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March 9, 2002

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Beacon Falls, Connecticut, USA:

Within the last couple of months, I have noticed that my 15 month old son (adjusted age by a year because he was 12 weeks early), suddenly will zone out, his eyes become glazed, and then he slumps over and tries to go to sleep. When I see this, I give him either a cup of milk or juice, and he usually perks up right away. He has no other problems besides reflux from being so early. I have talked to his pediatrician about it who basically said that it's unusual for a child this early to have hypoglycemia and that there are no tests that aren't too traumatic that he can do to confirm or deny it. Besides making sure that he gets a mid-morning or midday snack, is there any testing you can recommend I have done? Could it be that he doesn't have hypoglycemia but something else? Any course of action you can recommend or information that could set my mind at ease?

Answer:

Having a hand-held glucose meter can be useful in a situation such as this. Some of the newer meters, such as the One Touch� Ultra can test blood in as little as five seconds. Testing to see if your son has a low blood sugar would be useful to help rule out hypoglycemia if that indeed is what is concerning to you. There certainly can be other causes of this behavior. Your pediatrician should be a great resource for you in determining the cause if possible of these events.

MSB

[Editor’s comment: If you do get a meter, make sure it is FDA approved for use in infants. Otherwise the results you get may be inaccurate. In addition, if you are truly concerned, I would ask your son’s pediatrician for a referral to a pediatric endocrinologist for a second opinion.

SS]