Diabetes in Children: Preventing High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar, also called hyperglycemia, occurs when the sugar (glucose) level in the blood rises above normal. For a person who has diabetes, high blood sugar may be caused by missed diabetes medicine or insulin injection, eating too much, skipping physical activity, or illness or stress. The rapid growth during the teen years can also make it harder to keep your child's blood sugar levels within a target range.
Unlike low blood sugar, high blood sugar usually develops slowly over a period of hours or days. But it can also develop quickly (in just a few hours) if you eat a large meal or miss an insulin dose. Blood sugar levels just above the target range may make a person feel tired and thirsty. If your child's blood sugar level stays higher than normal, his or her body will adjust to that level. Over time, high blood sugar damages the eyes, heart, kidneys, blood vessels, and nerves. If your child's blood sugar continues to rise, his or her kidneys will increase the amount of urine produced and your child can become Reference dehydrated Opens New Window. If your child becomes severely dehydrated, he or she can go into a coma and possibly die.
Unless you or your child fails to notice the symptoms, you usually have time to treat high blood sugar so that it doesn't become an emergency situation. Three steps can help you prevent high blood sugar problems:
- Test your child's blood sugar often, especially during illnesses or when he or she is not following a normal routine. A child may not have symptoms of high blood sugar, which are fatigue and increased thirst and urination.
- Notify the doctor if your child has frequent high blood sugar levels or the blood sugar level is consistently staying above the target range. The medicine or insulin dosage may need to be adjusted or changed.
- Encourage your child to drink extra water or noncaffeinated, sugar-free drinks to prevent dehydration.
More information about diabetes in children can be found in these topics:
Return to topic:
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: August 1, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology