Maintaining proper glucose levels in children is challenging as their daily intake of food and their daily activities differ each day. This article provides some information about glucose levels in children.
Glucose, also called blood sugar, is a simple sugar (monosaccharide) that is present in the blood. Pancreas, an organ of our digestive system, produces two hormones namely insulin and glucagon. These two hormones regulate the level of this sugar in the body. Insulin is released from the pancreas whenever the body needs it. Insulin regulates the uptake of this sugar from blood to different cells of the body. Cells utilize it as their energy source. Sometimes it is stored in the muscle cells and liver in the form of glycogen.
On the other hand, glucagon works antagonistically to insulin. Glucagon secretion is required whenever there is a fall in the levels of this sugar in the body. This usually happens during exercising, when the muscle cells utilize it as an energy source. Therefore, the pancreas reduces the insulin secretion and enhances the glucagon production. Glucagon breaks down the glycogen which is stored in the form of glucose in the liver. The liver transports it to the bloodstream. As a result, the levels of this sugar maintained in a normal range and the pancreas lowers down the glucagon production.
Reference Range for Blood Sugar in Children
Glucose levels in children depend upon the amount of food consumed, regular exercise, and the capability of the body to produce cells. It is highly essential that it is maintained at a normal range in your child’s body. The best way of keeping it in control is to monitor them at regular intervals.
Children below six years
The normal range is 100-180 mg/dL, which should be maintained two hours before and after meals. At bedtime, blood sugar should be from 110-200 mg/dL.
Children between six to twelve years
The normal range is 90-180mg/dL, which is to be maintained two hours before and after meals. At bedtime, it should be around 100-180 mg/dL.
Children aged thirteen years and more
The normal range is 90-130 mg/dL and that is to be maintained two hours before and after meals. At bedtime, it will be from 90-150 mg/dL.
Hyperglycemia is the state when the production of this sugar is more than normal. Children who experience this condition may have glucose in the range of 200mg/dL to 350mg/dL. The level increases when there is less production of insulin in your child’s body or the body is not able to respond to the production of insulin. Higher levels are observed in obese children, children without physical activities, and children affected by infections and stress.
The symptoms of hyperglycemia are feeling very thirsty, frequent urination, dehydration, drowsiness, and dry skin. If the level reaches above 350mg/dL, then there are chances of blurred vision, diabetic coma, and diabetes mellitus. Hyperglycemia can be treated by increasing intake of water in order to avoid dehydration, exercising regularly, and changing the food habits by consulting a dietitian. Diabetes in children is treated with the help of insulin.
Hypoglycemia is the state when the production of this sugar is less than normal. Children experiencing this condition may have their blood sugar in the range of 55mg/dL to 70mg/dL. When it decreases, it forces the liver to breakdown glycogen to produce this sugar, so that the normal range is maintained. Low levels of glucose in blood is found in children who skip their snacks and meals, having hormonal deficiency, or have a low-carbohydrate intake.
The symptoms of hypoglycemia include hunger, weakness, palpitations, dizziness, and fuzzy thinking. The levels of this sugar can be controlled by maintaining a healthy diet and taking small amount of meals and snacks more frequently.
You can always use the home monitoring kit to check the glucose level for your child. Follow the instructions as given in the monitor’s manufacturer. Lance your child’s fingertips and put a drop of blood in the test strip. Wait for the results after you have put the strip on the monitor. If you are not confident about how to do it, visit a doctor’s clinic to get the results.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.