Saturday, October 4, 2008

Monitor Blood Sugar Often

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 7.0 times per day. (See the most recent poll on the topic from November 2007.) 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 2007 was 66%. And 21% 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 2007, 39% of readers report checking nighttime blood glucose levels every night. 56% 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.

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