Glucose is crucial to brain development, as glucose is one of the only sources of energy the brain can use. With neonatal hypoglycemia, a child’s blood sugar falls very low within a few days after birth. These low glucose levels impair the growth process as brain cells start to die. Neonatal hypoglycemia is one of the most common neonatal metabolic issues, and one of the most easily treated.
Neonatal hypoglycemia (NH) is a condition in which an infant’s glucose (also known as blood sugar) falls to unsafe levels in the first few days after birth. Babies need glucose for energy, and most of the glucose is used by the brain. The baby gets glucose from the mother through the placenta before birth. After birth, the baby gets glucose from the mother through her milk or from formula. Glucose is also produced in the baby’s liver.
Neonatal Hypoglycemia is one of the most common metabolic problems in babies, and severe NH is one of the leading causes of brain injury. Neonatal hypoglycemia is not difficult to discover in a newborn, and usually it is very easily treated. Untreated NH, however, can have serious consequences for the infant because glucose is the major component for energy in all organs, and in the brain, glucose is used almost exclusively for energy / metabolism. The baby’s brain tissue depends on a steady supply of glucose as its main source of fuel. Therefore, if the amount of glucose supplied by the blood falls, the brain is one of the first organs affected. When brain cells receive insufficient glucose, they start to die.