Hypoglycemia In Infancy
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Hypoglycemia is a condition that happens when the glucose (sugar) in your infant's blood drops too low. When your infant's blood sugar drops too low, his brain cells and muscles do not have enough energy to work. Glucose is important to help an infant's brain grow normally. Hypoglycemia may be temporary (short-term) or continuous (on-going).
- There are certain conditions that increase an infant's risk of short-term hypoglycemia. Some of these include being born too early and having a low birth weight and birth length. Another condition includes hyperinsulinism, which means the infant's body makes too much insulin. Insulin is the hormone that moves glucose out of the blood stream and into the cells to be used for energy. Ongoing hypoglycemia can be caused by a certain type of hyperinsulinism, which is caused by a genetic disorder. A genetic disorder is one that an infant is born with and may have been passed from his family. Some other conditions include low hormone levels, problems with the way your infant's body uses glucose, and other medical conditions.
- The signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia in infants are sometimes mild and not easily seen. Newborns may not have any symptoms at all. Some symptoms that infants may have include not eating well and being sluggish or drowsy. Other symptoms include a bluish or purplish skin color and low body temperature. An infant may also stop breathing for short periods of time.
- Keep a current list of your child's medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list and the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Give vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
- Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Ask before you change or stop giving your child his medicines.
Ask for more information about where and when to take your child for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services for your child, ask for information.
Some infants need a change in their diet to manage hypoglycemia. Ask your caregiver if your infant needs a special diet.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- Your infant has side effects from the medicines you are giving to him.
- Your infant is not eating well.
- You have questions about your infant's condition, medicine, or his care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- Your infant has problems breathing.
- Your infant has seizures (convulsions).
- Your infant is sluggish (less alert than usual).
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.