Pediatric Hyperinsulinism

Pediatric Hyperinsulinism

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Summary

Hyperinsulinemia causes abnormally high levels of insulin, the hormone that helps control blood sugar levels.

Expanded Overview

Hyperinsulinemia is a condition in which a child’s pancreas releases too much insulin, which results in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). In most cases, hyperinsulinemia is congenital (present at birth). However, in some cases, children may develop the condition later.

Too much insulin in the blood, which leads to low blood sugar, causes problems that affect a child’s entire body. Low blood sugar can affect brain development and can lead to seizures, brain damage, coma and possibly death.

Causes

In most cases, hyperinsulinemia is congenital (present at birth) and is caused by a genetic mutation during fetal development.

When hyperinsulinemia is not caused by a genetic mutation, it may be caused by:

  • Gestational diabetes in the mother
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain at birth
  • Large birth weight
  • Premature birth

Symptoms

Symptoms of hyperinsulinemia include:

  • Confusion
  • Excessive hunger
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Feeding difficulty
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy (lack of energy)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Shaking
  • Weakness

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