Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Understanding Kids with Hypoglycemia

Understanding Kids with Hypoglycemia

By Marc Courtiol

Hypoglycemia is a condition that is often associated with diabetes. It is characterized by low blood sugar (glucose) levels. Hypoglycemia itself is not a disease, but an indicator of some other health problem. It is a very dangerous condition for kids simply because our brains need a steady supply of glucose in order to function properly.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms that are typical of kids who are suffering from hypoglycemia can also be indicators of other problems, so it is important to see your doctor if you experience any of these.
  • Visual disturbances – especially double or blurred vision
  • Confusion or abnormal behavior – some people may find it difficult to complete routine tasks that they normally do not have a problem with
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures (though not a common symptom)
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hunger
For the most part, hypoglycemia occurs in kids who have diabetes. It usually results from a person’s medication. Kids and teenagers who do not have diabetes can develop hypoglycemia, however, and there are several reasons why this condition might develop in otherwise healthy individuals.
  • Alcohol consumption (generally excessive)
  • Medications – certain medications can cause hypoglycemia; usually, these are diabetes medications or quinine
  • Endocrine deficiencies – there are some disorders of the adrenal glands and the pituitary gland that can cause a deficiency of hormones that regulate the production of glucose
  • Certain critical illnesses – liver diseases, kidney disorders, and long-term starvation may all result in hypoglycemia
  • Tumors - in rare cases, tumors of the pancreas may develop and result in the development of hypoglycemia. People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery are at risk of developing such tumors
Treatment

To effectively treat hypoglycemia, there are two basic approaches that must be used. First of all, some immediate treatment needs to be taken in order to raise blood glucose levels. This can be accomplished by eating candy, drinking fruit juice, or taking glucose tablets.

The next step in the treatment process is to identify the root cause of the hypoglycemia. For people who do not have diabetes, and do not have any type of kidney or liver problem, lifestyle factors may need to be addressed in order to adequately solve the problem.

In some situations, there may be other types of medications that cause periodic episodes of hypoglycemia to occur. This is something that a primary care physician needs to investigate in order to make an accurate determination. In addition, some people may have inherited metabolic deficiencies that directly affect the metabolism of carbohydrates in the body. These types of conditions are usually first noticed during childhood. It would be very rare for an adult to suddenly start displaying symptoms of this type without having had such problems throughout life.

If you have one or more of the symptoms that are commonly associated with hypoglycemia, make an appointment with your doctor so that testing can be done. Fasting blood tests are usually the first step in diagnosing this condition.

About Marc: Marc Courtiol is a graduate of Cornell University and authors many articles in a popular online natural health journal site http://www.natural-health-journals.com/. He also believes in the many uses of gripe water for newborn colic.

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