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What is hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is a condition in which the amount of blood glucose (sugar) is lower than normal. Babies who are more likely to develop hypoglycemia include the following:

The brain depends on blood glucose as its main source of fuel. Too little glucose can impair the brain's ability to function. Severe or prolonged hypoglycemia may result in seizures and serious brain injury.

What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia?

Symptoms of hypoglycemia may not be obvious in newborn babies. The following are the most common symptoms of hypoglycemia. However, each baby may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your baby's physician for a diagnosis.

How is hypoglycemia diagnosed?

A simple blood test for blood glucose levels can diagnose hypoglycemia. Blood may be drawn from a heelstick, with a needle from the baby's arm, or through an umbilical catheter (a tube placed in the baby's umbilical cord).

Treatment for hypoglycemia:

Specific treatment for hypoglycemia will be determined by your baby's physician based on:

Treatment includes giving the baby a rapid acting source of glucose. This may be as simple as giving a glucose/water mixture or formula as an early feeding. Or, the baby may need glucose given intravenously. The baby's blood glucose levels are closely monitored after treatment to see if the hypoglycemia occurs again.

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