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Hyperglycemia - infants

Alternative Names

High blood sugar - infants; High blood glucose level - infants

Definition

Hyperglycemia is abnormally high blood sugar. The medical term for blood sugar is blood glucose. 

This article discusses hyperglycemia in infants.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

A healthy baby's body usually has very careful control of blood sugar levels. Insulin is the main hormone in the body that regulates blood sugar. Sick babies may have poor insulin function or low amounts, which causes poor control of the blood sugar.

There can be specific causes of ineffective or low insulin, such as infection, liver problems, hormone problems, and some medications. Rarely, babies may actually have diabetes, with low insulin levels that result in high blood sugars.

Symptoms

Babies with hyperglycemia often have no symptoms.

Sometimes, babies with high blood sugars will produce large amounts of urine and become dehydrated. High blood sugars may be a sign that the baby has added stress on the body due to problems such as an infection or heart failure.

Signs and tests

A blood test will be done to check the baby's blood sugar level. This can be done with a heel or finger stick at the bedside or in a doctor's office or lab.

Expectations (prognosis)

There are usually no long-term effects from high blood sugar unless the baby has diabetes.

Review Date:11/7/2011

Reviewed by:Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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