Glucose---or blood sugar---supplies the body with energy, with its levels controlled by insulin. If the body does not produce enough insulin, glucose levels can rise dangerously high, and diabetes may be the result.
According to the National Institutes of Health, about 2 per cent of people under age 20 have juvenile (Type 1) diabetes.
Normal Glucose Levels
UCSFhealth.org says children under age of 6 should have blood glucose levels of 100 to 180 mg/dl. Children ages 6 to 12 should have levels between 90 and 180 mg/dl, while teenagers' levels should be 90 and 130 mg/dl.
Children with consistently high blood sugar are at risk of developing hyperglycaemia or diabetes. Children with low levels may have underlying health conditions, such as endocrine disorders, liver disease or kidney failure.
High blood sugar can cause excessive thirst and hunger, increased urination, weight loss, fatigue and blurry vision. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycaemia, can cause blurry vision, double vision, confusion, hunger, sweating, heart palpitations, tremors and seizures.
Dietary changes are the first step to control a child's blood glucose---if unsuccessful, medication may be necessary.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 7 per cent of all children have impaired fasting glucose levels, which are indicative of pre-diabetes. Children with pre-diabetes are more likely than others to develop diabetes, but with dietary changes and regular exercise, they may be able to prevent it.