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March 13, 2002

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Nutley, New Jersey, USA:

I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia two years ago, which resulted from my body's inability to produce cortisol or carnitine to regulate the release of insulin after I ate. My blood sugars seem to be in the low normal range with a regular eating pattern, but they often go out of range (anywhere from 40-180 mg/dl [2.2-10 mmol/L]) Could this possibly lead to my developing diabetes later in life?

Answer:

I am not sure. If you have Addison’s disease (adrenal insufficiency) and are on replacement, this should take care of the problem. If not, I am not sure if this is a usual cause of reactive hypoglycemia or a more special type of problem.

There is a concern that hypoglycemia may lead to type 2 diabetes, and that the lows are the result of dysregulation of insulin secretion. I am not sure that particular concept has been rigorously studied in people.

JTL