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April 7, 2003

Hypoglycemia

Question from Doniphan, Nebraska, USA:

My granddaughter was diagnosed with diabetes about a month ago and is on three shots per day. I get very concerned about her diabetes being regulated because her blood sugar will be high (around 450 mg/dl [25 mmol/L]) and then drop to around 40 mg/dl [2.2 mmol/L]. I spoke to my daughter-in-law last night by phone who said if it gets very low my granddaughter could go into a coma. This is so frightening for me because I know she has to eat at certain times, and she is staying with a babysitter, and I am not sure the sitter understand the serious consequences of this disease if everything is not followed perfectly. What is the dangerous level for going into a coma?

Answer:

Children can become unresponsive or have a seizure at very low blood sugar levels. This varies for each child but is typically in the range of less than 40 mg/dl [2.2 mmol/L]. It is important to avoid low blood sugars by paying close attention to blood sugar levels throughout the day and night and adjusting insulin dosing frequently to optimize care.

Low blood sugars, however, happen despite the best care, and it is important to know how to treat them when they do occur. Please read more about the treatment of low blood sugars at our hypoglycemia pages.

MSB