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From Queensland, Australia:

My six year old cousin has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and is quite traumatised with this fact. She is a strong young girl, and I am sure that she can cope, but it is extremely difficult for her in the meanwhile. She is insulin dependent and needs regular finger pricks. Is there some type of blood sugar level monitor she could get hold of? We live in Australia, which doesn't seem to have the advancements in this particular area, as in the USA.


Australian medicine and pediatric diabetes specifically is quite advanced so I am puzzled a bit by your question. All of the monitors available in the rest of the world are available in Australia. You should be sure that this young girl is getting medical care from a pediatric endocrinologist specializing in pediatric diabetes. All of the large Australian cities including Sydney and Melbourne have such centers with excellent doctors.


Additional comments from Dr. Donough O'Brien:

I am sure that your young cousin is already getting good care. On the narrow issue of blood sugar monitors, you may have heard of the GlucoWatch, which is a non-invasive device for doing blood sugars. However I don't think that it is available in Australia yet. In any case, although it is reasonably accurate, it is too cumbersome and difficult to calibrate for daily use by a six year old. The family should see if any of the meters that use Alternate Site Testing are available in Australia. They are almost painless and they might be planning to market in Australia soon, if not already.


Additional comments from diabetes Shirley Goodman, nurse specialist:

Blood sugar testing can be uncomfortable, especially on someone new to diabetes. Usually, once someone has been doing finger pricks for several months, a callus or harder area develops on finger tips. So long as the calluses are not real thick, a drop of blood can still be obtained for testing, but the actual poke doesn't hurt as much.

There are several meters that are approved for testing blood for sugar from places other than fingertips. Testing blood for sugar from a forearm hurts less, but in certain circumstances is less accurate than when blood from the finger is tested for sugar. If someone feels that there blood sugar is changing rapidly, finger tips should be used, not forearms. There are no devices yet approved in the US that completely eliminate fingersticks for blood sugar testing.


Original posting 14 Oct 2002
Posted to Blood Tests and Insulin Injections


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