Home > Health Library > Diabetes in Children: Preventing High Blood Sugar
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
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 dehydrated. If your
child becomes severely dehydrated, he or she can go into a coma and possibly
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
The best ways
to prevent a high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) emergency are to check blood
sugar levels often, be prepared for emergencies, treat high blood sugar
promptly, treat infections right away, and make sure your child gets plenty of
Untreated infections, such
as urinary tract infections and skin infections, can increase your child's risk
of a high blood sugar emergency.
The best way to
prevent high blood sugar emergencies is to treat high blood sugar as soon as
your child has symptoms or when his or her blood sugar is significantly above
the target range (200 mg/dL or higher).
If your child's blood
sugar levels are above his or her target range, offer extra liquids to replace the
fluids lost through the kidneys. Water and sugar-free drinks are best. Avoid
caffeinated drinks, regular soda pop, fruit juice, and other liquids that
contain a lot of sugar.
August 15, 2013
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology
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