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Diabetes in Children: Preventing High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar occurs when the sugar (glucose) level in the blood rises above normal. It is also called hyperglycemia. If your child has diabetes, high blood sugar may be caused by missing a dose of diabetes medicine or insulin. It may also be caused by eating too much, skipping exercise, or being ill or stressed. Fast growth during the teen years can also make it harder to keep your child's blood sugar levels in his or her target range.

Unlike low blood sugar, high blood sugar usually happens slowly over hours or days. But it can also happen quickly (in just a few hours) if your child eats a large meal or misses an insulin dose.

Blood sugar levels 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. If your child's blood sugar keeps rising, the kidneys will make more urine and your child can get dehydrated. Severe dehydration can be life-threatening. Over time, high blood sugar can damage the eyes, heart, kidneys, blood vessels, and nerves.

Watch for symptoms of high blood sugar. Symptoms include feeling very tired or thirsty and urinating more often than usual. As long as you or your child notices the symptoms, you will probably have time to treat high blood sugar so that it doesn't become an emergency. Three steps can help you prevent high blood sugar problems:

  • Test your child's blood sugar often, especially if your child is sick or when he or she is not following a normal routine. A child may not have symptoms of high blood sugar. Testing lets you see when your child's blood sugar is above his or her target range, even if your child doesn't have symptoms.
  • Call the doctor if your child often has high blood sugar levels or if the blood sugar level is often staying above his or her target range. The medicine or insulin dosage may need to be adjusted or changed.
  • Encourage your child to drink extra water or drinks that don't have caffeine or sugar. Getting more fluids can help prevent dehydration.

how.gif  How can you prevent high blood sugar?

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ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerStephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology

Current as ofJune 4, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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