Hypoglycemic attacks

One of my lingering issues has been light-headedness followed quickly by unclear thought. For instance, I'd been out running an errand (believe me, only one errand and within two miles of my house). I began to feel a little twinge of hunger, but decided I was so close to home that I could wait and make a sandwich. No such thing! I'd driven about half a mile when I began to feel light-headed and couldn't remember the way home. Pulled in a gas station and bought a Snicker's bar because of the peanut butter and sugar. This helped; got home, but was the whole experience scary and it's only one example.

I've been working with a medical nutritionist. She says these sound like hypoglycemic attacks. We'd like to know if anyone else has experienced them.

Oh My…I can’t believe you wrote this…I had 2 episodes since my coiling…and they were bad…and all I could think was my sugar was low…sugar was never my problem…but after surgery and blood loss…I had low sugar numbers so they were giving me insulin in the hospital…but then they told me they were normal…but I had 2 bad episodes since and the only thing that helped was food…I just keep thinking that all the anesthisia has my entire system off…if you learn any connections…it will be interesting to see…Colleen

In the hospital, I also had insulin. I still blame it on the glass of fruit juice they gave less than a few minutes before the blood was drawn. This was after surgery when I had had nothing to eat for over 30 hours. What else did they expect. Anyway, got a shot of insulin and for weeks after the first surgery I had to eat, eat, eat. I was weak and shaky. Finally wore off. Next three surgeries, wasn’t so bad when I had the insulin. Finally, a nurse (they began to recognize me/hubby after so many times in neuroICU) said insulin was proscribed for the swelling. Geez, that seems illogical now. Maybe I don’t remember it correctly. Nevertheless, it seems to be SOP. They got really upset if I declined it, then very persistent. So, I took it. After the last go round, a craniotomy, I developed these ‘attacks’. They do get better when I am very very strict about following the nutritionists guidelines. Also, I keep emergency snacks in the car or take them with me, especially when we’re out with friends. Friends don’t get NOW. They think like I did the first time I got into trouble with these–it’s only a few minutes until I can make a sandwich. Incorrect. NOW means NOW. So I take a baggie with celery sticks and peanut butter and packets of Justin’s All-Natural nut butters. If you haven’t seen them, they are about the size of a bar of soap, only very thin. Knead and squeeze for a delicious snack that counters the attacks. Glad to know I’m not the only one.

I am looking to find a new internist for my husband and myself...and I am going to mention to have them keep an eye on the insulin levels...when this happened 2 weeks ago...like you, I was so lightheaded and shakey...(happened in Walmart)...I couldn't get food quick enough...Thank God I was with my girlfriend and she reacted quick...

You sound like you have had quite a few incidences...and I feel for you...it is a scary feeling...I almost mentioned at my neuro checkup and thought what's the point .... my droopy ... half closed eye ... since the coiling ... I was told has nothing to do with surgery ... so all of this...even the Low insulin...is my new normal....I will check out the snacks...thanks for the suggestions....

Hypoglycemic attacks are caused by hypopituitarism.

Please check out this site: http://www.pituitary.org/library/disorders.aspx?page_id=1051

One of the reactions to a rupture is that the pituitary gland gets poisoned by the blood that pours into the brain, causing pituitary failure. Please get to a pituitary specialist and speak with him/her about ACTH deficiency and other defiencies due to hypopituitarism (Pituitary Failure). Even if there is no rupture, there can be pressure from coiling which can also cause hypopituitarism. There is also a link on the above site to "Find a Physician" who specializes in pituitary disfunction. Be sure to speak with with the doctor's gatekeeper to see if the physician has experience with cerebral aneurysm rupture caused hypopituitarism (this is very specialized).


Had no clue. Thank you!

Robin, I have been hypoglycemic for over 20 years. Your normal glucose range is between 80 and 120. Now....everyones tolerance level may vary slightly but, when ever our sugar level drops, we act like we are drunk. Our vision gets blurry, concentration is very difficult, our walking isn't good, any type of decision making is out of the question. If you start shaking, you are headed into a critical zone and you can pass out. If that happens, call an ambulance! Eat something sweet (to get your sugar up quick) and then eat something good. Preferably high in protein. You need to make an app't with your doctor and get this checked out. Tell them you want a "glucose tolerance test" done. It's a 3 hr. test. They have you drink a yucky tasting drink. Then every 1/2 or 1 hr. (I don't remember the time any more) they will take a blood sample and check your suger level. This will tell the doc for certain if you have it or not.

I'm glad you asked, this is nothing to be taken lightly. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask me. :)

Hi Ben...

I am currently looking for a new family Doc (internist) for me and hubby...and I am so glad you offered this information...I will keep it in mind when I see the new Doc for the first time...

Tired of Doc appointments...so this is an effort...Happy Tuesday Ben...!


Wow all so very interesting. I have food issue I never had. I need to eat and I crave sugar, I told my husband just the other day. My head may hurt but my appetite sure doesn’t. The other day was driving with my husband and I had him pull into a drive thru I knew I couldn’t go another block. I have not read anything about this so glad you mentioned it. Great finds on this web site. This is good stuff how come the doctors told tell us and maybe we should run this time… why…! Thanks Colleen for sharing this big news!!!

Well, well...seems I'm not the only one. Minus the headaches, that is very similar to what I experience. It's a guns or butter decision every day. If I walk a mile, then you can forget any intellectual activity that afternoon. A walk or tai chi, I love tai chi, used to invigorate me. Give me energy. Now, afterward, I'm looking for low energy activities--reading, TV, folding clothes, making a salad, etc. If I go at a fast pace for the mile or combine it with a morning of something like coffee with friends, then, Mercy!, I might put that salad lettuce in the pantry instead of frig. (It's happened, hehe!)

In summary, we've identified the pituitary gland as a possible culprit, a test that could confirm, and that more than one of us experience this.

Time to capture this thread for the internist and nutritionist.