My husband told me something that nearly knocked my socks off, so much so that I have to share it. The day after a particularly heated argument (the kind that could make me believe marriage is the impossible dream), we both cooled off and talked about what had happened.
It turns out he was hungry. Not the kind of hunger that prompts nonchalantly ducking into a café and ordering a snack, but rather hungry to the point of angry. But he hadn’t said so and therefore I had no idea and couldn’t imagine what had turned him so cold. I thought it was a mood disorder that I might have to live with for the rest of our lives. It’s this kind of behavior that has made me give up hope for any kind of true and lasting happiness. Then my socks flew off when he said, “Come to think of it, just about every fight I’ve ever had in all of my marriages (I’m his third) has happened when I’ve felt this way.”
I still didn’t understand why he couldn’t have said he was hungry when he felt that way and insisted we get something to eat. Then he asked if I knew the definition of hypoglycemia.
That was the answer! He was prone to low blood sugar outbursts that seemed to come out of nowhere, but were actually the result of a physical reaction. It’s not a disease that some people have and some don’t. Everyone is prone to it and it is always manageable. That’s the good news.
While certain rare types of hypoglycemia are caused by a tumor or physical damage to a gland, the common type is your body’s reaction to what you feed it. Sometimes the body can’t regulate blood sugar levels, which makes it nose-dive.
Blood sugar is like the body’s gasoline for all brain and body function. What happens if your car doesn’t have enough gas? Time to call a cab.
If we don’t have enough fuel, the system begins to shut down and everything struggles. When my husband’s fuel ran out, he showed little emotion and walked around like a robot, then got angry for reasons that had nothing to do with our interaction and everything to do with his need to regulate his blood sugar level with food.
In an article published online, “Conquering Anxiety, Depression and Fatigue Without Drugs --- the Role of Hypoglycemia” by Professor Joel H. Levitt of The Anxiety & Hypoglycemia Relief Institute, he writes, “If the available fuel is too inadequate, any marginal physical or mental system may start to shut down. In addition, the glandular imbalances that result, as the glands struggle to regulate the sugar level, cause their own symptoms – especially high adrenaline, which is usually perceived as anxiety or panic, but, in some cases, can lead to violence.”
He goes on to say that many Americans have hypoglycemia and the list of symptoms is rather long, ranging from mild discomfort to rendering a person completely incapacitated.
“The list is long because symptoms result not only directly from low blood glucose but also from the glandular imbalances that result, especially high adrenaline,” writes Levitt. “Only one or two symptoms may be present, but most often, you will find several.”
Some of the following symptoms have put us both in jeopardy in one respect or another, and suddenly it all makes sense. This list also comes from Professor Levitt’s article:
- Anxiety – ranging from constant worry to panic attacks.
- Phobias – claustrophobia, agoraphobia, acrophobia, and so on. This is anxiety tied to a particular issue.
- Depression – especially with females
- Violent outbursts – especially with males
- Obsessive Compulsive Behavior
- Forgetfulness – this may just be choline/inositol deficiency.
- Inability to concentrate
- Unsocial, Asocial, Anti-Social behavior
- Crying spells
- Nightmares & night terrors – terror can continue after you wake up. It is especially indicative of hypoglycemia if you wake in a cold sweat, if the terror continues, if there is pressure on the chest, or if you are unable to breathe.
- Headaches – especially if a meal is missed
- Tachycardia – racing pulse due to high adrenaline.
- Fatigue, weakness, “rubbery” legs.
- Tremor or trembling of arm, leg, or whole body (outside or inside)
- Twitching, jerking, or cramping of a leg muscle – cramping may be just calcium or magnesium deficiency or food allergy response.
- Waking after 2-3 hours of sleep
- Tinnitus – ringing in the ear, due to high insulin in about 70 % of tinnitus cases.
- Abnormal weight – too high or too low.
- Compulsive craving for sweets, colas, coffee, alcohol
- Lack of appetite
- A diagnosis of “mitral valve prolapse”
- Crawling sensations on skin
- Blurred vision
I advise you take a look at your own experience and behavior. I’m already amazed at how many problems we have solved simply by being aware that hypoglycemia is like an insidious monster that can creep in and ruin an otherwise perfectly good night.