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Acta Paediatr Suppl. 1999 Jan;88(427):31-4.

Hypoglycaemia in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Chieti, Italy.


Hypoglycaemia is a frequent acute complication of IDDM and is usually defined as a blood glucose level below 3.0 mmol/l. Hypoglycaemia stimulates several neuroendocrine responses, such as secretion of glucagon, adrenaline, growth hormone and cortisol, which are generally increased during this phenomenon. The true prevalence of hypoglycaemia is not known. Studies of the epidemiology of severe hypoglycaemia give prevalences ranging from 2.7 to 85.7 episodes per 100 patients per year. The major risk factor for severe hypoglycaemia is hypoglycaemia unawareness, which occurs particularly in patients with type 1 diabetes of long duration and in those with a history of frequent episodes of hypoglycaemia. The first step in the management of hypoglycaemia is to check blood glucose and to treat hypoglycaemia on the basis of symptoms. Hypoglycaemia requires urgent treatment with a fast-acting carbohydrate or, if severe, with parenteral glucagon or intravenous glucose. Prevention measures should be instituted to prevent subsequent episodes, particularly in younger children with hypoglycaemic seizures or when seizures are recurrent.

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