How to Care for Your Child with Diabetes: Hyperglycemia

This leaflet will provide you with information about hyperglycemia causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and home care advice.

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What is a Hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycemia is when the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood is too high, above your child’s target as decided by your doctor.

It is a common problem for children with diabetes. It can affect children with Type 1 diabetes and as well as children with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

What are the symptoms of Hyperglycemia?

Symptoms of Hyperglycemia develop slowly over several hours or days.

What are the causes of Hyperglycemia?

A variety of things can cause Hyperglycemia in children with diabetes, including

  • Insulin
    • Too little insulin or other blood-glucose-lowering medicines
    • Problems with Insulin pump or infusion set
  • Food
    • Eating too many carbohydrates and not covering by insulin  
  • Other causes:
    • Low physical activity
    • Illness, infection and injury
    • Severe physical or emotional stress

Home care advice

How is Hyperglycemia treated at home?

To treat your child’s hyperglycemia at home, make sure to:

  • Check blood glucose level
  • Check blood for ketones if blood glucose is greater than 250 mg/dL (> 14mmol/L)
  • Your child may need an insulin correction dose; calculate the insulin correction dose as in your plan management by your diabetes team
  • Recheck blood glucose every 2 hours to be sure the blood glucose is decreasing to your target range
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of water or non-sugar-containing drinks as this will help wash away ketones
  • Follow your sick days management- if your child is unwell (having infection)
  • If your child is on Insulin pump therapy- follow the advice on how to treat Hyperglycemia with moderate or large ketones in the blood

Go to the Emergency Department:

If your child has high blood glucose levels and experiences the following symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Rapid, deep breathing
  • Fruity breath
  • Feeling sleepy or drowsy

 These symptoms could be a sign of Diabetic Ketoacidosis, which is a serious complication of hyperglycaemia