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General Petraeus collapses during Senate hearing

It looks like General Petraeus suffered from a bit of low blood sugar and collapsed during a Senate hearing. Fox News has the story:

Gen. David Petraeus appeared to have passed out during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, recovering enough to be escorted from the room.

The head of Central Command was in the midst of a dialogue with Arizona Sen. John McCain when he slumped over the witness table. Several officials gathered around Petraeus, who was able to stand up and walk out on his own.

The committee recessed its hearing for several minutes as lawmakers and aides determined whether Petraeus was well enough to continue. Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., suggested that Petraeus was dehydrated but had recovered quickly.

"General Petraeus appears to be doing very well," he said.

RealClearPolitics has the video.

Michelle Malkin tweeted that the general hadn't had anything to eat before the hearing and was dehydrated. You do not want to mess with low blood sugar because it will wreak all kinds of havoc on your brain and body. Your brain gets its fuel from the sugar in your blood, so if you don't eat enough to sustain your activity levels, your brain will literally shut down, which is what happened to General Petraeus. In sports such as long distance biking, this is called bonking.

I've had hypoglycemia for several years and even passed out a few times before I knew the cause. If I don't eat a good combination of protein and carbohydrates for dinner, I can have a hard time in the middle of the night. There have been times when my blood sugar has dropped so low so fast that it's woken me up from a deep sleep. When that happens, I go downstairs and get something to eat. I have glucose tablets, but I don't like the sugar rush and I end up crashing later. Instead, I like to have a big glass of milk or a yogurt and then lay down until the symptoms subside. In about ten minutes or so, I'm much better and can get back to bed without having to worry about suffering a sugar crash later.

Update: CBS has much better video in which you can hear the general say, "I need some sugar," just after he stands up.


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Comments (9)

The General did actually re... (Below threshold)
jim m:

The General did actually return to the hearing shortly thereafter but they recessed for the day rather than push him to continue.

I know the feeling too. I ... (Below threshold)

I know the feeling too. I start with the shakes and if I don't address it immediately, I go down fast from there. Carbs are the best. The long slow burn will do much better for you than the quick sugar rush.

A peanut butter sandwich ... (Below threshold)

A peanut butter sandwich snaps me back.

Carbs are what is usually r... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Carbs are what is usually recommended. But you need to know just how low your blood sugar is dropping during these events. Blood sugar that gets very low can cost brain cells, or worse.

Testing would be good. Maybe try a glass of orange juice followed by the carbs to sustain you.

Maybe he heard barry has a ... (Below threshold)

Maybe he heard barry has a shot at being reselected.

Military life teac... (Below threshold)
Military life teaches the hard way not to skip breakfast---PT, cramps, heat exhaustion, unreliable/surprise itineraries, etc, etc. Lifers are creatures of habit.

Excellent point; however, lifetime habits or not, the demands placed on his time and energies dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan may have required that he go for longer periods of time in between eating.

And I wasn't arguing that Petraeus "has" hypoglycemia. I said his symptoms of passing out and bouncing back quickly were identical to what I and many other people have experienced when our blood sugar dropped to very low levels.

Heck, just last week on our way to a restaurant for dinner (about 6:30 or so), my husband had complained about not feeling well. When he told me he hadn't eaten since around noon and had also just finished trimming a few back yard bushes in high heat and humidity, I told him his blood sugar was too low. He immediately rolled his eyes. I didn't have a snack on me, so I insisted he chew a piece of gum to at least get a little sugar into his system, which he had to admit helped. Once we arrived at the restaurant and he got a roll or two in him, he was back to normal. He doesn't poo-poo low blood sugar anymore.

Anyone can experience it under the right circumstances.

Update: By the way, I gave my husband a piece of Orbit gum, which contains Xylitol, an natural sweetener that's great at regulating blood sugar.

The hypoglycemia thing is w... (Below threshold)

The hypoglycemia thing is way over-rated as a cause of passing out if you are not diabetic medication, or have severe liver disease. You can feel dizzy and shaky when your insulin surges (say after a lot of caffeine and sugar in your triple latte or Monster drink) but you won't pass out cold.

I won't speculate on Petreaus's medical folder, but as bD points out, hot lights and a dress uniform (hell, that ribbon salad alone must weight a few pounds) in the early DC summer heat and humidity; NOT drinking a lot so you don't have to run to the john in the middle of a hearing or drinking too much caffeine and getting a diuresis, plus all the hot air expended at these spectacles; well that's a recipe for hypovolemia and syncope.

That's a fancy way of saying if you are dry, your blood pressure can run low and you don't get enough circulation to your head, especially when standing, straining, or feeling under strain, and faint.

Here Lee Ward let me save y... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Here Lee Ward let me save you the trouble

Republicans were against cancelling congressional hearings due to people fainting before a black man became president.

I know the feeling. Once th... (Below threshold)

I know the feeling. Once the shakes come with some sweating, get some carbs in you fast. Stress brings it on also. I feel for the guy. ww






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