Dear Family and Friends,
Much thought goes into writing my blogs, especially the subject matter I choose for the month. For July, I had several topics I wanted to address. However, this past week I received three long and painful e-mails concerning the relationship between children and hypoglycemia; an area of growing concern. So I quickly changed my focus to address this issue.
It may be just a coincidence, but the e-mails I received involved 10 and 11-year-old boys! The following are two condensed versions of these mothers’ cries for help!
“My 10- year-old son started having extreme symptoms over one year ago. He is very active in sports, but it is seems as if sports are slowly ruining his body because I cannot keep his blood sugar regulated. I have taken him to a children’s endocrinologist and they tell me “the symptoms you are describing are not possible!” I am starting to feel like I am going crazy trying to treat him myself… His blood sugar has gotten as low as 44. I am scared and tired of fighting this fight for my son alone. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!”
“Help! My 11-year-old son has just been diagnosed as having hypoglycemia. On one hand, we’re glad to finally have a diagnosis, but on the other, we are totally confused as where and how to start this life-changing journey. For an adult it is one thing, but for a child it is overwhelming! He is frightened to death he will have to give up sports since that’s when his symptoms get worse. Please give us hope!”
It is clearly evident that we have to take all the programs out there that are addressing the consequences of a high sugar diet and how it contributes to declining health in our society and take it ONE STEP FURTHER! The HSF is asking parents, teachers, health care professionals and community leaders to band together and spread our message: what you are and are not eating contributes to how you think, feel and act. It is definitely a food/mood connection! If your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms – mood swings, severe fatigue, insomnia, sudden outburst of temper, failing grades, sleeping in class, and fainting spells- they may be warning signs that they are suffering from hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar.
SUGAR and a high sugar diet are the biggest culprits in hypoglycemia. Soda, fruit juices, candy, ice cream and high-sugarcoated cereals are the norm for today’s children. With preteens and teenagers, parents must also consider alcohol and tobacco experimentation. These two substances, when combined, can be very volatile. To control sugar additions and hypoglycemia symptoms, you can start with the following simple do’s and don’ts. (Condensed from my book, The Do’s and Don’ts of Hypoglycemia: An Everyday Guide to Low Blood Sugar)
Do EDUCATE yourselves! Parents, it is your responsibility to be educated in this correlation between diet and behavior. What your child eats and doesn’t eat directly relates to how he thinks, feels, and acts.
Do search the Internet, local library, and bookstores, and attend any seminar on this or related subjects. The more you know, the better able you will be to make an informed decision.
Do work with a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about hypoglycemia and sympathetic to your child’s needs.
Do work with local schools, teachers, counselors and community leaders. Share the information in this section with all of them.
Do cultivate an on-going relationship with your child’s teacher concerning diet and behavior. Open, honest communication is crucial.
Do review your child’s dietary habits before administration of any medication, especially Ritalin. Share your findings with his/her physician. Often a change in a high-sugar diet will eliminate the need for such hyperactivity medications or minimize the dosage required. A few weeks or months of trying a diet change first could save years of unnecessary medication.
Do monitor the amount of junk food your child is eating. A parent said that his child hid candy wrappers all over the bedroom—under the beds, in his dresser drawers, and pants pockets. This is a sure sign of a junk food/candy addict.
Do evaluate your child’s eating habits; keep a diet/symptom diary and eliminate the big offenders: sugar, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol.
Do make shopping for food, planning meals, and cooking a family affair.
Do read labels carefully. Eliminate any foods or drinks with high sugar and caffeine content.
Do opt for organically grown and pesticide-free products, especially if your child is known to have food allergies. You can even help children start their own vegetable garden. If you live in a city or an apartment, encourage an herb garden, which is smaller and much easier to keep.
Do encourage your child/adolescent or teenager to share any physical symptoms with you. Naturally, if you have a family physician, he/she should also be the first person made aware of severe fatigue, insomnia, panic attacks, fainting spells, etc.
Do realize the importance of carrying a Health Emergency Card with you (or your child) at all times. This is especially crucial if anyone has a history of fainting spells. This card includes the emergency telephone number of parent or close relative/friend and physician. Most importantly, it explains that one is hypoglycemic, so paramedics or other health professionals can quickly administer the appropriate medical treatment.
Don’t assume that children’s junk food habits are something they will outgrow.
Don’t assume that children understand the importance of good dietary habits. They learn from what they see and hear from other family members.
Don’t put your child on any medication for behavior, particularly for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) without talking to a healthcare provider, evaluating their eating habits, checking for food allergies and food sensitivities.
DO NOT STOP ANY MEDICATION WITHOUT THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN.
For the complete list of do’s and don’ts, order your copy online. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to further the work of the HSF
Good luck and here’s to your health,