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December 1, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

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Question from Pennsylvania, USA:

I am 19 year old female and last summer I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia after a glucose tolerance test. Prior to the test, my doctor recommended that I check my blood sugar at home, and I repeatedly had readings in the 50s and 60s mg/dl [2.7 and 3.3 mmol/L], and even as low as 43 mg/dl [2.4 mmol/L]. It seldom went above 90 mg/dl [5 mmol/L], even after meals. I am also a swimmer, and my competition suffered significantly this summer. I went to a dietitian who recommended a balanced diet with fat, carbs, and protein. After a couple of weeks, I began to feel grow extremely thirsty, and, after tough workouts, I get sharp pains in my stomach. I have been urinating a lot, and drinking constantly. I have checked my blood sugar, and, after not eating for almost eight hours, it was 166 mg/dl [9.2 mmol/L]. The next morning, after a 18 hour fast, it was 134 mg/dl [7.4 mmol/L]. It has been between 110-135 mg/dl [6.1-7.5 mmol/L] over a dozen times in the last few weeks.

Some of my relatives have type�2 diabetes, but no one in my immediate family has it. What could this be, and is this normal? Should I ask my doctor about this? It does not seem to be getting better.

Answer:

It isn’t too easy to work out what is going on from what you write, but it is important to get this checked out and sorted by your doctor as soon as you can, as your glucose readings are not all in the normal range.

JS