Normally, the pancreas makes more insulin when your blood sugar is high and less when those levels drop. But when you have an insulinoma, the tumor will keep making insulin even when your blood sugar gets too low.
Joan Bardsley, RN, CDE, is an assistant vice president at MedStar Health Research Institute.
Q. Why does my blood sugar spike in the morning?
A. There are many reasons for a high reading.
First, look at food. What you ate the night before may be behind the blood sugar spike -- for example, if you ate much more than you usually eat, or if the amount of food was more than your medications are made to handle.
A second cause could be your medicine. Perhaps the medications you take aren't...
Hypoglycemia can be dangerous. If your blood sugar drops very low, you could faint or go into a coma.
Hypoglycemia is common in people with diabetes. It often happens because they took too much of their medicine, missed a meal, or got more exercise than usual, all of which can lower blood sugar. An insulinoma can also cause hypoglycemia when you haven’t eaten in a while, but it can happen at any time.
What Causes an Insulinoma?
It’s not clear why some people get these tumors. Women are slightly more likely to have them than men, and most people get them between ages 40 and 60. You’re also more likely to have an insulinoma if you have certain genetic diseases, including:
Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 -- when tumors grow in glands that produce hormones
Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome -- when tumors and cysts grow in many organs throughout the body