Author Message

>Can anyone please tell me what Glucagon is and what a {*filter*} test for this can
>tell a doctor? Also, is it reasonable to wait over 2 weeks for the results?  
>Thank you one and all.

Glucagon is a hormone produced by certain cells in the pancreas called
alpha cells (insulin is produced by beta cells) and acts primarily on two
sites, the liver and adipose tissue (fat). Its primary function is to increase
{*filter*} sugar by breaking down the glycogen stores in the liver and promoting
the manufacture of glucose from amino acids, a process called gluconeogenesis.
It also promotes the breakdown of fat into free fatty acids in the adipose
tissue. Glucagon is used as a drug to reverse insulin-induced hypoglycemia
(low {*filter*} sugar) in cases where intravenous glucose is not immediately
available.  The only utility that I know of measuring glucagon levels in the
{*filter*} is in the diagnosis of glucagonoma, a VERY RARE tumor of the pancreas
which produces glucagon in high quantities. This is a very slow-growing tumor
which is usually detected on average at 50 years of age. The symptoms include
the symptoms of diabetes (weight loss, increased urination, increased thirst,
etc) but the most common symptom is a chronic red-brown skin rash on the arms
and legs with flaking of the skin, often in association with chapped lips.

The test may take weeks to obtain results because very few laboratories do it
and those that do may only do the test once a week or so, so the {*filter*} sample
has to be mailed to the laboratory, received, processed,etc,etc. Remember how
the toys you sent away for with cereal box tops always said "wait 4-6 weeks for
delivery"? This sort of thing applies to any test which is not done nearby;
fortunately, this applies only to relatively uncommon tests.

Brandon Brylawski, M.D.

Mon, 19 Apr 1993 20:43:00 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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