Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

What Meds Treat Hypoglycemia?

Thursday, 30 September 2010 09:19 AM

Question: Is there any medication available to help level blood sugar due to hypoglycemia? My efforts thus far seem to only add weight, while my sugar count goes up and down erratically.

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

We do not usually medicate for hypoglycemic problems, except for glucose orally or intravenously for acute reactions. We usually define the cause and correct it. Hypoglycemia in young people is usually managed conservatively by more frequent and smaller meals. Surveillance for later onset of diabetes is important also.

Rarely, cases of islet cell tumor (insulinoma) are found, and these are usually associated with episodic profound hypoglycemic spells. This condition is often seen on a CTT scan of the pancreas.

Brains do not work well without glucose, and serious brain injury is not uncommon with protracted or severe hypoglycemia that may turn life-threatening when glucose levels dip below 40.

Some of the most severe and irrecoverable brain injuries I have seen have occurred with untreated and protracted hypoglycemia induced by medication use or an intentional insulin overdose that have induced coma and vegetative states.

When critically low glucose is not recognized and treated in a timely fashion, our brain literally liquefies. Brain tissue does not need insulin to use glucose, but it undergoes rapid deterioration when it is glucose-deprived.

In recurring hypoglycemia, it is important to reverse it and, at the same time, to treat the underlying disorder that is inducing the hypoglycemia.

Not all hypoglycemia relates to prediabetic or diabetic conditions, and other endocrine disorders (such as adrenal, thyroid, etc.) and medication effects need to be considered. If the cause is not readily apparent to your doctor, ask for a referral to an endocrinologist.

© HealthDay

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