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Aretha Welch
Special to the Express

I couldn’t stop crying. Though I had no reason to cry. I couldn’t stop myself from exploding in fits of anger, though I knew the response was unwarranted. I couldn’t stay full for more than 3 hours no matter how much I ate. I couldn’t drive because I had the unreasonable, anxious fear that I was going to die.  I couldn’t drag myself out of bed, though I had commitments to attend to. Grades were slipping. Relationships were ending. My life was spiraling out of control and I began to fear that I might have a mental illness.

There was an illness but it wasn’t mental.  It was a pancreatic disorder known as hypoglycemia. I had had the illness for several months, maybe years before it got so uncontrollable that I had to seek medical help.

Like I was for a long time, there are many women possibly right here at Las Positas College walking around with this disease wreaking havoc in their lives, but they are unaware. Unaware as to what is causing their emotionalism, anxiety, headaches and lightheadedness.

But eventually I got tired of not knowing. While undergoing my diagnostic session my doctor shared a crazy fact with me, 1 in 3 women under the age of 45 suffer from hypoglycemia. Many undiagnosed.

That’s when I knew I had to share my new-found information. While for many the disease is not fatal and doesn’t even require medication, it does affect their quality of life. While most can go for hours without eating a hypoglycemic person will feel sickly, weak and in some cases disoriented after going for more than three hours without food. Hypoglycemia, also known low blood sugar is more than just a physical illness because so many of its symptoms are mental and affect the sufferers’ ability to think clearly, concentrate and emotional stability.

Medical research shows that many people who are affected by hypoglycemia are obese  or diabetic. But there are many instances, such as in mine, where the sufferer is otherwise perfectly healthy but their body overproduces insulin when they eat. Hence causing their body to break down the food and burn up the body’s fuel in an abnormally quick manner.

Because so many of the disease’s symptoms can be confused with symptoms of other diseases or simply fatigue many do not take the step to diagnosis. But if you consistently experience lightheadedness, blurry vision, hunger within three  hours of eating a meal, incoordination which resembles being drunk , rage and irritability when hungry, moodiness , anxiety and an increased heart rates without physical exertion  you should see your doctor.

My life has been so much better since I was diagnosed. I have to carry food everywhere I go and take an eating break, every two hours while at work, but the dysphoria (depression and apathy) and anxiety were 100 times worse than packing some almonds and a protein bar to take with me.

——-Welch is a Las Positas College student and the former editor-in-chief of The Express.

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