Do you know the difference between low blood sugar and dehydration symptoms? Here are some similarities and differences.
Once you know what the cause of the symptom is, then you can know how to fix it – this is what I do with clients is help them know what those symptoms are and why they are happening. Then we create a plan to correct the issue once we know in this case whether it is caused by low blood sugar or dehydration.
I referred to Health Line and ADA websites for symptoms of low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. I will try to differentiate the difference between low blood sugar and dehydration:
- Shakiness – This is low blood sugar but does not typically happen with dehydration.
- Rapid heart rate – I have not witnessed this as a low blood sugar issues, but if both list it, it must be a symptom! In dehydration, the heart beat will also climb and be jumpy in the higher ranges. This erratic and high heart rate is a sure sign of dehydration.
- Fatigue – This is a symptom of both. With low blood sugar, you typically crave caffeine and need a boost of energy. But caffeine is not the solution, it can actually be dangerous in some cases.
If you check the time since your last meal, it may be a clear indication you need to just eat, not grab a cup of coffee. In dehydration, you feel like the wind got knocked out of your sails and you can no longer go at the same pace. It is usually matched with despondency and the desire to go lie down under a tree in the shade and sleep.
- Impatience and irritability – This is definitely a low blood sugar issue and not a dehydration symptom. Notice how co-workers typically get irritable and short with you late morning- they ate breakfast at 6:30/7 AM and by 11 they get very moody. Yes, they need to eat! Although drinking water might also be a good healthy idea, too.
- Headache – This a symptom of both. But you want to pair this up with any of the other symptoms to know which it is. Usually a dehydration headache is coupled with fatigue, despondency and slight nausea. Low blood sugar will be coupled with lack of ability to think and put sentences together well, and fatigue often with the desire for caffeine.
There are a few more symptoms of each but these are the main differences and similarities between low blood sugar and dehydration.
Low blood sugar can be corrected with eating regularly spaced meals which are Metabolically Efficient™ and balanced with protein, vegetables, healthy fats and some carbohydrates.
Eating approximately every 3-4 hours also helps rather than every 5-6 hours.
Dehydration can be corrected with electrolyte supplementation such as Endurolyte capsules or a sports drink like Infinit Nutrition.(use nutritioninmotion for 10% discount) You may also need to include food which are rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium not just sodium.
If you need help with differentiating between you symptoms to know what is truly the cause, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me to schedule a 30-minute nutrition review to get to the cause. Then we can create the correct nutrition plan to correct the issue.
If you have a serious health issue, it is time to schedule time at the ER or with your doctor or specialist.
I feel very dehydrated, but dont feel thirsty, no energy to workout, cold feet, low libido, not feel hungry, cant think properly, i dont get pump while working out, thinning hair, gaining weight and it gets worse while sweat! These are my symptoms. Any advice will be appreciated.
Sorry to hear you are not feeling well.
This sounds to me like a combination of dehydration potentially from low electrokytes, and a bit of adrenal fatigue which may also be causing the low libido and hair falling out – I had those symptoms too when I had adrenal exhaustion.
There are many ways to address these issues, and it may be best to schedule a call via the website for a 15 min chat….then I can ask you a few more questions about your symptoms and when they started to get a more complete picture. http://www.nutrition-in-motion.net/contact
Then I may be able to give you better advice based on what would work best for you.
Typically cold hands and cold feet do indicate low electrolyte dehydration…which can be a symptom caused by low adrenal function.
Good info and very help full but I still wold like to know how to know if it’s dehydration or low blood sugar when I feel desprate symptoms like almost similar to an anxiety attack. Thanks….
Thanks Sergio for reading and posting your comment.
Stress and anxiety typically diminish digestion of nutrients but can also deplete electrolytes like magnesium and sodium (teh adrenal response). I would first suggest to do some deep breathing to help lower some of the anxiety. But eating probably will be futile and may cause other digestive upset.
A small glass of apple cider may do the trick though and if you do feel better in a few minutes, then you have a confirmation that low blood sugar is contributing to the issue. When I say a small glass, I mean 4-6 ounces of apple cider, not apple juice. That typically gets into the blood stream fairly quickly.
And epsom salt bath may be the fastest way to increase magnesium into the body – it can be absorbed via the skin but then you may not be close to a bathtub when in such situations.
There is a powdered supplement called Calm by Natural Vitality which is an effervescent magnesium citrate. My caution here is that it can calm you pretty quickly but if you take too much, you may get very sleepy and/or you can get some very loose stools (citrate form of magnesium has that effect).
You may consider essential oils, too to help with calming. I would recommend to start with lavender, or maybe Serenity or Balance blends. go to http://www.mydoterra.com/joannachodorowska and check them out. You will want to use therapeutic oils only. But these are known to calm anxiety and I have had some use the lavender with the Balance blend either aromatically in a diffuser, or apply a drop of each onto their feet bottoms or on wrists.
Let me know if that helps! or feel free to schedule some time to chat at https://calendly.com/joanna-nim/15mins
Connie m says
My symptoms don’t include snarkiness but I did get all out sweating on my entire body and a feeling of draining. The d.r. even though my blood test did t show it, believe I waS dehydrated. This happened before I went to be so I drank a large glass of o.j. I felt better when I woke in the mprning,..had a small.coffee to take my np meds….and was getting ready for work when..bam or happened again….the sweating! I turned on all my dad’s and played down. Called a neighbor who then called the ambulance because my no was high.
Connie m says
*shakiness, blood pressure, emergency room
I hope you are feeling better. Was not sure about the symptoms you referred to with the misspells, but assuming that last line was that your blood pressure was high? or was it low?
The excessive sweating and shakiness sounds more like blood sugar issue.
With the oj helping you feel better seems to confirm low blood sugar than dehydration. I am not sure which medications you are on, or what condition or symptoms you have beyond the excessive sweating but hopefully you have been able to regulate the blood sugar and the blood pressure.
If you need some help with that, please let me know so we can help you avoid another episode or another trip to the emergency room.
hugs & blessings xo
My 14 year old son will get nauseous, dizzy, and start seeing tunnel vision after 20 minutes of hardcore excercise. This happens every time there are no subs in soccer despite the weather. It happened again today and he is well hydrated. This doesn’t happen at his track and soccer practices, or when he is subbed out every 15 20 minutes. This does not happen to anyone else on his team. What could be affecting his his stamina.. ?
I am sorry your son is going through this. I agree it seems strange that it happens in soccer and not in track. It could be a bit of both dehydration and low blood sugar, but I think it may be an adrenal response, too. With running practice, there is usually rest in between.
In soccer, there is not much rest in between and it is a lot of sprints. I wonder if he needs to work on breathing differently to get a better oxygen exchange, or lower the intensity of the sprints when there are no subs.
If you want to set up a time to talk about it more, please set up a chat at https://calendly.com/joanna-nim/15mins
I think I need more information from him as well as to what is happening during soccer. If it only happens with subs, i believe it is an intensity and oxygen issue. He may over-exert himself unknowingly. And it only would show up in intense exercise which soccer is a lot of intensity bouts and he may need more rest in between those sprints to regain his breath.
Hope that helps.