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May 13, 2005

Hyperglycemia and DKA, Other Illnesses

Question from New York, New York, USA:

My 22 month old son had a severe asthma attack last week. Because of my ignorance, he was in the throes of the attack for about 15 hours before we saw the doctor who stabilized him and sent him to the hospital. The Emergency Room doctor said that he had a hunch to check his blood sugar. The finger stick test showed his glucose level at 245 mg/dl [13.6 mmol/L]. The urine test showed no ketones nor glucose. Could the asthma attack possibly raise glucose levels from a "normal" range to 245 mg/dl [13.6 mmol/L]? We are awaiting the results from a second random blood test taken the next day. Secondly, could the asthma be related to his blood sugar level? Lastly, he has been highly aggressive lately. Could the aggression be related to the high blood sugar?

Answer:

Some medications used to treat asthma, including steroids, can cause transiently high blood sugars. His sugar was much higher than normal and should be followed to ensure that it doesn’t represent diabetes. Your pediatrician will be able to direct any appropriate testing.

MSB