Hypoglycemia can be a condition by itself. Or it can be a complication of diabetes or other disorder. It’s most often a problem in someone with diabetes. It occurs when there’s too much insulin. This is also called an insulin reaction.
Causes in children with diabetes may include:
Hypoglycemia may also occur in these cases:
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can include:
The symptoms of hypoglycemia can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she may also ask about your family’s health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have blood tests to check blood sugar levels.
When a child with diabetes has symptoms of hypoglycemia, the cause is most often an insulin reaction.
For children with symptoms of hypoglycemia who don’t have diabetes, the healthcare provider may:
Your child may need to do a supervised fasting study in the hospital. This lets healthcare providers test for hypoglycemia safely.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
For children with diabetes, the goal of treatment is to maintain a safe blood glucose level. This is done by:
To treat low blood glucose quickly, your child should eat or drink something with sugar such as:
This should be followed by eating food with complex carbohydrates, fat, and protein. A good example is a peanut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread.
Blood glucose levels should be checked every 15 to 20 minutes until they are above 100 dg/dL.
If hypoglycemia is severe, your child may need a glucagon injection. Talk with your child’s healthcare team about this treatment.
Not all episodes of hypoglycemia can be prevented. Most children with type 1 diabetes will have hypoglycemia. The chances of severe hypoglycemia go down as your child gets older. But you can help prevent severe episodes by:
Other ways to minimize or prevent hypoglycemia include making sure your child:
Children with type 1 diabetes or other conditions that may cause hypoglycemia need to follow their care plan. It’s important to test blood glucose often, recognize symptoms, and treat the condition quickly. It is also important to take medicines and eat meals on a regular schedule.
Work with your child's healthcare provider to create a plan that fits your child's schedule and activities. Teach your child about diabetes. Encourage them to write down questions they have about diabetes and bring them to healthcare provider appointments. Give them time to ask the provider the questions. Check that the answers are given in a way your child can understand. Work closely with school nurses, teachers, and psychologists to develop a plan that's right for your child.
Call your child’s healthcare provider if your child:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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