Symptoms and Causes
One of the first symptoms of low blood sugar (otherwise known and hypoglycemia) is a craving for sugary treats and refined carbohydrates between meals. The symptoms that follow are headaches, irritability, anxiety or nervousness and in extreme cases, blurred vision and a feeling that one is about to pass out. It is common for people suffering this condition to want to eat frequently to get over feeling tired and emotionally frail or irritable. The physical state has an effect on the person’s emotional state and often the person feels this can be overcome by satisfying a sugar craving.
The causes of low blood sugar are many including the overeating of processed carbohydrates, erratic functioning of the pituitary gland, a tumor or disturbances in liver function.
Contrary to the belief that low blood sugar can be reduced by sugar intake, a healthy way of dealing with it would be to cut down on sugar in the diet generally speaking. At the precise moment when the blood sugar falls, it is natural to want to perk it up with a shot of sugar. This sudden spiking of the sugar levels in the blood can lead to uncomfortable symptoms. This is the reason why experts suggest keeping off sugar and sticking to a diet similar to what diabetics eat including complex carbohydrates, low-fat protein and fiber. A diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly made juices and whole grains and cereals is likely to be beneficial.
Diet and Yoga Therapy
There are certain practices in yoga that can alleviate the sense of restlessness and anxiety of a low blood sugar attack. When there is a sudden fall in blood sugar and the accompanying sense of tiredness and irritability are present, a few minutes of pranayama can reduce the anxious and jittery feeling. One pranayama that seems to work well for this condition is the alternate nostril breathing, also known as Nadi Shodhana. This regulates the breath and purifies the blood. It takes the awareness to the sensations accompanying the condition and directs energy for healing. It is also a calming pranayama which affects the nervous systems and induces a sense of quiet in a ruffled body and mind.
A practice of asana can also help in treating the condition provided it is being practiced regularly and diligently. Also, low blood sugar can be serious and if it tends to be severe then it is better to seek medical help.
Often, low blood sugar can be aggravated by intense physical exercise and subsequently very little water and food for hours. In order to overcome this, any workout must be followed up with the intake of water or juices. It is good to eat a healthy snack (like a fruit) maybe a half hour after the workout.
It is important to note that any of the yoga practices suggested for the treatment of low blood sugar must be done under the guidance of a doctor and a well trained and experienced yoga expert.