Functional hypoglycemia is low blood sugar caused by abnormal function--not disease -- of the pancreas. The pancreas, pancreatic islet-cell secretions (mostly insulin), and eventually all body cells are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Psychotherapy or counseling to learn to cope with stress.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSWeakness or faintness.
Nervousness and trembling hands.
Loss of consciousness.
The following vary greatly among children in frequency and severity:
CAUSESFunctional hypoglycemia probably results when the pancreas produces too much insulin in response to sugars and other carbohydrates, heavy exercise, pregnancy, or unknown causes.
The following drugs decrease blood-sugar levels in some children: tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, aspirin, sulfonurea medications, phenformin, haloperidol, propoxyphene, and chlorpromazine.
Some doctors believe functional hypoglycemia may be the first indication that diabetes mellitus is developing.
Use of drugs, such as those listed above.
Fatigue or overwork.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEInstructions for your child:
DIET & FLUIDSAvoid stress.
Don't drink alcohol.
(opposite page). Don't skip meals.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory studies, such as blood-sugar and glucose-tolerance tests.
Special studies that may include:
-- Ultrasonography: A non-invasive technique that translates sound waves into images displayed on a screen and photographed (See Glossary).
-- CAT or CT Scan (computerized axial tomography): Non-invasive computerized X-ray images that show sections (or "slices") of an organ or region of the body clearly and precisely (See Glossary).
-- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A non-invasive (non-X-ray) computerized test that uses radio frequency energy and a powerful magnetic field to produce images with excellent detail (See Glossary).
-- Radionuclide Scan: A nuclear medicine procedure that uses radioactive isotopes injected into a patient. The isotope tracers are absorbed in various concentrations by targeted organs, which are then photographed (See Glossary).
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSRepeated attacks can cause personality changes.
Symptoms can be controlled with treatment.
HOME CAREConsider lifestyle changes for your child. See Appendices 19 and 48.
MEDICATIONMedicine usually is not helpful for this disorder.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
Encourage your child to eat 5 or 6 small meals a day that are low in simple carbohydrates, moderate in fats, and high in protein. Between-meals snacks should include protein, such as chicken, eggs, cheese, or skim milk, rather than carbohydrates. The child should avoid highly concentrated sweets, such as candy.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes. Your child should stay active.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of functional hypoglycemia.