If you have a child that has recently been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, you could be feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility of what comes next, with regards to monitoring their condition. As a parent, it is important that you are completely comfortable with what is involved in managing their diabetes, and that you know exactly how to monitor their blood glucose levels on a daily basis.
Luckily, there are many good quality products on the market that can not only help you to work out these essential tasks, but also teach you to understand how to avoid the pitfalls associated when dealing with a Type 1 diabetic child. There are several factors to be aware of when your child has this condition, not only from monitoring their blood glucose, but to avoiding certain foods and to making sure they are eating the right foods on a regular basis.
And although the condition is completely manageable, statistics revealed by the National Diabetes Audit showed that 70% of people with Type 1 diabetes, which included 85% of children, are not managing to keep their long-term blood glucose measurement within the target range.
According to the charity Diabetes UK, a guide line for the target range for children with Type 1 diabetes is: before meals, 4-8 mmol/l; and two hours after meals, less than 10 mmol/l (NICE 2004). However, levels can vary for different people so it is important that this is discussed with your health care professional before any measurements are taken.
One of the most important things with Type 1 diabetes to maintain is the consumption of regular meals, as this will go a long way to keep energy and glucose levels constant. You should also keep a close watch on what your child is eating, both inside and outside the house, as understanding what sugars, fats and carbohydrates a meal or snack contains makes it easier for you to work out how it will affect the blood glucose levels.
And now to blood monitoring. You will have to get into the habit of routinely monitoring your child’s blood glucose levels. This is not as difficult as it sounds, as the new devices use a simple finger-pricking technique, which takes a small drop of blood that is then applied to a testing strip and a meter will then display the result automatically.
There are many blood glucose monitors on the market, for example, the Accu-Chek Aviva Blood Glucose System from Boots costs £12.74 and is an easy to use glucose system with a simple design, has a large visual display and utilises test strips. There are also 4 automatic reminders for different times throughout the day, to help remember when to test.
Bayer’s Contour Next USB Meter is the only blood glucose meter that connects directly to a computer for instant access to information, trends, and patterns. You only need a tiny amount of blood and it lets you reapply more to the same strip if you need to, to avoid wasted test strips and wasted time. Costs £29.99 from www.bayer-shop.co.uk
The SD CodeFree Blood Glucose Monitoring System costs £9.95 and gives an accurate picture of your blood glucose level at the time of the test. Using a lancing device and test strips, the SD CodeFree Meter will read the result automatically. Available from www.homehealth-uk.com
Dr Jen Nash, Clinical Psychologist with Type 1 diabetes and Bayer Diabetes Care blog panelist, says: “Blood glucose testing is the key to feeling more in control of your diabetes. It puts you in the driving seat because it provides you with instant feedback on what actions you need to take — whether that’s having more or less to eat, taking additional units of insulin or something else.”