Hypoglycemia and low blood sugar in Children

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

Glucose is a form of sugar that comes from carbohydrates found in foods, and is a main source of fuel for all of the cells of the body and, especially, the brain. While the body is quite good at extracting glucose from the foods we eat, it relies on a hormone called insulin to actually get the glucose inside the cells of specific organs: the liver, fat, and muscle.

We can think of insulin as holding the “key” to a cell– without insulin, the glucose just remains in the blood, where it’s also known as “blood sugar.” During an episode of hypoglycemia, the blood sugar level is too low (there’s not enough glucose in the blood) to effectively fuel the body’s cells.

  • It can be helpful to think of hypoglycemia as something that happens in episodes, rather than as a permanent condition.

  • Hypoglycemia is most common in newborns. 

  • In older children, it’s most often seen as a complication of insulin therapy for diabetes, but can sometimes have other causes as well.

  • In the majority of cases, hypoglycemia is temporary, easily treated, and usually does not have serious consequences.

  • There are several rare disorders in which hypoglycemia is recurrent and potentially life-threatening. However, with timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment, these can be effectively managed.

How Children’s Hospital Boston approaches hypoglycemia

At Children’s we treat hypoglycemia in our General Endocrinology Program a multi-disciplinary program dedicated to the treatment of a wide range of endocrinological disorders.

Caring for more than 7,000 patients each year, our division is one of the largest pediatric endocrinology practices in the country. We provide state-of-the-art diagnosis, treatment and clinical management for children with hypoglycemia and related disorders.

For more than three decades, the investigation and treatment of hypoglycemia disorders in infancy and childhood has been a major clinical and research interest of the Division of Endocrinology.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337