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Managing your child’s hypers

A hyper is when blood glucose levels go above target range, usually over 11 mml/L. They don’t hold an immediate risk to your child’s health like hypos, but they can make them feel unwell and can be serious if they’re not treated. 
Content last reviewed and updated: 15.08.2023

A man giving a child an insulin injection to manage the child's hyper as part of his type 1 diabetes treatment

What causes a hyper?

Hypers happen when there isn’t enough insulin to process the glucose in the blood so blood glucose levels become high.

This happens if your child hasn’t had enough insulin to match the carbohydrate they’ve eaten. Hypers can also be caused by things like illness, stress and even growth spurts.

How do you spot a hyper?

The symptoms of hypers can be similar to the symptoms of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. Immediate symptoms can include:

  • Feeling thirsty and having a dry mouth
  • Need to urinate frequently
  • Having blurred vision
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fruity-smelling breath

Symptoms of long-term hypers can be:

  • Feeling tired
  • Losing weight
  • Experiencing recurrent infections such as bladder infections (cystitis), skin infections or thrush
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fruity-smelling breath

You will be able to see most of these symptoms in your child. If you use a continuous glucose monitor or flash glucose monitor you can set alarms that alert you when their glucose levels are high. You can also look back at their glucose data over a period of time to see if they have been running high for a longer period.

How do you treat a hyper?

If your child’s glucose levels are too high they will need to take some insulin to bring it down. If they’re getting high glucose readings often, talk to your Diabetes Healthcare Team.

Why are hypers bad?

Hypers don’t have the same immediate risk as hypo, but if glucose levels go too high too quickly or for too long it can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

Hypers can make your child feel unwell, tired and they can find it difficult to concentrate.

Ketones and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)

High glucose levels happen when your child’s body doesn’t have enough insulin to use glucose as energy. When this happens, the body starts breaking down fat as another way to make energy. This produces ketones.

Small amounts of ketones are generally harmless to the body but too many ketones can cause the body to become too acidic, which can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

DKA can be life-threatening but you can check your child’s risk of this with a blood ketone monitor before it gets too serious. A blood ketone monitor is similar to a blood glucose meter but it checks for ketones instead.

Find out more about DKA.

Explore other topics in this section

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Managing your child’s blood glucose levels

Learn about blood glucose levels, how they’re measured, what affects them, how to check them – and what you should do if they are too high or low.

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Managing your child’s hypos

Hypos can be dangerous – but the good news is they’re simple to treat and there is technology available to help you see when one is about to happen.

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Carb counting for a child with type 1

Learn how to count carbs, understand the different types of carbs and how to guage how much insulin to take.

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Working with your child’s healthcare team

Your child will be seen regularly by a team of diabetes specialists. Learn about the different professionals involved and how to best work with them.