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Outside of medication, food choices, and lifestyle adjustments, monitoring your child’s insulin levels to make sure they remain at a healthy level can seem daunting. There are, however, several ways to monitor blood sugar levels in children. The most common of these is the finger prick test, which almost every child needs to do at least three times a day. There are also several symptoms you can look out for in between testing to determine if your child may be experiencing low or high blood sugar levels. New testing systems, such as the glucose watch and the continuous glucose monitor, can also be helpful to monitor blood sugar levels in children.
The finger prick test is the most common and effective way to monitor blood sugar levels in children. While there are some testing systems that can use alternative areas on the body, such as the thigh or upper arm, the fingers typically react to changes in blood sugar quicker. You will have to test your child at least three times per day, although for many children it will be much more than this. The test is not especially painful, but it is useful to rotate between fingers to reduce any soreness from constant pricking.
While regularly testing blood sugar is the best way to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels in children, it is also helpful to look for symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can cause excessive sweating, shaking, pale skin, headaches, and fatigue. Hyperglycemia, i.e., high blood sugar, can cause your child to urinate more often than usual, be excessively thirsty, and have an upset stomach. If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to do a glucose test as quickly as possible.
New devices can help monitor blood sugar levels in children, although doctors usually only recommend them as an accompaniment to the standard finger prick test rather than as an alternative. The glucose watch tests blood sugar levels in children three times an hour through electric currents. The continuous glucose monitor is a very tiny needle that can be inserted and worn all day. This device tests blood sugar levels every few minutes and can be helpful in watching for dips or spikes in blood sugar in between standard testing.
Monitoring blood sugar levels in children is not especially difficult; chances are that you’ll have it down to a science in no time. It is important to discuss the use of any testing methods with your child’s doctor and notify the office immediately if your child is having constant issues with hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. If this is the case, your child’s medication may need to be altered.