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February 26, 2005

Hypoglycemia

Question from Maroa, Illinois, USA:

Our daughter is three years old going on four next month. Everything started almost a year ago. She had a hypoglycemic episode, where she was lying on the floor saying she wanted breakfast, not being able to keep her eyes open. Her blood sugar at the emergency room (ER) was 50 mg/dl [2.8 mmol/L]. She is said possibly to grow out of this by the time she is five. We have also had hyperglycemic episode not as severe as when she had a urinary tract infection six moths ago. Her blood sugar was 230 mg/dl [12/8 mmol/L] at home before we left to go to the ER, then at ER it was back to 88 mg/dl [4.9 mmol/L]. Even though, for the most part, her sugars stay in the 90 to 130 mg/dl [5.0 to 7.2 mmol/L] range, can she be effected by swings within that normal range? We have been directed by her specialist to check her only when she drinks a lot or urinates a lot. But, as a mom, I tend to check her if she gets a cold or complains of not feeling well. This may only turn out to be once or twice a month, unless she gets really sick, then maybe once a day. A lot of the time, our daughter looks so pale.

Answer:

I guess that the instructions from your doctor relate to the cost of test strips. Good diabetes control demands testing blood sugars at least twice a day because, while hypoglycemia is usually relatively easy to detect, moderate hyperglycemia is not. However, what you describe, some days with high sugars and some days with low sugars, is a typical pattern in young children and is partly because they have very variable activity levels and contract all the viruses infections that they meet.

KJR