Blood glucose levels

Information for children, parents, carers and teachers

Balancing your blood glucose levels (BGLs) is really important to feeling good and staying healthy.

When you have diabetes, it can be hard to get this balance right. Some things lower your BGLs like insulin and physical activity. Other things raise your BGLs, like food or being ill.

But remember your parents, carers, health team, teachers and friends are there to help you when you need it.

Low BGLs

Low blood glucose is known as a hypoglycaemia, or ‘hypo’ for short.

Hypos can happen for different reasons – too much insulin, not enough carbohydrates or, as a result of being active. When a hypo happens you might get confused, start to sweat, feel dizzy and could even pass out (lose consciousness).

Hypos can happen very quickly and it’s important they are treated immediately. Usually, they can be quickly corrected by eating some lollies like jelly beans, drinking juice or soft-drink.

When you live with type 1 diabetes it’s important for you to carry a hypo kit. Your hypo kit needs to be with you at all times so you are prepared.

High BGLs

When your body doesn’t have enough insulin, glucose builds up in your blood and makes you feel unwell. This is called hyperglycaemia, or ‘hyper’ for short.

Hyperglycaemia happens gradually. The early symptoms (thirst and going to the toilet a lot) can be quite mild.

If your BGL is above 15mmol/L and you’re feeling alright, you can do most of the things that your friends are doing.

If your BGL is above 15mmol/L and you’re feeling unwell, you might have ketones. High BGLs and ketones can make you really unwell because it means that things are out of balance in your body.

When you feel like this, you need to:

  • let someone know
  • check your BGL more often
  • check for ketones
  • drink plenty of water
  • take some time out.

When your BGLs are high and you have ketones, you need extra insulin. If you need help or advice ask your parents or health care team about what to do with your insulin dose.

Your hypo kit

Your parents or carers can help you put your hypo kit together.

Your hypo kit should include things like:

  • your blood glucose monitoring device so you can check your blood glucose level
  • a fast-acting carbohydrate (e.g. fruit juice, glucose tablets)
  • a slow acting carbohydrate (e.g. a muesli bar or 2 sweet biscuits).

If you use the food or drink in your hypo kit, let your parents know so it can be replaced. If you don’t use this monitor very often make sure to check it on a regular basis. Your parents or carer can help you check the battery and the strips.

It’s also important that your teachers know where your hypo kit is kept at school, just in case you need help with treating a hypo. We recommend you keep your hypo kit with you at all times.

Hypo treatment at school

Video: What happens when you have a hypo at school?

Hypo frequency

Video: How many hypos do you have in a school week?

Having diabetes at school

Video:  Have you had any problems with your diabetes care at school?

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