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Raising a diabetic child is hard work. You have to constantly be on the lookout for high and low blood sugar levels, making sure your child is eating healthy and monitoring their insulin.
If you are the parent of a diabetic child, you may be wondering what their sugar level should be.
You may be asking:
“What are the targeted sugar levels?”
“What should I be aiming for?”
“How do I know if we are hitting that target?”
This can be confusing, as there are different ranges that are acceptable for different age groups.
Here is a guide to help you figure out what your child’s sugar level should be.
What is a child’s sugar level supposed to be?
Most parents are not sure what their child’s sugar level should be, but it is important to be aware of this in order to help maintain their health.
Just like with adults, if a child’s sugar levels get too high or too low, it can cause serious health and life-threatening problems. It is therefore crucial that the child’s parents and guardians are familiar with the signs of high and low blood sugar in children and know how to deal with them.
The average child has a blood sugar level of around 80-110mg/dL. If your child’s blood sugar level is higher than that, then they may be diagnosed as diabetic, if not diagnosed yet. So, as a parent, this is the glucose level that you should always target.
Being a type 1 diabetic means that their body, in this case, their pancreas, cannot produce enough insulin so they have problems getting sugars to turn into energy. Children who suffer from type 1 diabetes need to take insulin, try to eat a moderate diet, and check their blood sugar levels on a blood glucose meter often to make sure it doesn’t get too low or high.
Why is it important for children to stay within their sugar level range?
Diabetes in children is a serious health condition that if not maintained with the appropriate insulin doses, can lead to serious consequences.
Every parent wants their child to be healthy and have a long life. A big part of that is making sure their sugar level is within a healthy range.
It’s important for parents to be educated on what a child’s sugar level should be so they can make sure their child stays as healthy as possible.
Children who are not yet old enough to regulate their carb intake, need a family member to assist them in their diabetes management, by using their blood glucose monitor, taking their insulin (diabetes medication), and trying to keep their glucose levels in their target range.
With all these things set in place, and in conjunction with a health care team, your child will be able to live a healthier life.
If a child’s blood sugar level is too high (over 200mg/dL), it can cause many health problems such as:
•Diabetic Ketoacidosis – when the body doesn’t have enough insulin, it starts to break down fat instead of using glucose from food. This causes acids called ketones to build up in the blood and urine. If untreated, this can lead to coma or death. Hospitalization is needed to treat this severe medical problem.
•Kidney disease – high sugar levels over a long period of time can damage the kidneys and eventually cause kidney failure. However, with proper diabetes care management, this can be totally avoided.
•Heart Disease – sugars attach to proteins in the blood called glycosylation end products (or AGEs) which causes inflammation inside arteries, leading to heart disease and possibly heart attack and stroke.
•Stroke – high sugar levels increase the risk of blood clots, which can cause a stroke.
If your child’s blood sugar level is too low, they may experience:
If your child does not eat the appropriate carbohydrates to maintain glucose levels on target, this, in turn, can cause his/her blood sugar level to drop below 55mg/dL. If left untreated with food or glucose tablets, he/she will experience extremely low blood sugar levels which can lead to seizures or coma.
How can you make sure your child stays within their sugar level range?
As a mom, you want to make sure your child stays healthy. One way of managing your child is by keeping track of their sugar level and making sure they stay within the range recommended by their doctor and/or diabetic educators. Here are three ways you can do that.
Plan Ahead: If you know your child will be consuming a lot of carbs in one day, plan ahead by reducing their carb intake at other meals. Moderation is key.
Make Smart Choices: Be thoughtful about the foods and drinks you give your child. Sugar is often hidden in processed foods, so read labels carefully.
Monitor Intake: Keep track of how much carbs your child is eating and drinking throughout the day. This will help you stay on top of things.
Promote Physical Activities: Have your child take a walk around your neighborhood, play outside with friends. Exercise is an optimal activity to keep their glucose levels in range.
If you make sure your child stays within their sugar level range, then they can enjoy their life to the fullest! Of course, if there is a chance of them having low blood sugar, make sure you keep some sugary foods like fruit snacks and juice boxes handy in case they need a glucose boost!
Additional tips and advice on keeping your child’s sugar levels under control
The best way to keep your child’s sugar levels under control is by balancing their diet with healthy foods and exercise.
So, what can you do to help your child maintain healthy sugar levels?
First and foremost, be a good role model. Eat healthy foods yourself and lead by example.
Secondly, give your child plenty of water throughout the day.
Thirdly, make sure they get enough exercise; being active helps burn off excess sugar.
Finally, have them eat regular meals and snacks on a schedule, if possible; this will help regulate their blood sugar levels.
Get a meal planner and start planning your family meals today – it will make keeping sugar in check a lot easier.