How Fast Does Your Stomach Empty? Hypoglycemia Speeds It Up

Jan 1, 1996

It may not be your fault if your blood sugar levels are unpredictable. Recent studies have shown that during hypoglycemic episodes, food exits the stomach much more quickly than it does under normal circumstances.

A report published in the November 1995 issue of Diabetes Care details a study conducted in Sweden. The stomachs of people experiencing hypoglycemia emptied three times faster than those of people with normal glycemic levels. Such rapid emptying leaves insulin dosages working on minimal amounts of glucose since the stomach barely has time to digest the food. This can worsen hypoglycemia, causing a vicious cycle. Because the emptying rate may not be consistent, people with diabetes can find themselves in a constant battle for control despite regular monitoring.

The Swedish study reports that the stomach of a person experiencing hypoglycemia empties 50% of liquid in an average of 8.1 minutes, compared with 24.9 minutes during normoglycemia. The emptying of solids for people with hypoglycemia takes 26.8 minutes, versus 43.1 minutes for those with normal glycemic levels.

The researchers decided to test atropine, which has been shown to slow stomach emptying in normo-glycemic patients. They found that during hypoglycemia, atropine infusion tended to cause the stomach to empty even more slowly than during normoglycemia.

Although the phenomenon is not completely understood, it is thought that the accelerated emptying rate is a result of increased nerve stimulation during hypoglycemic episodes.

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Food, Gastroparesis (Digestion Problems), Hypoglycemia Unawareness, Insulin, Low Blood Sugar

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (1)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Posted by Anonymous on 27 February 2008

a person dianosised with hypeoglycemia. are they true diabetics or borderline?

Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.