November 6, 2004
Behavior, Hyperglycemia and DKA
Question from Sydney, Australia:
I am a schoolteacher with a six year old type 1 diabetic student in my class. He has only been diagnosed in the last six months. Recently, he has been quite violent towards other students, very defiant and non-compliant when asked to do something. His parents have told the school and me that the violence is caused by his high blood sugar level reading, but I have a feeling that his condition is being used as an excuse. I know that when blood sugar levels are high, he can have some irregular behaviors, but I have not heard of violent behavior being one of them or am I wrong about this?
You are correct. High blood sugars never cause aggressive or violent behaviors. This young man may be angry with is diagnosis and/or angry with the daily demands of the illness. However, being angry is also not an appropriate excuse to engage in violent behaviors. I would encourage you to have a meeting at the school with the parents and a member of this young man’s diabetes team to discuss how to care for his diabetes during the school day so that he can be successful in the classroom.