What is an insulinoma?
An insulinoma is a tumor of the pancreas derived from the beta cells which while retaining the ability to synthesise and secrete insulin is autonomous of the normal feedback mechanisms. Patients present with symptomatic hypoglycaemia
which is ameliorated by feeding. The diagnosis of an insulinoma is usually made biochemically with elevated insulin, proinsulin and C-peptide levels and confirmed by medical imaging or angiography. The definitive treatment is surgery.
Insulinomas produce excessive amounts of insulin and this causes low blood sugar. The typical symptoms that patients complain about are related to the development of low bloods sugar and include tiredness, weakness, tremulous and hunger. Many patients have to eat frequently to prevent symptoms from the low blood sugar. Some patients may develop psychiatric symptoms because of the low blood sugar.
An insulinoma is a rare benign tumour of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Such a tumour can produce abnormally high quantities of insulin so that the amount of glucose in the blood (which is reduced by insulin) can fall to dangerously low levels. This is called hypoglycaemia and, unless sugar is given immediately, the patient can potentially go into a coma and die.