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From Indiana, USA:

My 4 year old daughter has been diagnosed with ketone hypoglycemia. What can you tell me about this? So far they don't think she is diabetic. Do you know if there is a connection between the two?


The term "ketotic hypoglycemia" was coined by a Dr. Ulstrom in Minneapolis some 40 or more years ago and referred to transient low blood sugars and ketones in the urine in an infant or young child with an intercurrent illness. At first it was thought that this was a specific abnormal metabolic condition especially as the same combination of low blood sugars and urinary ketones are indeed associated in some inborn errors of metabolism; but appear at a much younger age.

Nowadays the term is not applied to any specific condition and certainly not one related to diabetes because it is clear that any sick child with a diminished appetite will start to use body fat stores for energy in the absence of glucose from ingested carbohydrate and thus have a low blood sugar and ketones in the urine. In this context it is sometimes easier to use the term "ketotic hypoglycemia" than to try to define the underlying cause of what is probably a mild viral infection.


Original posting 27 Apr 2000
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:10
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