What is it?

Von Gierke disease is a condition in which the body cannot break down glycogen. Glycogen is a form of sugar (glucose) that is stored in the liver and muscles. It is normally broken down into glucose to give you more energy when you need it.

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Von Gierke disease.

Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Type I glycogen storage disease

Signs & symptoms

These are symptoms of von Gierke disease:
* Constant hunger and need to eat often
* Easy bruising and nosebleeds
* Fatigue
* Irritability
* Puffy cheeks, thin chest and limbs, and swollen belly


The doctor will perform a physical exam. The exam may show signs of:
* Delayed puberty
* Enlarged liver
* Gout
* Inflammatory bowel disease
* Liver tumors
* Severe low blood sugar
* Stunted growth or failure to grow
* Children with this condition are usually diagnosed before age 1.

Tests that may be done include:
* Biopsy of liver or kidney
* Blood sugar test
* Genetic testing
* Lactic acid blood test
* Triglyceride level
* Uric acid blood test
If a person has this disease, test results will show low blood sugar and high levels of lactate (produced from lactic acid), blood fats (lipids), and uric acid.


The goal of treatment is to avoid low blood sugar. Eat frequently during the day, especially foods that contain carbohydrates (starches). Older children and adults may take cornstarch by mouth to increase their carbohydrate intake.
In some children, a feeding tube is placed through their nose into the stomach throughout the night to provide sugars or uncooked cornstarch. The tube can be taken out each morning. Alternatively, a gastrostomy tube (G-tube) can be placed to deliver food directly to the stomach overnight.
A medicine to lower uric acid in the blood and decrease the risk for gout may be prescribed. Your provider may also prescribe medicines to treat kidney disease, high lipids, and to increase the cells that fight infection.
People with von Gierke disease cannot properly break down fruit or milk sugar. It is best to avoid these products.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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