Causes of hypoglycemia

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This list of causes of hypoglycemia is separated from the main article because of its length. Despite its length, it is not exhaustive, as new causes are reported regularly in the medical literature. In many individual instances of hypoglycemia, more than one contributing factor may be identifiable. In this list are some factors not usually sufficient to cause hypoglycemia by themselves. Some of these causes are represented by single case reports.

Causes of Transient Neonatal Hypoglycemia

Starvation, Inadequate Intake Or Absorption

Major Organ Failure & Critical Illness

Extrapancreatic Tumors


Hormone Deficiencies

Metabolic Defects

Drugs And Toxic substances

Idiopathic And Miscellaneous

  • Ketotic hypoglycemia
    • Identifiable hormone and enzyme deficiencies
  • Idiopathic
    • Idiopathic hypoglycemias, etiologies undetermined
    • Autoimmune
    • Antibodies to insulin
    • Antibodies to insulin receptor
    • Stimulating antibodies to islet cells
    • Thyrotoxicosis (extremely rare)
    • Infection
  • Extreme exercise
  • Artifactual
    • In vitro glucose consumption after blood drawing
    • Leukemic WBC's may consume glucose in vitro
    • Polycythemia of infancy (RBCs consume glucose in vitro)
    • Inaccuracies of blood drop strips
    • Inherent variation inaccuracy at low end
    • Inadequate drop
    • Excessive wiping
    • Short time interval

Reactive, Functional, Postprandial, Etc.

  • Prediabetes (both categories controversial & may not be valid)
    • Juvenile diabetes (rare, anecdotal reports)
    • Adult onset diabetes (in early stages)
  • After intravenous glucose load
  • Abrupt discontinuation of parenteral nutrition or i.v. glucose
  • After exchange transfusion with ACD preserved blood in neonate
  • Alimentary (rapid jejunal emptying with exaggerated insulin response)
  • Post fundoplication for gastroesophageal reflux
  • Post gastrectomy dumping syndrome
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Idiopathic gastrointestinal motility disturbance
  • Alternate day growth hormone therapy
  • Idiopathic reactive or postprandial hypoglycemia (hypoglycemia documented at time of symptoms: rare)
  • Idiopathic postprandial syndrome (hypoglycemia never documented: common)