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January 4, 2002


Question from Farmingdale, New Jersey, USA:

Six months ago, my eight year old daughter, was diagnosed with diabetes, and I have kept a log of her numbers which I would like to compare with those of an average eight year old who doesn't have diabetes. I am specifically trying to find out (for morning, lunch, dinner, bedtime) what the breakdown is by quartiles (e.g., 25% of the time below "x", 25% of the time between "x" and "y", 25% of the time between "y" and "z", and 25% of the time over "z").


I don’t think that the figures you want are available. For one thing, normal children don’t get blood sugar assays at these specified times. Even if you went to a clinical laboratory you would only get value for fasting and glucose tolerance tests for the same age range with mean and standard deviation, not percentiles. This would be for only one methodology, and the subjects would not, strictly speaking, be normal.

Additional comments from Dr. Larry Deeb:

I am sure such data do not exist. No one has normative data for a population by age and sex for glucoses throughout the day.

Additional comments from Marilyn Graff, diabetes nurse specialist:

The average blood glucose excursion is very narrow as the response of insulin is on an as needed basis. The average blood glucose is 100 mg/dl [5.6 mmol/L] with very small deviation.


[Editor’s comment: As long as your daughter is healthy, happy, and has a hemoglobin A1c in her target range, I would not get so obsessive-compulsive about analyzing every number. You’ll drive yourself and your family crazy. However, several years back, Dr. Peter Chase published an article (I believe in The Diabetes Educator) which contained pie-charts of blood glucose readings of children with diabetes and correlated the percentages with A1c values.