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Question:

From Ontario, California, USA:

We seem to be entering a new phase in the saga of our ten year old's "problems" with diabetes. For the last week, he has been running very low. His blood sugar levels have been 50-80 after eating enough to fill a horse. Today, for example, he didn't take the lunch I had prepared for him and had a "Rib a Que Sandwich" (pure sugar. Which is why the kids love them so much), two apples, an orange, two glasses of milk, three cookies. (I didn't know all this) and then while we were shopping, he told me he was feeling "shakey" and sick to his tummy. So I got him some ice cream. We were on our way to the doctor's office to follow up on the blood tests to check for anything else we could think of to explain these symptoms. (Nothing else has shown up.) And the doctor told me there was nothing wrong with him.

On Sunday night, he played a hockey game and at the end of the game, he started yelling for me. I ran over to him. He was shaking like a leaf and said he was dizzy and couldn't see well. The team mom had a jug of Koolaid there and I made him drink a lot of it. Within ten minutes he was fine. We came home, and while I prepared a hot bath for him, he checked his blood sugar and it was 60. This has been typical for about a week and a half now. I am totally ignorant of what happens when the levels get so low that it makes him dizzy, etc.

When I informed our family physician of this, he told me all tests were negative and that there was nothing to worry about. Kids get dizzy and shaky from sports. Our son has been playing hockey for two years and this has never happened. (A teammate told me that our son had the same thing happen on Friday night and that he didn't want me to know, because I would pull him out of the game.)

Do we worry about the low sugar levels like we worry about the high ones? Also, we weighed him tonight at the doctor's office. He has gained one pound in the last two and a half weeks. I have been feeding him every time I think of it, because of the dramatic weight loss, and he has only gained a pound. This has me concerned also. Thanks, again, for any insight you can give us.

Answer:

You describe a pattern of recurrent low blood sugars in a child who hasn't been much troubled with hypos in the past. I will assume that your son has not increased insulin dose, reduced carbohydrate intake or significantly increased exercise which would account for the change. This leaves very few possibilities - he could have developed an underactive thyroid gland - unlikely if he's not gaining weight; underactive adrenal glands (Addison's disease) - rare but possible; some gut problem that is preventing absorption of food - he would probably have diarrhoea or pain, or he could be taking extra doses of insulin or hiding food. None of these explanations are particularly common but deserve consideration.

KJR

[Editor's comment: Low blood sugars can be dangerous; even though you report that your son's doctor thinks there's nothing wrong, there's something wrong, based on what you're reporting to us. Your son and you should go back to the doc, or see a Diabetes Team for a second opinion if you're not already doing so. WWQ]

Original posting 16 Jan 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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