Kids have a lot of energy. That’s no big secret to parents. And glucose, or sugar, is the body’s primary source of energy. Kids need glucose for their bodies and brains to function correctly. But too much, or not enough, can lead to health problems. So, it’s essential to know the causes of high and low blood glucose.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates glucose levels. It allows the body to use sugar from carbohydrates for energy or store it for later. When the body has too much glucose in the blood, it’s known as hyperglycemia. When it has too little, it’s called hypoglycemia.
For kids with diabetes, their bodies don’t produce insulin, or their insulin doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. This leads to high or low levels of blood glucose and needs to be adjusted and monitored with the help of your pediatrician.
Most kids, however, produce the right amount of insulin to regulate their blood glucose levels. But their levels will inevitably spike and drop, so it’s important to know why and be able to recognize the symptoms.
Causes of High Blood Glucose
A spike in blood glucose can happen for many reasons in children. As kids grow and their bodies change, the amount of insulin needed in their system changes as well. Here are some of the most common causes of high blood glucose to be aware of:
- Overeating – If a child eats too much, that extra food is converted into excess glucose in the bloodstream.
- Not eating the right food – A balanced diet is vital to good health. Eating a bunch of sweets and candy can spike glucose levels.
- Illness – Fighting an illness, like the flu, can disrupt the body’s production of insulin.
- Exercise – Not getting enough exercise can contribute to high glucose levels.
- Insulin – Taking the right amount is essential for kids with diabetes.
- Medication – Some medications can cause swings in blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of High Blood Glucose
When children have hyperglycemia, their bodies and brains are reacting to an overload of sugar. Common symptoms to look for include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst or dry mouth
- Feeling tired
- Blurred vision
- Fruity smelling breath
Causes of Low Blood Glucose
A low blood glucose level left untreated can lead to serious health issues, like seizures and loss of consciousness. Here are the leading causes:
- Not eating enough – Kid’s bodies need fuel from food to function properly. Under-eating can lead to drops in blood glucose.
- Low carbohydrate intake – Kids need to eat enough carbs, so their bodies have the necessary sugar and energy.
- Illness – An illness can cause loss of appetite and vomiting, leading to under-eating.
- Extra exercise – More physical activity than usual without also eating more food can drop blood glucose levels.
- Insulin – Similar to hyperglycemia, taking the proper amount of insulin is crucial for those with diabetes.
Symptoms of Low Blood Glucose
Here’s what to look for:
- Increased sweating
- Difficulty concentrating
- Pale skin
The only accurate way to know if your kids have high or low blood glucose is to get them checked by a doctor.