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February 22, 2004

Hypoglycemia

Question from Swindon, United Kingdom:

My daughter first had a hypoglycemic episode when she was 11 months old, when her blood sugar was recorded at 1 mmol [18 mg/dl]. She was treated at the time and went on to endure two 'controlled' fasts within which she had more hypoglycemic episodes. The first episode came after 16.5 hours fasting, and the second after only 13.5 hours. During the episodes, she experiences jerking, her eyes roll and she is always sick, bile only. Her doctor has tested her blood for cortisol levels at the time of the episodes and has also done some other general blood counts but she says everything is normal, so, she seems to think that we should leave it there. She said that it is quite acceptable for a child of 18 months to experience hypoglycemia as some children just don't store glycogen very well. Should I resign myself to the fact that this is just 'one of those unexplained things' as my doctor says or should I push for more testing? I have done a little investigating since I'm currently studying human biology at college. I know that there are many possibilities to explain her hypoglycemia and I am frustrated that we should just leave things there. If you do suggest more testing, what tests should I be pushing for? She currently sleeps 12-13 hours a night so I am petrified that I will find my daughter in real danger most mornings. Surely we can't live like that. In the last six months, she has also become lactose intolerant, frequently experiences severe diarrhea and has fallen off her percentiles on her weight chart.

Answer:

Your doctor is correct about this being common, but I think that further investigation for conditions like glycogen storage disease should be done. In the meantime, you should ensure that your daughter has a starchy snack, such as cereal, before bed.

KJR