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June 29, 2001

Other Illnesses

Question from Richmond, Virginia, USA:

My three year old son has had at least three major seizures in the last six months. Each time he begins to act whiny, then suddenly turns very white/blue, somewhat stiff backed, eyes open, sweats, and collapses without consciousness. He does not shake or convulse. It has been all times of day, and he gradually comes out of it, but he is very groggy for about 10-15 minutes. We practically forced fruit juice each time assuming low sugar, but there was no real reason his sugar should be extra low each of these times. Should we be concerned with epilepsy? He has taken many big bangs on the head as a toddler. Both my husband and I have been fainters — I experience low blood sugar. My son’s reactions seem so fast compared to my own, but maybe he is too young to understand the signs. What tests should we request?


From: DTeam Staff

You don’t tell us whether or not your small son has diabetes. If this indeed the case, then the next step is to develop a rather complete profile of blood sugar levels over the 24 hours, and, with the help of his diabetes team, to work out what adjustments of insulin, dose, type and regimen together with changes in diet are needed to correct the problem.

If on the other hand your son does not have diabetes, a different approach is needed. The simplest explanation might be that these are what are called “febrile seizures”, but the story you give does not suggest this. I think therefore that he needs to be seen by a pediatrician or a pediatric neurologist for a careful history and physical and then to have an EEG and probably a number of other studies done. The possibility of hypoglycemia for some other reason will certainly be on the list of possible diagnoses.