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January 19, 2006

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Douglasville, Georgia, USA:

I have had a few people insisting that I go see a doctor about my problem, which, for the past three years has gotten worse. If I'm working in the yard or just go for a hard walk without eating for a short time, I get the shakes, really bad and they're getting worse. I don't drink a lot of caffeine at all. Sometimes, I can feel my insides start to shake and my hands shake. We went on a trip last week and left at 3 a.m. I didn't eat before we left. When we stopped at 7 a.m., I was shaking so bad I almost couldn't eat. About 20 minutes after eating, it gets better. Now, I'm starting to get purple toes, if that makes any sense. Sometimes my toes are really purple. No, my toes aren't cold. I can take a hot bath get out and stand up and they're still purple. I am 40 years old, 6 feet, 4 inches, and weigh about 175 pounds. Should I have my blood sugar checked? Could it be some type of diabetes?

Answer:

Yes, I think you should have this checked out as part of a larger medical check-up. Testing the blood sugar would be one of several tests to have performed. There are conditions where the blood sugar goes down too low on its own. You need to see a doctor to help sort this out. Hypoglycemia, the term used to describe low blood sugars, can occur if there is uncontrolled production of insulin. Other causes for low blood sugar exist when the liver cannot make enough glucose on its own between meals.

JTL