What is an insulinoma?

John A. Chabot
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism

Insulinomas arise from the islet cells of the pancreas and produce excessive amounts of insulin, resulting in low blood sugar. Typically small and noninvasive, these tumors are benign 90% of the time.

An insulinoma is a tumor, usually benign (non-cancerous), made up of specialized beta islet cells that constantly secrete insulin, causing hypoglycemia (low blood glucose–sugar). Normally, as the glucose rises with eating, the pancreas responds by secreting more insulin, which in turn helps utilize or store the glucose and its blood level drops back down into a safe range. Subsequently, as the glucose level continues to fall toward the lower limit of normal (normal, 60-100mg/dL), the secretion of insulin (by the normal beta cells in the pancreas) stops, and this allows the glucose to remain in the normal range. 

Continue Learning about Endocrine System

Endocrine System

Your endocrine system works with your nervous system to control important bodily functions. The endocrine systems responsibilities include regulating growth, sexual development and function, metabolism and mood. The endocrine syst...

em also helps give your body the energy it needs to function properly. Endocrine glands secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are considered chemical messengers, coordinating your body by transferring information from one set of cells to another. Your endocrine system health can be affected by hormone imbalances resulting from impaired glands. A hormone imbalance can cause problems with bodily growth, sexual development, metabolism and other bodily functions. Endocrine system diseases or conditions include diabetes, growth disorders and osteoporosis.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.