DRG Category: 640
Mean LOS: 5.1 days
Description MEDICAL: Nutritional and Miscellaneous Metabolic Disorders with Major CC
Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood glucose falls below 50 mg/dL. Normal blood glucose values range between 70 and 110 mg/dL. A series of complex physiological responses is set off when a patient develops a low level of blood glucose. The most dramatic is the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) or adrenergic response, which is primarily the result of epinephrine. Epinephrine stimulates the liver to convert glycogen into glucose to support the falling serum glucose. In addition, the reticular activating system creates a state of alertness and wakefulness (fight-or-flight reaction).
Cerebral dysfunction occurs when the central nervous system (CNS) is deprived of glucose for cellular needs. In contrast to muscle and fat cells in the body that can break down amino and fatty acids for energy, the brain cells depend on glucose for energy. When the liver's supply of glycogen is depleted and no replacement is available, brain damage results. Prolonged periods of hypoglycemia can lead to coma, permanent brain damage, and death.