Definition

Hypoglycemia develops as a result of abnormally low level of blood glucose (sugar,) the body’s chief energy source.  It is most often caused by an oversecretion of insulin by the pancreas due to stress, over-exercising, fasting or irregular eating habits.  In people with diabetes, hypoglycemia can result from administering too large a dose of insulin.

Symptoms

Symptoms range from weakness, shakiness, fatigue, dizziness and irritability, to confusion, difficulty in walking, lack of coordination, convulsions and coma.  Acute episodes of insulin reaction “occur most often in diabetics who take insulin by injection (or) antidiabetic tablets by mouth….” (Mayo Clinic Family Health Book, P. 710)

Commonly Prescribed Treatment

In an acute episode, the symptoms may be relieved by eating or drinking foods containing high sugar content (i.e., candy, sugar cubes, sodas, fruit juice.)  The goal is to raise the body’s glucose level back up to normal.  Long-term treatment for both diabetic and nondiabetic persons may involve diet regulation and lifestyle changes.

Recommendation for Circulatory (“Swedish”) Massage

If hypoglycemia is the result of prolonged stress, the calming effects of massage may help to reduce the incidence of symptoms.  However, if hypoglycemia is the result of a malignant tumor of the pancreas or adrenal glands, massage may be contraindicated as it may cause cancer to spread.  A person with hypoglycemia resulting from cancer should obtain a medical release prior to receiving circulatory massage.  Regardless of the cause of the hypoglycemia, massage would be inadvisable if  an individual is experiencing a hypoglycemic episode.  Preferably, a person should be in stable condition prior to receiving circulatory massage.