A medical term used for low blood sugar levels after exercise is what we call Exercise-induced hypoglycemia. A few symptoms occur during Exercise-induced hypoglycemia, like shakiness, weakness, and fatigue. Glucose is the primary source of energy for our body, and it gets consumed faster during exercise; thus, there is a need for more glucose during hypoglycemia exercise.
The need for more glucose during exercise triggers Exercise-induced hypoglycemia (other factors also play a role). Exercise-induced hypoglycemia, in simple terms, is a situation in which there is a shortage of glucose in the body, thus a shortage of energy to meet body needs. Usually, a glucose level lower than 70 milligrams per decilitre is what doctors consider to be hypoglycemia.
Due to an imbalance between nutrition, training volume, and other external influences like temperature and altitude, people can face what we call Exercise-induced hypoglycemia. It is a situation in which there is a shortage of glucose which happens to be the primary source of energy for our body. Carbohydrates are metabolised to get glucose, and glucose, in turn, provides energy to the body. This glucose enters the bloodstream, and the responding pancreas produces insulin. The insulin produced by the pancreas helps the glucose enter the cells and use it as fuel. During exercise, extra energy is needed in terms of glucose due to the extra exertion that one goes through. But due to the lack of glucose, we experience Exercise-induced hypoglycemia.
There are several symptoms one may go through due to Exercise-induced hypoglycemia.
One can experience weakness, which is common with Exercise-induced hypoglycemia. Other symptoms include shaking and dizziness. A person with Exercise-induced hypoglycemia can also experience anxiety, fainting and confusion.
Hypoglycemia can also become severe, causing life-threatening symptoms like seizures, coma or even death.
When a person exercises, the body demands extra energy to fulfil the additional need; this means an increased amount of energy is needed to burn more glucose. Exercise-induced hypoglycemia usually occurs in people who are already short on glucose levels, and exercising exacerbates the situation even further by demanding more glucose. Exercise-induced hypoglycemia may also occur in people whose bodies metabolise glucose rapidly. Several other factors contribute to Exercise-induced hypoglycemia, like;
The glucose levels also fall when exercising triggers a substantial spike in insulin levels. This spike in insulin can also lead to hypoglycemia (this can happen even if a person is nourishing themselves well and does not take any medication to lower his blood glucose levels).
A person who experiences Chronic Exercise-induced hypoglycemia should go to a health professional, who may recommend medication to reverse the condition.
The answer to the question - is EIH a sign of diabetes - is "not necessarily". Exercise can decrease a person’s blood glucose levels significantly. But it needs to be kept in mind that people who have diabetes have higher risk factors related to hypoglycemia.
Diabetes that remains untreated is what causes hyperglycemia (high blood glucose).
People who have diabetes and take medications that are more than what is required to manage it are the ones who are at a higher risk of hypoglycemia. Not consuming enough food that can provide sufficient energy to the body also acts as a cause. People taking medications for diabetes during a restrictive diet and fasting may also suffer from hypoglycemia.
Though mild, Exercise-induced hypoglycemia does not require any treatment. To avoid Exercise-induced hypoglycemia, one should always eat a carbohydrate-rich diet an hour or two before exercise. Exercise-induced hypoglycemia usually occurs due to inadequate food before a workout or any other physical activity.
A doctor may even prescribe diazoxide to a person with low blood sugar. In some cases, a small part of the pancreas may also be removed to slow down the process of insulin production. There is a hypoglycemia exercise that one can follow.
Eating meals with all the necessary nutrients required (especially carbohydrates) throughout the day is recommended. Avoiding alcohol is also recommended. New exercise routines should give the body sufficient time to adapt. Some options for people who have diabetes include 4 oz of juice/soda, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 glucose tube.
Also read about the symptoms of low blood sugar.
Usually, hypoglycemia is not life-threatening, but it can become life-threatening in rare cases. This happens if the blood glucose levels drop drastically. If the person experiences symptoms, he needs immediate medical attention; these symptoms include loss of consciousness, confusion or seizures. A person who experiences Exercise-induced hypoglycemia or hypoglycemia should consult a doctor immediately. A person can also ask for a tailored hypoglycemia exercise from a health professional.
A person experiences hypoglycemia when the blood glucose levels drop drastically. This glucose level is essential to fulfil the body’s needs. Exercise-induced hypoglycemia occurs when the person does some kind of intense physical activity like exercising. Both types of people (who have diabetes and who don’t) are at risk of developing Exercise-induced hypoglycemia. It is more common for someone who takes insulin or any other medications that help them manage their blood glucose levels.