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How to Treat Low Blood Sugars for those with Gastroparesis

Apr 10, 2002

A patient from Indiana with a hiatal hernia once told me, “These Dextrotabs don’t raise my blood sugar one bit. What really works is one stick of that sugar-free chewing gum.”

Her comment illustrates a major hazard associated with any condition that retards stomach-emptying (gastroparesis, ulcers, and so on): it’s nearly impossible to treat hypoglycemia rapidly. Note the qualifier, “nearly.” There are some tricks to circumvent the problem.

If your last episode of hypoglycemia occurred because your prior meal was still sitting in your stomach, you might try some chewing gum after meals to help it empty.

Since chewed glucose tablets can take several hours to leave your stomach, you should try a liquid glucose solution. Such a product is available as glucose-tolerance test beverage under a number of brand names in the United States. These include Glucola, Limeondex, Dexicola, and Sun-Dex. The drinks are bottled by manufacturers of clinical laboratory reagents and are stocked in every hospital lab and private clinical laboratory. The most convenient is Glutol® 180ml, because it comes in a plastic bottle. They come in cola, orange or lemon-lime flavors. Each ounce contains 10 grams of glucose. One teaspoon will raise the blood sugar of a 150-pound adult about 8 mg/dl and 1 tablespoonful by about 25mg/dl. If you don’t have a tablespoonful handy and are in a hurry, assume that one swallow from the bottle is equivalent to 1 tablespoon.

If you’re traveling and forget to bring along a bottle of your glucose-tolerance test beverage, get some lactose-free milk. This product has been treated with an enzyme that converts the lactose to glucose. In the United States, the most widely marketed brand is Lactaid. Every 4 ounces contains 6 grams of glucose and will raise the blood sugar of a typical 150-pound adult by 30mg/dl. Remember, however, that Lactaid will spoil after a few days if not refrigerated.

Even if you’ve used the glucose-tolerance test drink or Lactaid, you can speed up the action by chewing gum or doing the back-flex and stomach exercise I will describe in the next feature.

Coming Soon: Exercises that facilitate stomach-emptying
The above was abstracted from Dr. Bernstein’s book “Diabetes Solution”.

To view other advice from Dr. Bernstein go to www.diabetesincontrol.com/bernsteinarchive.htm

For Information on Dr. Bernstein’s book “Diabetes Solution” go to http://www.rx4betterhealth.com

Or visit Dr. Bernstein’s site at www.diabetes.normalsugars.com for excerpts.

For information on the Glucose Tolerance Test solutions, click here:

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