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Hypoglycemia is a common problem in neonates that has many causes. This review focuses on metabolic disorders that may be associated with hypoglycemia in the neonatal period.

During intrauterine life, the fetus derives fuel, as glucose, from the mother via the placenta. After birth, the energy demands on the former fetus increase dramatically. The baby now must maintain its own body temperature and must undertake the work of breathing and other activities. Further, the maintenance of blood glucose levels requires glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis. Postnatally, there are four sources of glucose: dietary glucose; glucose derived from the cleavage of more complex sugars in the gut (eg, lactose to glucose and galactose); glucose released from glycogen stores (primarily in the liver); and gluconeogenesis, in which glucose is synthesized from carbon skeletons derived from certain amino acids using energy derived from catabolism of fatty...

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