The clinical manifestations that may result from abuse of alcohol are numerous. Profound, sometimes fatal, hypoglycaemia, first described a little over 20 years ago (Brown and Harvey, 1941), is among them although as far as we are aware, not previously described in this country. This may be due partly to differences in drinking habits here and abroad where “bootleg” liquor is more readily available, and partly to failure to recognize this complication of alcohol. Many cases of alcohol induced hypoglycaemia may well go undiagnosed, alcoholaemia alone being held responsible for bizarre behaviour or alteration in consciousness following the drinking of alcohol-containing beverages. In some cases, a patient brought into the casualty department with a provisional diagnosis of “drunkenness” is found to have a low blood sugar and the diagnosis hastily altered to the more socially acceptable one of “hypoglycaemia”, but without the cause of the hypoglycaemia ever being determined.
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