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April 5, 2001

Hyperglycemia and DKA

Question from Modesto, California, USA:

My friend babysits a 12 year old girl who has type�1 diabetes. Whenever the girl's blood sugar is high (the other day it was over 500 mg/dl [27.7 mmol/L]), the sitter tells her to run up and down stairs or to eat an orange. I am concerned about this, because my father has type�2 diabetes, and he has never been told to do either one of these. Is it possible that they are doing something wrong?

Answer:

It is incorrect advice to tell a child with high blood sugars to eat an orange. Exercise can help to lower blood sugar. In most cases, a high blood sugar that is 400-500 mg/dl [22.2-27.7 mmol/L]requires extra short acting insulin, extra testing in an hour or two, and ketone testing of the urine to adequately treat and prevent complications from that high blood sugar. For more information on treating high blood sugars, please read more at Hyperglycemia.

MSB

[Editor’s comment: It can actually be dangerous to exercise when blood sugars are that high because the stress hormones released during exercise can make the blood sugars go even higher.

SS]