Intravenous Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes in Children

Doctors at NYU Langone’s Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital may use intravenous (IV) treatments if your child develops a severe condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur when the pancreas stops making insulin—a hormone that signals the liver, muscles, and fat cells to remove glucose from the blood and store it until the body needs energy.

Without insulin to help store glucose, the body breaks down fat to obtain energy. This process releases large amounts of acids, known as ketones, into the bloodstream. As ketone levels rise, the blood becomes more acidic, which can damage nerves and blood vessels throughout the body.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is an emergency. Without immediate treatment, the condition can be fatal.

During IV treatments, doctors administer insulin to reverse the effects of ketoacidosis. These treatments are also used to replace fluids and electrolytes—minerals such as sodium, potassium, and chloride that help organs function properly—that are lost during excessive urination.

IV therapy usually continues for 2 days, until the acid level in your child’s blood decreases and the blood sugar level drops to less than 200 milligrams per deciliter.

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