Your doctor will use three criteria — often referred to as Whipple's triad — to diagnose hypoglycemia. Whipple's triad includes the following factors:
Signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. You may not exhibit signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia during your initial visit with your doctor. In this case, your doctor may have you fast overnight (or for a longer period). This will allow hypoglycemic symptoms to occur so that he or she can make a diagnosis.
It's also possible that you'll need to undergo an extended fast in a hospital setting. Or if your symptoms occur after a meal, your doctor will want to test your glucose levels after a meal.
- Documentation of low blood glucose when the signs and symptoms occur. Your doctor will draw a sample of your blood to be analyzed in the laboratory.
- Disappearance of the signs and symptoms. The third part of the diagnostic triad involves whether your signs and symptoms go away when blood glucose levels are raised.
In addition, your doctor will likely conduct a physical examination and review your medical history.
Jan. 20, 2015
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=331. Accessed Dec. 24, 2014.
- Hypoglycemia. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/hypoglycemia/index.aspx. Accessed Dec. 28, 2014.
- Gardner DG, et al. Greenspan's Basic & Clinical Endocrinology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookId=380. Accessed Dec. 24, 2014.
- Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2015. Diabetes Care. 2015;38 (suppl):s7.
- Service FJ, et al. Hypoglycemia in adults: Clinical manifestations, definition, and causes. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 24, 2014.
- Hypoglycemia. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine_and_metabolic_disorders/diabetes_mellitus_and_disorders_of_carbohydrate_metabolism/hypoglycemia.html#v989452. Accessed Dec. 24, 2014.
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