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March 5, 2006

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Question from Saint Elmo, Illinois, USA:

My eight year old daughter has blood sugars as low as 16 mg/dl [0.9 mmol/L] and as high as 500 mg/dl [27.8 mmol/L] plus. She is never symptomatic for highs or lows. Could she not have diabetes? Or, could our meters be malfunctioning? I am really concerned about this. What should I do?

Answer:

If you daughter has blood sugars as high as 500 mg/dl [27.8 mmol/L], she clearly has diabetes. It is very important to know how to run your glucometer, especially if it is a type that requires coding the strips. Your diabetes educator or physician should be your best resource in making sure you are using the glucometer correctly.

Not being able to interpret the feeling of being low or high is fairly common in eight year olds. As she grows up a little, you’ll find that she is better able to feel when she is low or high, hopefully. In the meantime, you should carefully watch her for any signs or symptoms of high or low blood sugars and test her more frequently if you suspect she might be high or low. To help you, see Hyperglycemia and Ketone Testing and also read Hypoglycemia and how to treat it.

Also, when a child is experiencing frequent dramatic changes in blood sugars, such as you have described, you should consider changing her insulin dosing to better meet her needs. This is best done with the advice of your physician or diabetes educator when your child is young. Please contact your diabetes team for advice about insulin dosing.

MSB