Hyperglycemia in Children: Causes, Signs & Symptoms

Instructor: Alyssa Campbell

Alyssa is an active RN and teaches Nursing and Leadership university courses. She also has a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and a Master's in Business Administration.

Hyperglycemia can tremendously affect the future health of children worldwide. Read this lesson to learn what hyperglycemia is, its signs and symptoms, and major causes of this condition.

Childhood Hyperglycemia

An excess of circulating sugar in the blood is known as hyperglycemia. Sugar, or glucose, comes from our diet, and the glucose ingested by food or drink is normally broken down by the insulin hormone to be used as energy. Josh, a 7-year-old boy anxious to start the school year, has not felt like himself for quite a few weeks. His mom is concerned and schedules an appointment with the family doctor.

Signs of Hyperglycemia

Other than feeling fatigued and unusually thirsty, Josh and his mother have no other complaints. The doctor completes a physical exam finding Josh to be quite healthy despite the symptoms. Doctor Smith decides to ask a few questions to determine whether or not Josh may be presenting with hyperglycemia. Doctor Smith asks Josh and his mom if he is experiencing any of the other following symptoms of hyperglycemia:

  • Increased urination
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach pains

Doctor Smith suspects that Josh may be hyperglycemic, placing him at high risk for diabetes. Josh was able to explain that his head had been hurting, and his mom confirmed an increase in urination. Doctor Smith was concerned that Josh might be dealing with:

  • Hyperglycemia- a condition resulting in high blood sugar levels, usually the result of poor diet and exercise routines, or
  • Diabetes Type I- a disease in which the body's immune system attacks the pancreas, an organ that produces and secretes insulin
  • Diabetes Type II- also described as varying degrees of insulin resistance, making it difficult to transport glucose into cells to be used as energy

Josh was sent for bloodwork to assess the level of glucose in his blood.

Determining Cause

The bloodwork confirmed that while Josh was not yet diabetic, his blood sugar levels were indeed higher than the normal range for his age. Upon hearing the news, Josh's mom was surprised to find out that he was hyperglycemic. The doctor explained that the two main factors of hyperglycemia that could lead to diabetes included diet and exercise. If Josh was already diagnosed with diabetes, his medication may be placing him at risk for hyperglycemia and would require further investigation.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account