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March 25, 2004

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from London, United Kingdom:

My four year old son has type 1 diabetes. When we check his blood sugar, he finds that the pain is unbearable and cries for a long time before he settles for me to give him his injection. He will only allow injections to be done in his bottom. I've tried his legs, but have to physically hold him down for this to be done and I've had quite a few bruises before I've managed to give it. Is there a less painful way of testing his blood sugar? And at what age could he have a pump? In the UK, very few people use pumps because they are so expensive and not readily available on the NHS if the diabetes is well controlled. Strangely enough, it's easier to get one if you have neglected your diabetes and are suffering from complications. Any advice would be gratefully received as my son's specialist won't even entertain talking about a pump.

Answer:

It sounds like you are having a very hard time. It can be very difficult for younger children to understand why they need finger pricks and insulin injections. It may help to try different finger prick devices, or even try the ones you can use on the forearm; they may be less painful. If your child is really fighting back, it may be that you need the help of a psychologist, who can be really helpful with these sorts of problems. It is worthwhile asking about this with your nurse or doctor. The insulin pump is not for everyone. However, it is worth asking about whether it may help. If your doctor is not keen to talk about it, ask if you can speak to someone who has experience of using pumps. Although it is not commonly used in the UK yet, there are more areas using it and it will continue to be used in increasing numbers in the next few years.

JS