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June 29, 2003

Behavior, Hyperglycemia and DKA

Question from Bristol, Vermont, USA:

We have been having some difficulties with our child's "attitude" lately, and every time we test him when he's like this, he is always excessively high. When ever his levels are normal, or even low, this behavior is not present. We realize that low blood sugars can cause this type of a reaction but is there any correlation between bad behavior, aggression, or emotional outburst that is strictly related to high blood sugars? Is it even possible? Is it always associated with something other than diabetes?

Answer:

Many authorities will say that there is little behavioral change with high blood sugars, but in my experience, kids can be quite a bit grumpier when they’re high. This can contribute to problematic behavior at school. One should work diligently to minimize high blood sugars by carefully looking at a child’s insulin dosing, activity level, and method of administration of insulin to help solve this problem.

MSB