Fibroglycemia and Fibromyalgia. What’s The Difference

By Patricia Quinn

Fibroglycemia. – This was a new term for me. I was going to write about hypoglycemia and fibromyalgia not knowing there was a name already attached to the dual disorder.

“Functional hypoglycemia refers to decreases in blood sugar that cannot be explained by any known pathology or disease. It’s a nice way of saying, “Your glucose regulating mechanisms aren’t functioning normally, and we don’t know why.” Reactive hypoglycemia refers to hypoglycemia resulting from the body’s abnormal response to rapid rises in blood glucose levels caused by diet or stress. The terms are now frequently interchangeable.” – Dr. Douglas M. Baird

“Reactive hypoglycemia (postprandial hypoglycemia) is low blood sugar that occurs after a meal — usually within four hours after eating. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) usually occurs while fasting. Signs and symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia may include hunger, weakness, shakiness, sleepiness, sweating, lightheadedness, anxiety and confusion. It’s possible to have symptoms that are similar to reactive hypoglycemia without actually having low blood sugar.”. – Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.

Fibroglycemia – Reactive Hypoglycemia and Fibromyalgia

RHG is not the same as fasting hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar that occurs when you do not eat, making it difficult to diagnose on a regular medical test. RHG occurs after a meal of excess carbs, followed by a rapid glucose absorption, and then the production of a large amount of insulin.

Reactive Hypoglycemia is common in people with Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome. In FMS, it is enhanced by dysfunctional neurotransmitter regulation and other systemic mechanisms. We want more energy so we crave carbs. Stress and overeating high sugar foods tend to be the major culprits in inducing insulin resistance. This leads to a greater increase in insulin secretion and a greater increase in stored fat. Since our insulin level is high, we store carbs as fat, often in the belly. People with RHG are often, but not always, overweight and unable to lose the exta pounds, which usually settle on the belly and won’t go away.

In chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS), the process of eliminating trigger points (TrPs), is hampered by the presence of hypoglycemia; TrP activity is aggravated and specific therapy responses is reduced. Recurrent hypoglycemia attacks perpetuate TrPs. Many of these symptoms are caused largely by circulating adrenalin, which is also increased by anxiety.

RHG is also called “insulin tolerance”, “postprandial hypoglycemia”,

carbohydrate intolerance” and in severe forms, “idiopathic adult-onset phosphate diabetes”. This condition can also lead to type II diabetes.

Symptoms of Reactive Hypoglycemia

Increased Sweating
Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
Concentration difficulties
Heart Palpitations
Tremors of Hands
Carb Cravings
Fibromyalgia Symptoms from Reactive Hypoglycemia

Fibro Fog
Cold Sensitivity
Natural Solutions for Reactive Hypoglycemia

Insulin triggers an adrenalin response. Coffee, tea and colas stimulate the release of adrenalin, as does nicotine. All carbs stimulate the secretion of insulin. Fatty acids are actually the preferred fuel for building new muscles and for energy. I was happy to learn this, since the wild blue green algae is rich in the EFA’s!

A high carbohydrate diet deposits fat and it stays! Dietary fats decrease the flow of carb into the bloodstream and dampen the insulin response. Dietary proteins enhance the mobilization of fatty acids from fat cells and fat loss. We need a balance!

The hormonal response from a balanced meal lasts 4 to 6 hours. Serotonin regulates the appetite for carb-rich foods and this neurotransmitter is out of balance in Fibromyalgia. Serotonin is also influenced by photoperiodism, the dark/light cycle, maybe why carb-cravers overeat at certain times of the day.

The Glycemic Index

A good start would be to become aware of the glycemic index of foods in creating a healthy FMS diet. The glycemic index measures the speed at which certain foods increase blood glucose levels. High glycemic foods raise blood sugar quickly and low glycemic foods have the oppositie effect.

Foods are scored on a scale of 0 to 100. Only foods and beverages that contain carbs are ranked, since they have the biggest effect on blood sugar.

High: 70 and up. Examples include: Instant white rice, brown rice, plain white bread, white skinless baked potato, boiled red potatoes with skin and puffed wheat cereal.
Medium: 56 to 69: Examples include: Sweet corn on the cob, Special K cereal, Grapes, white spaghetti and a banana.
Low: 55 and under: Examples include raw carrots, peanuts, raw apple, grapefruit, peas, skim milk, kidney beans and lentils.
***Use the Glycemic Index to help you choose what foods to eat.
***Focus on breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran.
***Choose breads with whole grains, stone-ground flour or sourdough.
***Eat less potatoes.
***Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
***Avoid oversized portions of rice, pasta and noodles.

Eat less, eat slowly, chew thoughtfully and enjoy each bite of your food. We are in this together, trying to make healthy, lifelong choices.

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