intake of iron. Therefore, to assure ample oxygen supplies, periodic checks are suggested for suspected anemia. Also helpful and a supertonic, is a daily shower, ending with cool water as tolerated, and followed with a rubdown. A washcloth and a washbasin can substitute for a shower. This stimulates circulation and tones the muscles. A deep breath held a few seconds helps in tolerating the cool water. A nap or at least a rest with no reading, radio or TV in the afternoon when the blood steroids are at their lowest ebb is recommended. A similar
rest in the morning may be helpful in the beginning.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES ARE VERY BENEFICIAL, but a word of caution about the sun is required. for the person with adrenal insufficiency, exposure to the sun is exhausting, and outdoor activities should be done in early morning or late afternoon when the sun's rays are not directly overhead. If the sunlight is strong, there should be adequate protection of the head and skin by a hat and clothing.
It should be remembered that normal-functioning adrenals handle the salt-water balance in the body, but in adrenal hypofunction, extra salt is needed daily because hypoadrenocortics tend to lose salt in the urine and perspiration.l Just salt on the food is sufficient for some. Others may find that it helps depression and exhaustion by drinking a little salted water throughout the day especially during a hot summer. A little fruit juice may be added to the water (2 or 3 tablespoons to a glassful). If salt tends to upset the stomach a little food should be taken with it, or a little tomato juice added to the salt water. Diamond crystal Kosher salt contains no additives. If one is about to encounter stress or has just been subjected to stress, a 500 mg tablet of vitamin C (if tolerated) taken with salt water and a little food brings relief, The person who had been avoiding salt and ; =.. tries some may develop edema of the ankles or fingers. This indicates that the body is trying to keep the salt for bodily function: and so vitamin B6 and even more salt may be needed. The body will then use what it needs and will excrete the rest by way of the kidneys which will aid in decreasing the edema. Some HAl members report that they no longer have edema in their legs in hot weather for this reason. This is for hypoadrenocortics vith scanty body perspiration and very frequent or infrequent urination. It is not meant for those with kidney malfunction, or those who have been otherwise advised by their physicians. Some people also need potassium, and for this it is recommended that the physician be consulted. Too much can be dangerous .
A HYPOGLYCEMIC, AND PARTICULARLY A HYPOADRENOCORTIC, must learn and accept the fact that while some of his friends may be able to keep late hours, burn up energy, and use sugars, caffeine and alcohol, he simply cannot. He should use some energy each day, for that is the process of living, but there should always be a little reserve left over like money in the bank. Without this reserve, he can become sick. With the reserve, he can live a full and happy life. Many do. Finally, those who used to be perfectionists must learn to be second best, or third. It is not necessary to achieve perfection but it is necessary to function, and that is our goal.
IHYPOADRENOCORTICISM: Collected papers of J. W. Tintera, M.D., Adrenal Metabolic Research Society
This bulletin is not meant to be medical advice. See your doctor for medical help.
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