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May 5, 2006

Research: Monitoring

Question from Lubbock, Texas, USA:

There is a monitor that children wear on their wrist at night that has an alarm that goes off if their sugars get too low. It apparently measures their sweat. My daughter gets low and has extreme difficulty getting to me. She and I are worried that some day she won't make it to my room. I've seen this device in a diabetes magazine and would like to get it for her. It's a simple alert wrist monitor.


The product you are thinking of is called the Sleep Sentry (www.diabetessentry.com). This device does not measure blood glucose, but rather detects sweat and changes in skin temperature. Since not everyone exhibits these symptoms when low, the ability of the Sleep Sentry to detect low blood sugar in any specific individual will depend entirely on whether your hypoglycemic symptoms include sweating and a decrease in skin temperature.

The Medtronic MiniMed Guardian RT and DexCom STS measure glucose levels directly and will alarm when the reading passes a low or high threshold. Other companies are also working on continuous glucose sensors.

To help reduce the risk of undetected lows at night, a large percentage of CWD parents check their children at night. See the poll on nighttime testing from March 26, 2006 for details.


[Editor’s comment: Another easier and less costly alternative is to think about getting a baby monitor to use. You put the transmitter in the bedroom of the child with diabetes and the receiver where you can hear it. Then, the child can call out if they are feeling low and in need of help. This will not aid in the detection of lows, but could cut down your response time to those lows.