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needs to know when his or her blood sugar level is outside the target range.
Fortunately, your child's blood sugar level can be checked anywhere and anytime
by using a home blood sugar (glucose) meter. Blood sugar meters give results in
less than a minute.
Knowing your child's blood sugar level helps
you treat low or high blood sugar before it becomes an emergency. It also helps
you know how exercise and food affect your child's blood sugar and how much
short-acting insulin to give (if your child takes insulin).
keys to success in monitoring your child's blood sugar are:
sugar monitoring is checking your child's blood sugar level using a home blood
sugar meter. This is often referred to as self-testing. Children's blood sugar
may need testing more often when they are first diagnosed with diabetes, when diabetes medicines are changed, when your child is starting a new sport, or when your child is sick. Children who take insulin may need to check blood sugar levels several
times a day. If your child does not take insulin and his or her blood sugar levels are within a target range, he or she may need
to test only before breakfast each day and sometimes at other times of the
To test your child's blood sugar level, prick the
side of a finger with a small needle (lancet) to collect a drop of blood. Place
the drop of blood on the test strip inserted into the meter. For some meters,
the test strip is put into the meter after the blood is applied. Within a
minute or less, the meter shows the results of the test.
Home blood sugar monitoring involves:
Home blood sugar monitoring does not involve testing the amount of sugar in a sample of
blood drawn from a blood vein. It involves using a
drop of blood from a finger to check the blood sugar level.
Home blood sugar monitoring does involve testing the amount of sugar in a drop of blood
from a finger.
Continue to Why?
child's blood sugar at home will help you know:
Home blood sugar monitoring helps you know how
exercise has affected your child's blood sugar.
Home blood sugar monitoring does help you know how
exercise has affected your child's blood sugar. Checking your child's blood
sugar after exercise will help you know whether blood sugar levels are staying
within a target range.
Continue to How?
Here is a simple way
to get started monitoring your child's blood sugar at home. Use these same
steps to help your child learn this task.
Before you start testing your
child's blood sugar:
When you test your child's blood sugar, you will know more about how
well his or her treatment is keeping blood sugar within a target range.
Follow these steps when you test your child's blood sugar:
Recording your child's blood sugar results is very important. The doctor
will use your child's record to see how often blood sugar levels have been in a
target range and to determine if your child's insulin dose or other diabetes medicine needs to be adjusted. This information lets you and your doctor know how your child's medicine, food, and activity are affecting your child's blood sugar. Be sure to take your child's record with you on
each visit to the doctor or diabetes educator.
To record your
child's results, you can:
The more often your
child's blood sugar is tested, the more likely it is your child will have sore
fingertips. Here are some suggestions to help reduce this pain.
To test your child's blood sugar, you need to put a
drop of blood on the special test strip used with the home blood sugar
To test your child's blood sugar at home, you
need to put a drop of blood on a special test strip. Within seconds to a minute
after you place the test strip into the meter, the meter will provide the
To test your child's blood sugar at home, you
do need to put a drop of blood on a special test strip.
Within seconds to a minute after you place the test strip into the meter, the
meter will provide the results.
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read this
information, you are ready to start monitoring your child's blood sugar levels
If you have questions about this information, take
it with you when you visit your child's doctor. You may want to mark areas or
make notes in the margins where you have questions.
If you haven't
talked with the doctor about when and how often to test your child's blood
sugar, do so during your next visit. Use the
blood sugar testing times(What is a PDF document?) form to record the times you need to check your
child's blood sugar each day and when he or she is ill.
Many blood sugar meter manufacturers offer computer software programs
that compile and analyze blood sugar test results on your home computer. You
can print out the results and take them along when you visit your child's
doctor. Some programs allow you to send the information to the doctor
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a national organization
for health professionals and consumers. Almost every state has a local office.
ADA sets the standards for the care of people with diabetes. Its focus is on
research for the prevention and treatment of all types of diabetes. ADA
provides patient and professional education mainly through its publications,
which include the monthly magazine Diabetes Forecast,
books, brochures, cookbooks and meal planning guides, and pamphlets. ADA also
provides information for parents about caring for a child with diabetes.
For more information, see:
Return to topic:
December 4, 2012
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology
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