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September 10, 2000

Hypoglycemia

Question from America On-Line:

My 10 year old was just diagnosed with hypoglycemic episodes. We were told to give her protein with three meals a day plus one protein snack prior to bedtime. I am finding tons of information about hypoglycemia, but not if one is just having episodes. She has experienced syncope and reacted to the three-hour glucose tolerance test. We are to go for a dietary consult. What can I expect for her future? Can this be controlled with diet? Will she outgrow this? Will it worsen to type 1 diabetes?

Answer:

I am always reluctant to diagnose hypoglycemia. I personally believe that a glucose tolerance test is not the best way to diagnose hypoglycemia. I prefer to teach patients to monitor glucose and actually test when symptomatic. I usually find the symptoms and the glucoses don’t match, because hypoglycemia is actually very rare in children (not infants mind you). Syncope can come from a lot of other causes, fluid balance, heart problems, and even seizures. It requires a careful evaluation.

The standard dietary consult consists of frequent feeding and the use of foods that help prolong the glycemic effect, complex carbohydrates and some protein.

LD