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Question:

From British Columbia, Canada:

I'm a 16 year old girl, and for the last year I have been suffering from dizziness, headaches, cravings for sugar and blackouts. I've gone to my doctor who has taken some blood tests and he has told me that I have Low Blood Sugar and Low Blood Pressure. My blood glucose level is at 40 when it should be between 60-110. He has just told me to keep coming in for more tests every so often and to watch my diet. Is there a name for what I have? the doctor said something about hypoglycemia, what is that exactly? And he also mentioned something about my body not getting enough insulin, could I have diabetes?

Answer:

The symptoms that you have been having for the past year might indicate hypoglycemia, which is a technical term for a blood sugar level that sometimes falls below normal limits. Without knowing a lot more about your medical history and physical examination and the tests that have already been done it is difficult to make any specific suggestions over the Internet.

To answer one question though, hypoglycemia can be a very uncommon way for Type 1 diabetes to present: it is thought to be due to an inappropriate delay in the secretion of insulin in response to a glucose load by the damaged insulin-secreting beta cells.

You might talk to your doctor about getting an antibody test done which would exclude by far the commonest form of diabetes at your age and at the same time arrange to have an anti 21-hydroxlase antibody assayed. The telephone number for him/her to call for details is 1-800-425-8361. This latter test would eliminate another cause of low blood sugar and low blood pressure.

If your general health is being significantly impaired by all of these problems it might be neccessary to do some more extensive laboratory investigations; but in the meantime I hope you will accept that there could also be a psychosocial explanation for all of this rather than a specific organic condition. For this reason I would suggest asking your doctor to arrange for you to meet a medical social worker or a clinical psychologist who is used to working with your age group they might be able to get to the bottom of all of this very quickly indeed.

D'OB

Original posting 21 Jan 1999
Posted to Hypoglycemia

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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