pancreatitis and nocturnal hypoglycemia

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Catseye, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    I just found out a new problem today: pancreatitis. And I thought it was my gallbladder acting up. So I got an ultrasound and this is what they said. I'm going for blood tests in the morning.

    I guess this explains the 3 weeks of hypoglycemic attacks I've been having several times every night between 11pm and 6am. Anybody else have this? How common is it? I've been reading that damage to the cells that product insulin and glucagon can cause serious blood sugar problems. I don't have any symptoms other than occasional pain and the hypoglycemic stuff.

    Please someone tell me this isn't permanent! I'm having to set my watch to wake me up every couple of hours so I can sip some juice and quell the attack before it happens!

    If it ain't one thing, it's another, ugh.

    karen
  2. mindbender

    mindbender New Member

    I have no idea what You're talking about, but it sounds like your in charge.

    Dan, for what it's worth.

    Dan
  3. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    Well, my friend died of a pancreatic infection about 10 years ago and I never asked the family much about it. Now I wish I did, but I didn't want to bring it up. Insulin and glucagon are pancreatic hormones. We all know about insulin, but glucagon is the opposite hormone and just as important. It raises blood glucose. Injectable glucagon is used to treat severe hypoglycemia.

    After a period of fasting, you glucagon concentrations go up. That drives hepatic glucose production and the release of glucose from glycogen and stimulates gluconeogenesis. This is what's happening (or not happening in my case) in the middle of the night. If the pancreas gets infected and the hormone producing cells in it get damaged, it can cause diabetes. I wouldn't have known about my own pancreas being inflamed if I hadn't had gallbladder pain and the opportunity for a cheap ultrasound and doc appt.

    The pancreas doesn't look as easy to treat as the liver, my expertise. I'm reading all I can on it now, but nothing looks particularly encouraging. I'll be going back for the results of the bloodwork this afternoon and praying it's not infected, but I'm not sure what to do about it yet. If you can't trace your hypoglycemia to a known cause and it's increased in intesity, you should probably get your pancreas checked. My hypoglycemia was mild before compared to these nightly episodes that are ocurring now. Well, at least I know what is causing the attacks, anyway.

    I guess in hindsight, I should have guessed and looked further than my liver because I was already needing digestive enzymes to eat or I got indigestion real bad. And the pancreas makes the digestive enzymes. That plus the hypo attacks at night were the best clues. So now I have liver AND pancreas issues. Oh joy! I guess I'll ask Santa for a new pancreas to go with the liver I asked for!

    happy xmas!

    karen
    [This Message was Edited on 12/21/2006]
  4. TKB

    TKB New Member

    I have had this problem for many years, but it seems to be getting worse. I've tested my night time blood sugar levels with a glucometer and they are also normal. I have recently suspected that glucagon might be a problem (associated with CFS?), but didn't know what to do about testing for it.

    I have a sleep study tomorrow night and asked them if I could bring my snacks along - they said "sure, you can keep them in our refrigerator!" This AM at 3:45 I ate a sandwich, then took d-ribose, and glucose tabs (for diabetics) and was still feeling "starved" - as though I hadn't eaten anything!I couldn't fall back to sleep because I still felt starved. I am a registered dietitian with a master's degree in nutrition, and this is driving me crazy because I can't figure out what to do! I am using Dr. Cheney's protocol but it isn't helping the hypoglycemia (or whatever is really going on - maybe it just feels like hypoglycemia).

    I have tried various kinds of bedtime snacks - including combinations of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that should carry me through the night, but I still wake up feeling hungry 1-2x/night. I take sleep meds to fall asleep and stay asleep and they don't work well either.

    Would love to hear if others are experiencing these symptoms. Has anyone been tested for glycogen storage diseases, etc.?

    Thanks,
    TKB
  5. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    You obviously know what to eat, but maybe your body isn't processing and assimilating properly? That's what was happening with me. I was eating tons of veggies and nothing bad and only got better when I started using digestive enzymes to eat and Teitelbaum's Daily Energy Enfusion powder. That stuff is loaded with easily absorbable forms of vitamins, minerals and aminos and really saved me. I'm sure I won't need them forever, just until the "pumps are primed" again and everything can run smoothly. I take some extra vits, mins and aminos right now, in addition, but the enzymes and the powder got me off to a good start.

    I had tried asking doctors about glycogen storage and glucagon and all that but they never gave me a satisfactory answer. So as ridiculous and nutty as it sounds, it may just be a simple matter of malnutrition because the body is unable to use the good food you are putting in it. I haven't had any of the scary or nighttime horror episodes since I've been using nutrients that are very "body ready".

    And I still have to eat every couple of hours or so during the day. I can't go more than 2 hours if I'm active or I get very hypoglycemic. That tells me my liver can't store ANYTHING properly right now and between that and pancreas and hypothalamus functions being impaired from malnutrition, the hormones aren't having an easy time of it, either.

    just in case you haven't tried these,

    karen
  6. Kimba4318

    Kimba4318 New Member

    Hi Karen - I have been on digestive enzymes in the past due to Pancreatitis. It had gotten better, but lately I feel the effects again. Can you explain to me more about how you feel when you are having a hypoglycemic attack?

    I have also been having bad burning/pinching pain under my left ribs (upper abdomen) not sure what that is but can be scary at times. If I bend over or lean forward it gets excrutiating. DO you have anything like that?

    Just wondered if you could answer any of these and see if I can be of help to you.

    Hugs
    Kim
  7. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    Just want you to know I'm watching this thread and trying to learn more from it since I've been having the problems with my blood sugar too.

    The hypoglycemic events can come at any minute, at any time of day and I'm still trying to figure out (on my own for now) how to avoid them.

    Strangely enough for me, I went on an eating binge last night, ate everything I could find including a half of a bag of cheezy mixed stuff, cottage cheese, a pomagranite, a dark chocolate cherry, some almonds too and my blood sugar was the best it's been this morning, a 91.

    Yet it also dropped to a 52 today...felt horrible while it happened. I wasn't able to soak up all you were saying in this thread, but I'll mark it to re-read later.

    Hugs,

    Nancy B
  8. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    kimba, I now see how easy it is to feel a hypoglycemic attack coming, but when it first happened to me 3 years ago, I had no clue what it was. Usually, it only happens now with activity or standing too long.

    First, I start to get just a little irritable, that's my major clue: if I'm not happy feeling or I'm finding myself thinking negatively, I need to "look" for it or try to think of when I ate or drank last OR just take a few sips of juice to be done with it and then eat something.

    When it progresses beyond this, I am MAJOR irritable, tired, my thinking gets all "stupid", like I can only tell I need to get some sugar fast, there's no "difficult thinking" allowed, and I need to sit down if I'm in a store or something. I have sat down on floors in supermarket aisles and department stores before. When I get to this point, I instruct my husband to get me sugar and I sit and wait for it. If it gets too bad or I wait to long to eat, it can really ruin the rest of my day.

    Now I won't leave the house without gatorade or juice or something sugary. I've had episodes in the middle of the night where I thought I was dying and I stayed conscious, I don't know how I made it through them. The last ones disappeared as I did more sessions with my acupressurist. He's really remarkable. I'm so lucky he just happens to be in this town. Plus I've been doing all the liver friendly steps I can: taking chinese bitters to relieve liver congestion (combination of gentian and bupleurum root, tastes like hell), taking other liver support and cleanse pills (combos of all kinds of stuff) and making sure I don't eat too much fat or protein. These and all my other supplements (including digestive enzymes) are about all I can do and hope it fixes itself. It seems to be so far.

    I think since glucagon (hormone that raises blood sugar) and insulin (hormone that lowers it, duh) are made in the pancreas, we have probably damaged it a little OR it's the liver not storing glycogen properly OR both. From what I can tell, there is no real treatment for hypoglycemia other than diet changes so the glucose tolerance test is not something I want to put myself through.

    Pain under the left ribs is weird. But some pains are weird. Okay, we know the gallbladder is on the right and the pancreas is in the middle, maybe a tiny bit to the right, but the left?? A pain I had that was weird was in my chest, or so I thought, and I went to complain at the ER because it was so bad. They gave me demerol after all the standard tests and sent me home.

    I went back the next day or the day after, can't remember, and said they better figure something out because it was "something's bad wrong pain", I remember thinking. It turns out it was my appendix! But I never had pain down on the right! It turned out somebody else had had the same symptoms the other day and they couldn't figure it out and sent him home and that person's appendix had burst!

    So they decided not to mess around with me and went for immediate exploratory surgery and it was "bubbly" so they took it out. That's another thing I can think of that maybe you could have checked
    or possibly some type of stomach malady like an ulcer or maybe even an intestinal problem, they're kind of high up. I've only had pancreas, gallbladder and appendix pain. I guess I have those unexplained "breathing pains" now and then but I don't have a clue what they are. The kidneys are up high but that should be more in the back.

    Maybe search for "pain upper abdomen" and see if you can narrow down symptoms for something before you see the doctor. If it's an organ, you have to track it down, it could be serious.

    good luck

    karen
  9. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    After reading your's peacebaby, I think I may have been having a pancreas attack at the same time I was having the appendix attack and that's why I didn't feel the pain down in the right place. Funny and scary how they can send you home with something serious and even "suggest" it's in your head. I wonder how many people actually have phantom pain that is only in their head? It's probably not too darn many.

    Hugs, if I ate what you ate, I'd be in the hospital with pancreatitis, liver- itis and every other stomach-itis there is! But if you make sure you have low glycemic foods in your stomach, that release the sugar slowly into your blood, that should help. Protein is the longest to bread down in your stomach. Juice and sugar, of course, are the fastest. Keep a drink with you always, and as soon as you feel "negative" or "irritable", ask yourself if you need a couple sips. And then eat something. Don't eat too many carbs at once, to avoid insulin spiking, and eat small meals every couple of hours. Don't wait until you're really hungry to eat.

    best wishes,

    karen
  10. Kimba4318

    Kimba4318 New Member

    Thank you for the great info. I wanted to help you and you ended up helping me. I will keep juice with me, as you advised. I surely get those moments you spoke of.

    I hope you feel better soon. I need to have my levels checked, as far as the pancreatitis, and see if some of my symptoms/pains are due to a bout of that again.

    Good Luck to you... feel better.
    Hugs
    Kim
  11. Leenerbups

    Leenerbups New Member

    I'm so surprised, (but I shouldn't be I guess) that so many on this board have this issue. Pancreatitis is supposed to be rare.

    Please take a look at this thread I posted a while back:
    http://www.chronicfatiguesyndromesupport.com/chat/forums/message.cfm?id=641310&B=FM#641310

    There is a yahoo group that has good information, but be prepared too.

    Although doctors have given me a "clean bill of health", I still get that feeling and know it's my pancreas. Very frightening.
  12. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    Hi skeesix, how much chromium? There's 200 mcg of chromium picolinate in Teitelbaum's powder I use everyday. Were you taking more than this?

    thanks,

    karen