Hypoglycemia In Children – Everything You Need To Know

Hypoglycemia In Children

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Does your child feel uncontrolled hunger pangs and dizziness every time he is back from the playground? You may be under the impression, that it is just natural but not, anymore. Learn more about hypoglycemia, its causes and treatments.

What Is Hypoglycemia In Children?

The condition of having abnormally low levels of blood sugar or glucose is called Hypoglycemia. It is not a disease, but an indicator of some underlying health problem. Hypoglycemia is a common complication in children with type 1 diabetes.Low blood sugar in kids could be an indicator of this.

What Triggers off Hypoglycemia?

There is a chance of having Hypoglycemia, if a child faces a number of situations:

  • If a meal is missed or is late
  • If an insulin dose is too high or drawn up incorrectly
  • Doing a strenuous activity without an added snack
  • Alcohol ingestion
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Extra insulin administration
  • Alcohol content in the body intensifies glucose action and may inhibit gluconeogenesis and causes delaye
    d hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia need not immediately happen after a strenuous activity, but even after hours of the activity.


There are many symptoms of hypoglycemia in children.When affected by Hypoglycemia, infants do not exhibit these symptoms visibly. Therefore, you should rely on blood glucose monitoring and administering glucose in the form of juices. In severe cases, glucagon will have to be inserted either intramuscularly or subcutaneously. However, in older children , the following symptoms can be seen.

  • Diaphoresis
  • Tremulousness
  • Tachycardia
  • Hunger
  • Weakness
  • Pallor and dizziness (1).

Why Do Children Develop Hypoglycemia?

Children are particularly susceptible to suffer from hypoglycemia due to the following reasons,

  • Glycogen stores are relatively smaller in children.
  • Due to the increased metabolic demands, the utilization of glucose is high.
  • Fewer gluconeogenesis precursors generate due to comparatively less fat and muscle mass.
  • The developing brain of a child needs a constant supply of glucose.


  • Hypoglycemia occurs in children in episodes, rather than as a permanent condition.
  • It is very common in newborns. In older children; hypoglycemia is temporary, easily treatable and does not bring any serious consequences.
  • Some rare disorders associated with hypoglycemia are recurrent and potentially life-threatening. But a timely diagnosis and medical intervention can save the child from dangers.

Risk Factors:

  • Prolonged hypoglycemia can result in neuroglycopenia and will show more signs and symptoms of lethargy, irritability, confusion, and abnormal behavior and in worse cases, seizure and coma.
  • Severe repeated or prolonged hypoglycemia can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and in rare cases, death.
  • Transient hypoglycemia in the newborn, is a form of hypoglycemia which is exclusively visible in infants whose mother has diabetes. It turns highly risky and hence it is recommended to check the plasma glucose levels of the infants in the first few days of life, constantly.
  • Infants and children can develop neurocognitive defects at the time of asymptomatic hypoglycemia. Impaired auditory and sensory evoked responses are the few other consequences.


Several tests are conducted to determine the blood glucose levels and detect hypoglycemia in kids.

  • Blood test: It not only helps to understand the blood glucose levels but also can establish the cause of hypoglycemia.
  • Fasting tests: The child is monitored during a period when he does not eat anything for some time. This close observation can detect if and when hypoglycemia occurs.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test: The child is made to fast for 8 hours and is asked to drink a glass of glucose water. His blood sugar is tested for an hour and again after 2 hours. The level of blood sugar which increases as a result of the first test is important.