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I was doing some research on diabetes for my husband who was recently diagnosed when I came across information pertaining to children with diabetes. We tested our children with our home testing kit, my three year old registered 157 mg/dl [8.7 mmol/L] and my eight year old was 142 mg/dl [7.9 mmol/L], both of which were higher than my reading. Is this normal? How do you determine what is a good level for them?


Home glucose meters are very handy screening devices. For the most part, they are fairly accurate. After all, in someone with known glucose problems (e.g., diabetes), it is very helpful to know if the glucose is 175 or 375 mg/dl [9.7 or 20.8 mmol/L]. On the other hand, it is not quite as critical to know whether the glucose was 175 or 155 mg/dl [9.7 or 8.6 mmol/L]. So, I don't think one should make the diagnosis of diabetes based on home glucose testing. Although it may provide some information to make you lean that way, the numbers really need to be confirmed in the laboratory. In addition, some meters read whole blood glucose values, some read plasma glucose values, and plasma readings are about 15-20% higher than whole blood readings.

With that in mind, the readings you are getting for your children old are a little bit interesting, assuming that their sites were well cleaned and dried before the testing. A normal plasma glucose, almost regardless of age (small prematures may be a little different), is generally between 60-120 mg/dl [3.3-6.7 mmol/L]. A fasting value greater than 125 mg/dl [6.9 mmol/L] or a random level 200 mg/dl [11.1 mmol/L] in a symptomatic person now is used to make a diagnosis of diabetes.

If you have questions, your children's pediatrician should be able to guide you.


Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

Those levels are too high, but you need to be sure that your technique was okay -- no junk on their hands, for instance. If you do this several times, and they are still in this range, you should discuss this with your children's physicians since they may need lab testing to confirm including the presence of pancreas antibodies, etc.


Original posting 30 Mar 2002
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:32
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