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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What does "HI" stand for? One of my family members

Answered by
Dr. Ornela Ademovi

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 737 Questions

Posted on Fri, 1 Mar 2019 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: What does "HI" stand for? One of my family members is driving an individual to a local vocational center, but was told by her father that she was diagnosed with "HI," although he stated "but it's not HIV." I've tried to research HI but have found nothing, other than a strain of bacteria that seems to cause a lot of different diseases that a lot of people are vaccinated for at a young age. We have also been told that the individual has been diagnosed as having this as of 2016, and that her mother (who is deceased due to a drug overdose) apparently also had it. So my question is...what could they be referring to?
Follow up: Dr. Ornela Ademovi 1 minute later
The person in question seems to have a lot of stomach issues and my family states that when she gets her food, she seems extremely hungry. I don't know if this is related.
Follow up: Dr. Ornela Ademovi 1 minute later
She also takes shots to prevent pregnancy from time to time. As a child, her mother was a drug addict and often sold her to men for sex so that she could get drugs. Her and her brother were put in foster care as a result. She is also sometimes a bit slow to understand certain concepts and not always fully aware of social queues, but this may just simply be a social stigma.
Answered by Dr. Ornela Ademovi 4 hours later
Brief Answer:
Congenital Hyperinsulinism

Detailed Answer:

In my opinion, based on the details you have provided, the condition they are referring to is called Congenital Hyperinsulinism, otherwise known as Hyperinsulinism of Infancy (HI) or Familial Hyperinsulinism.

As the name implies, it is a genetic condition and is caused by overproduction of the hormone insulin from the pancreas.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for managing and regulating blood sugar. In healthy people, after eating, blood sugar (glucose) rises and as a result insulin is released in order to put glucose inside the cells and the rest of it is stored in the liver. After the blood sugar goes back to normal, the pancreas stops releasing insulin.

However, in people with HI this does not happen, therefore, insulin keeps being released into the blood leading to very low glucose levels. Very low glucose levels means very low fuel for the cells. This causes symptoms such as irritability, extreme hunger, sleepiness, fast heart beat, weakness, shaking, tiredness, confusion and may also lead to seizures and coma. Since this disease is present since birth, it may cause brain damage due to brain cells being starved of glucose. The degree of brain damage may vary from very mild to severe, depending on when the disease is detected and the start of treatment.

I hope this answers your question. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Take care
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D

The User accepted the expert's answer

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