The only data available to manage diabetes care is blood glucose values. As such, it simply makes sense that the more data we have, the better our decisions can be and the more opportunities we’ll have to make adjustments in care to maximize the amount of time our kids spend with their blood glucose values in their target ranges.

Since we began asking our readers about blood glucose monitoring frequency in October 1998, we’ve seen an increase in daily checks from an average of 4.6 to 7.4 times per day. (See the most recent poll on the topic from November 2014.) The trend toward more frequent monitoring is evident in the number of people who report checking more than six times per day, which in November 2014 was 73%. And 30% of our readers report checking ten times a day or more.

One of the hotly debated topics among parents is nighttime blood glucose monitoring. In a poll we ran in March 2016, 31% of readers report checking nighttime blood glucose levels every night. 40% report checking at least once a week. The number of people checking at night is also increasing. Since diabetes doesn’t go away during sleep, checking at night makes sense, especially for young kids whose brains are still developing. A growing body of evidence points to more nocturnal hypoglycemia than previously thought and to a greater number of problems associated with nocturnal hypoglycemia.

The bottom line is that blood glucose data is the cornerstone for all diabetes management. Monitor often, and thank your child whenever they check themselves, regardless of the blood glucose number. These numbers aren’t “good” or “bad” — they’re just numbers. And they’re the most important numbers you have to make a difference in your child’s quality of care. Cherish each and every one.


References:

  1. Hypoglycemia during sleep impairs consolidation of declarative memory in type 1 diabetic and healthy humans
  2. Benefits and Limitations of Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose
  3. Nocturnal Hypoglycemia in Type 1 Diabetes: An Assessment of Preventive Bedtime Treatments. Free full text available in PDF format.
  4. Neurocognitive functioning in children with type-1 diabetes with and without episodes of severe hypoglycaemia [Dev Med Child Neurol. 2003 Apr;45(4):262-8].
  5. Blood glucose estimations in adolescents with type 1 diabetes: predictors of accuracy and error [J Pediatr Psychol. 2003 Apr-May;28(3):203-11].
  6. Decreased consciousness of hypoglycaemia and the incidence of severe hypoglycaemia in children and adolescents with diabetes type 1 [Endokrynol Diabetol Chor Przemiany Materii Wieku Rozw. 2002;8(2):77-82].
  7. Severe hypoglycemia and long-term spatial memory in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a retrospective study [J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2003 Jul;9(5):740-50].
  8. Hypoglycemia in children with type 1 diabetes: current issues and controversies [Pediatr Diabetes. 2003 Sep;4(3):143-50].
  9. Nocturnal hypoglycemia detected with the Continuous Glucose Monitoring System in pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes [J Pediatr. 2002 Nov;141(5):625-30].
  10. Facilitating access to glucometer reagents increases blood glucose self-monitoring frequency and improves glycaemic control: a prospective study in insulin-treated diabetic patients. Diabet Med. 2004 Feb;21(2):129-35.