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January 23, 2004

Hyperglycemia and DKA, School and Daycare

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Question from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA:

I would like to know if there are any residual affects for DKA. My son was hospitalized for DKA in the beginning of January. He has fallen way behind in his class work, and his school is refusing to give him time to make up his work. I need to know if there are any affects that could cause him to have problems concentrating or doing school work.

Answer:

If an episode of DKA is survived, there typically are no residual effects, per se. DKA of course as you know can be fatal and therefore must (and can be) avoided.

Having said that, DKA often can be associated with brain swelling (cerebral edema). The brain lives inside the little box we call a skull. So if the brain swells, there is not a whole lot of room to accommodate that expansion. Thus brain swelling can be associated with brain injury. Thus while the DKA itself has little residual effect, the potential complications that arise from cerebral edema can affect brain function, learning, perhaps behavior.

I do not understand why your school is reluctant to help. Time to call in the school counselors and plan an IEP plan and perhaps a 504 plan, if needed. Resources on this website can help further in this regard.

DS