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Hyperglycemia is a complex metabolic condition characterized by abnormally high levels of blood sugar (blood glucose) in circulating blood, usually as a result of diabetes mellitus (types 1 and 2), although it can sometimes occur in cystic fibrosis and near-drowning (submersion injury).
Hyperglycemia, also known as diabetic ketoacidosis, is a condition that develops over a period of a few days as the blood glucose levels of a type 1 or type 2 diabetic gradually rise. Ketoacidosis occurs when increasing glucose levels are met by a lack of sufficient or effective insulin production, starting a sequence of physiologic events as follows:
Without effective treatment of the hyperglycemic episode, the child can lapse into a diabetic coma, which sometimes leads to death.
In diabetes type 2, which is characterized by insulin resistance, enhanced glucose production in the liver and decreased insulin secretion can be aggravated by low physical activity and/or a high-calorie, high-fat diet. Over time as glucose production accelerates, the child develops hyperglycemia or glucotoxicity and lipotoxicity (hyperlipidemia or high fat levels in the blood) as well. It is primarily thought to be a disease affecting sedentary, obese adults over age 40, but it is found in young people as well, most of them obese at the time of diagnosis. Pediatric type 2 diabetes is increasing in the early 2000s among adolescents and has become the fastest growing form of diabetes. Therefore, hyperglycemic episodes are also noted to be increasing in frequency among young people admitted to hospitals for treatment of diabetes.
Author Info: L. Lee Culvert, Thomson Gale, Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health, 2006
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