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October 3, 2001

Hypoglycemia

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Question from Mena, Arkansas, USA:

I am 31 years old, and as was first noticed 16 years ago, my blood sugar is always less than 40 mg/dl [2.2 mmol/L], regardless of what or when I eat, but I do not have diabetes. I am always tired and cranky, and I never seem to have enough energy. Because I have never fainted, blacked out or have tremors, all of the doctors I have seen seem either uninterested, tell me to eat more (or less, or more often, etc), and say not to worry about it. No one can tell me the cause of this and whether there may be long term effects. What are the causes of low blood sugar not related to diabetes?

Answer:

There are metabolic diseases related to glycogen, a starch stored in the liver that cause hypoglycemia. Likewise, some sugar enzyme defects can cause hypoglycemia, and too much insulin from your pancreas can be to blame. I would suggest seeing a good endocrinologist. He/she should be able to help if you truly have hypoglycemia.

LD