What are the key symptoms of insulinomas?
The tumours are associated with episodes of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) that can cause an array of symptoms.
Low blood sugar levels can affect the central nervous system (the brain) causing episodes or attacks of confusion, panic attacks and even personality change.
The insulin producing tumours can also affect the autonomic nervous system (that controls many of the organs, muscles and systems in the body, such as heart rate) causing palpitations, sweating and a trembly feeling.
Patients with an insulinoma will find eating or drinking something sugary can quickly alleviate their symptoms.
Low blood sugar levels caused by the tumour can trigger
- Confusion, anxiety, personality disorders and even aggressiveness
- Rapid heartbeat, sweating, palpitations, feelings of hunger, dizziness and drowsiness. You may look pale, have a headache, feel irritable and suddenly weak.
- If blood sugar drops very low or very suddenly it is possible to lose consciousness and it can even lead to seizures (fits).
Note: Insulin normally helps to lower blood sugar, and when it gets to the right level the body gets a signal to stop the insulin production.