|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 168-169
Hyperinsulinemia with acute severe malnutrition
Department of Paediatrics, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria
|Date of Web Publication||14-Oct-2016|
Department of Paediatrics, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Bayero University, Kano
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Aliyu I. Hyperinsulinemia with acute severe malnutrition. Sahel Med J 2016;19:168-9
Protein–energy malnutrition (PEM) is prevalent in most developing countries , and it accounts for 40.1% of childhood mortality in Enugu, Nigeria. Though the exact mechanism of PEM is not completely understood; poverty, ignorance, and infection are associated risk factors.
Persistent hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia is a heterogeneous disease that may presents in the neonatal period; though it can also occur in older age children, adolescents, and adults. In developed countries, where healthcare is accessible diagnosis may be established early in life, however, in a setting where healthcare facilities are not easily accessible like in Nigeria, diagnosis may be delayed with the child presenting late with complications; notable among them are repeated seizures with neurologic deficits and death; but malnutrition as a primary presentation is uncommon. More so hypoglycemia is a common complication of severe acute malnutrition (SAM); therefore a case of a 12-month-old girl who was malnourished with hyperinsulinemia and hypoglycemia is reported.
A 12-month-old girl presented with fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing associated with weight loss and peripheral edema; parents noticed the weight loss at about the sixth month of life. She was not exclusively breastfed; and was on cereal based diet. Though it was well tolerated, she progressively lost weight. The mid-arm circumference was 9 cm; weight was 7 kg which was <−3 Z-score for age, the length was 70 cm while the occipitofrontal circumference was 47 cm with pedal edema [Figure 1]. She was managed for pneumonia with acute severe malnutrition. The chest infection was controlled, but she had persistent hypoglycemia despite adequate feeding. This was mostly noticed at night when the frequency of feeding was less. An analysis of the urine revealed the absence of ketones and the blood insulin assay was elevated. Therefore, the diagnosis of hyperinsulinemia was made. The frequency of feeding was increased also at night and was treated with octreotide. Hypoglycemia was controlled, and the patient was referred to a tertiary center for further care.
Glucose is the main immediate source of energy; it is produced through the breakdown of glycogen, gluconeogenesis, and fatty acid metabolism. In persistent hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia of infancy, there is a defect in glucose regulation of insulin secretion resulting in excessive insulin secretion. The insulin receptor has 2 components; the sulfonylurea receptor 1 and the potassium channel. Deficiency of adequate calories coupled with poor weaning practice contributed to the overt malnutrition in the index case. Hypoglycemia is a common complication in severe malnutrition therefore other possible causes could easily be overlooked. More so increased insulin secretion has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of kwashiorkor; hence it could be a diagnostic dilemma if other possible differentials are not entertained, persistence of hypoglycemia despite adequate feeding made SAM as the sole cause unlikely. Therefore, the decision to treat for hyperinsulinemia resulted in control of hypoglycemia.
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