Normal Glucose Levels in Children

May 27, 2020
Maintaining correct levels of glucose in children is essential for their correct physical and mental development. What else should you know about it? In this article we'll explain everything.

Glucose levels in children is a topic that requires special attention. As many people know, everyone uses glucose as a source of energy. Because of this, we eat different types of sugar that our bodies break down into glucose, which travels through the blood to be used by the cells.

Both in adults and in children, there are glucose levels that are considered normal to make sure that everything is working as it should. What do you need to know about it? In this article, we’ll explain everything.

What is blood glucose?

Blood glucose is the measure of levels of glucose in the blood. As we mentioned, people eat sugar in foods in different, more complex forms like, for example, fructose or sucrose.

Through digestion, you convert those complex sugars into more simple substances, like glucose. After that, the glucose travels through the blood, where it circulates continuously until the cells absorb it to use as a source of energy.

Glucose serves as energy for your body. When your cells absorb it from your blood, they change it, through a metabolic process known as the Krebs cycle, into TCA, a molecule they use in the rest of the physiological processes they perform.

Therefore, glucose is essential for the functioning of the entire human body. When you have too much glucose in your blood, it can be stored as glycogen in your liver. These reserves are activated when your body needs extra glucose, for example when you exercise.

Different types of sugars in bowls and spoons.
Foods with fructose or sucrose turn into glucose in your body. To a certain extent, your cells use this substance to get energy.

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Why are glucose levels important?

Since it’s such an important substance for your body’s functions, it’s vital to maintain normal levels of glucose. This will ensure that your body has the glucose that it needs to perform all of its functions.

Additionally, in children, it’s even more important. When they are growing, they use more energy than adults. Proper glucose levels are important for the child to develop correctly, both physically and mentally.

Glucose levels vary in everybody throughout the day and in different circumstances. For example, exercise, stress, or the types of food you eat can affect your glucose levels.

What are normal glucose levels in children?

Generally, we measure glucose from a blood sample. This measurement can be done at different times throughout the day, for which there are different reference values.

Normally, glucose is measured on an empty stomach, that is, after at least 8 hours without eating food. This is known as baseline blood glucose, and it’s the measurement that gives us the most information to help manage someone’s blood glucose.

Normal values for children are usually lower than normal values for adults. Thus, for the different times you can measure blood glucose, normal measurements for children are:

  • Baseline blood glucose (on an empty stomach): 70-110 g/dL
  • Postprandial blood glucose (immediately after eating a meal): less than 130 g/dL
  • Blood glucose 2 hours after eating: less than 100 g/dL
Doctor checking blood glucose levels of a child while he looks away.
To measure the glucose levels of children you have to take a blood sample.

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Low glucose levels in children

Low glucose levels, known as hypoglycemia, can be caused by a low sugar intake, or even malnutrition in the child. If a child constantly has low glucose levels, that can affect their correct development. Additionally, it can cause dizziness and fainting when their body needs more glucose.

High glucose levels

At certain times, the glucose levels can be high, for example after eating food with a lot of sugar. High glucose levels are known as hyperglycemia. If it’s a recurring problem, it can indicate that the child’s lifestyle isn’t correct.

That is, it could be that they’re living a sedentary lifestyle or that their diet is based on foods with too much sugar. Likewise, high glucose in children can indicate that they’re suffering from type 1 diabetes or diabetes mellitusTo confirm this, you’ll need to see a specialist for a complete examination.

What should you remember?

Maintaining correct glucose levels is essential in order for your child to develop correctly. Your doctor will do any glucose tests they think necessary depending on the age and condition of each child.

Even so, if you notice any sign that makes you suspect that your child’s blood glucose isn’t as it should be, you should see a specialist, who will decide how to act.

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  • Síndrome metabólico en niños y adolescentes [Internet]. [cited 2020 Apr 28]. Available from: http://www.scielo.org.bo/scielo.php?pid=S1024-06752009000200006&script=sci_arttext
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