From Chillicothe, Ohio, USA:
My daughter is 9 years old. She doesn't eat well, has stomach aches and diarrhea. She has been tested and has low blood sugar. Our doctor said to make sure she eats right. Could this be hypoglycemia? What are other symptoms I should look for? Could it be something else? Can it get worse? Should I see an endocrinologist?
Technically, hypoglycemia refers to a blood sugar level lower than normal: some people give an exact number, like lower than 50 mg/dl. This diagnosis can accurately be made only if a blood specimen is drawn when the child is having symptoms of low blood sugar. The blood specimen must also be properly processed to avoid a false drop in blood sugar level which can occur if the blood sits in some test tubes too long without being centrifuged.
Most kids or adolescents who receive the diagnosis of hypoglycemia are not truly hypoglycemic. They don't have serious symptoms of a low blood sugar such as loss of consciousness or seizures and do not have an abnormally low blood sugar if their blood is drawn during symptoms and properly processed. What they do have is some of the mild, annoying, but not dangerous symptoms of a dropping blood sugar (nervousness, hunger, trembling). Also, young children may occasionally become nauseous and vomit with low blood sugar. The symptoms are caused by the production of hormones to prevent the blood sugar from going dangerously low for the brain. These symptoms may occur if they go a long time without eating or if they eat foods high in concentrated sugar. These annoying, but not serious symptoms can usually be avoided by eating frequently, choosing low sugar, high protein foods.
If your daughter is happening to have severe symptoms of low blood sugar such as loss of consciousness or seizures, or if true low blood sugar is documented, a thorough evaluation must be made to look for the cause.
If a child has a stomach virus, this can also produce the symptoms you noticed in your daughter.
Original posting 10 Dec 97
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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