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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:
Infections that aren't treated, such as urinary tract infections and skin infections, can raise 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 well above the target range (for example, 200 mg/dL or higher).
If your child's blood sugar levels are above his or her target range, offer extra liquids. This helps 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 have a lot of sugar.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - PediatricsAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerStephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology
Current as ofMarch 13, 2017
Current as of: March 13, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology
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