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07/28/2011 04:27 PM

liver disease and hypoglycemia

Posts: 101

My husband was coming along nicely then one night his sugar was down to 19 and he had a heartbeat of 30, taken by ambulance. Dr said he was clinically dead. Kept overnight. This happened last week. He now tests his blood am and night. Has anyone experienced this? This is so confusing, the hypogleycemia and cirrhosis. It all happened in a matter of minutes. What saved him that night was a cup of coffee that kept me awake so I was aware of his heavy sighing and knew something was wrong. Haven't been able to sleep well since then. I appreciate any help. If anyone out there has the same thing, what do you eat? Thanks much...think of you often..

Post edited by: carm, at: 07/28/2011 04:29 PM


07/28/2011 07:46 PM
Posts: 1013
Senior Member


Let me see if I can explain what has happened. A healthy liver has several types of cells, but one in particular, the hepatocyte, is the one that stores glucose by converting it to glycogen. When the blood sugar rises, hepatocytes will store glycogen. When the blood sugar level falls, hepatocytes turn the glycogen back into glucose.

When the liver is not functioning properly, as those of us with cirrhosis experience, we will have big swings in our glucose tolerance, very much like people who have diabetes. When we eat, sometimes our hepatocytes can't store glycogen like they should, so the blood sugar rises and we experience hyperglycemia. Conversely, when we can't eat properly or don't eat at all, our blood sugar falls we can't make good use of the little glycogen there is, and so we experience hypoglycemia. Sometimes this condition is referred to as hepatic diabetes.

The first line of treatment for this is generally a closely followed diabetic exchange diet and plenty of exercise.

Since your husband has already experienced such extreme symptoms, he should be seen by an endocrinologist, who will determine whether medication would be helpful in controlling the condition. Many cirrhotics have a very difficult time controlling blood sugar, so you definitely need all of the tools at home for checking his glucose levels frequently, and the docs can prescribe the equipment you need. Also you should see a clinical dietician who can explain the diet and help you with meal planning, etc.

Please stay in contact with your doctors for a thorough follow up. Tell us what you find out.

Hugs and Prayers,


07/29/2011 03:57 AM
Posts: 1734
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

I would add that you really should not have to pay for a glucometer--many companies give them away so that you will have to buy their test strips. I had a very good meter from but was forced to change as my insurance wouldn't pay for their brand of test strips. some brand's strips are rather pricey! Check with your insurance company.

07/29/2011 07:03 AM
Posts: 101

Thanks for your input. We have the meter. Will be having a four phase cat scan tomorrow and seeing the dr this coming week. Will ask about the dr you mentioned, Bobbie. Also, thankfully, the insurance we have pays for the glucometer and the strips. Thanks, too, Dennis.

Post edited by: carm, at: 07/29/2011 07:05 AM

07/29/2011 11:38 AM
Posts: 2286
Group Leader

Hey, Bonnie, I wonder if that is why a couple of years ago, probably a week or two before my first major HE episode I felt like I was getting tired during the day and I'd have a piece of candy and perk right up.


07/29/2011 02:02 PM


Wanted to share some food info on eating better to control sugar and glucose levels:

The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical system of measuring how fast a carbohydrate triggers a rise in circulating blood sugar-the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. A low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. Below is just a small list of foods to give you an idea of low, medium and high GI. Stick to low and medium to keep your blood sugar down.

Less Than 50

•Artichoke <15

•Asparagus <15

•Avocado < 15

•Broccoli <15

•Cauliflower <15

•Celery <15

•Cucumber <15

•Eggplant <15

•Green beans <15

•Lettuce, all varieties <15

•Low-fat yogurt, artificially sweetened <15

•Peanuts <15

•Peppers, all varieties <15

•Snow peas <15

•Spinach <15

50 to 70

•Canned kidney beans 52

•Kiwifruit 52

•Orange juice, not from concentrate 52

•Banana 53

•Sweet potato 54

•Brown Rice 55

•Linguine 55

•Popcorn 55

•Sweet corn 55

•Muesli 56

Above 70

•Bagel 72

•Corn chips 72

•Watermelon 72

•Honey 73

•Mashed potatoes 73

•Bread stuffing mix 74

•Cheerios 74

•Cream of Wheat, instant 74

•Graham crackers 74

•Doughnuts 75

•French fries 76

•Frozen waffles 76

•Pretzels 81

•Rice cakes 82

Foods that help balance sugar levels:

Almonds: A study published in the International Journal of Obesity shows that people eating a diet rich in almonds lost more weight than those on a high-carb diet with the same number of calories. This goes to show that weight loss is not simply due to calorie counting. Almonds are bulky and filling, so you feel that you are getting some substance without the spike in blood sugar.

Quinoa: Although quinoa looks like a grain, it's actually the seed of a green leafy plant. It is one of the best sources of amino acids, and is a good source of iron, potassium, and B vitamins. The reason why quinoa is an incredible super food for weight loss is that it's packed with protein, but its grain-like texture makes it a fantastic substitute for rice, couscous, and other carbohydrates.

Millet: This is rich both in fiber, which makes your stomach feel full longer, and in protein, which keeps your blood sugar even, although it has the texture of a carbohydrate. And studies have shown a link between millet and weight loss. Some researchers believe that it's the combination of phytonutrients and fiber that's responsible for the lower rate of colon cancer in people who eat millet, rather than fiber alone.

Hummus: Because hummus is packed with protein, it fills you up, but again without any blood sugar spiking. Try to get hummus with olive oil rather than sunflower oil... or better yet, make your own sprouted raw hummus, which will provide you with an incredible amount of nutrients.

Avocado: Avocados offer a range of nutrients, and help you absorb other nutrients more effectively. They are also creamy and bulky at the same time, so they help people feel satisfied.

Lentils: Lentils are nutritious, flavorful, and are easy to prepare. Lentils, like beans, are a good source of protein. Lentils also provide calcium and phosphorus, vitamin B and iron.

Walnuts for Weight loss: Walnuts are a great snack food that will fill you up and help you to feel less hungry. They contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, and a study at Loma Linda University showed that people who ate walnuts regularly had a reduced incidence of heart attacks. The research also asked people to add a quarter cup of walnuts to their diets, or for comparison, to remove all walnuts from their diets. They found that not eating walnuts led to weight gain.

Cinnamon has shown to help balance blood sugar and it has a tranquilizing effect that helps reduce anxiety and stress. It can also help kill a variety of illness causing bacteria, including the dreaded E.coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus.

For those who cannot take supplements. I hope this helps


08/01/2011 06:22 PM
Posts: 101

Den, thanks so much for taking the time to provide me with this list. It is going to be extremely helpful. I so appreciate it!

Post edited by: carm, at: 08/01/2011 06:31 PM

08/02/2011 12:44 PM

Hi Bonnie,

Glad it helps some also here is the link to Glycemic Index web site. You can enter the food you want and get a breakdown of what or where it is on the List. Click on the (GI database) button on the left.

Have a great day

DenSmile Smile

Post edited by: Livwell48, at: 08/02/2011 12:47 PM

Post edited by: Livwell48, at: 08/02/2011 12:48 PM


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