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Glucose sensors provide a way to continuously monitor blood sugar levels, helping children with Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes maintain good blood sugar control and respond quickly if blood sugar levels are too high or too low. Children with diabetes who use insulin pens, insulin pumps or insulin syringes may use a glucose sensor for blood sugar monitoring.
A glucose sensor is inserted under the skin; usually in the upper arm or abdomen. It checks the blood sugar every five minutes and sends the reading to an external device that your child can clip on his or her clothes or keep in a pocket. This high level of glucose monitoring allows your child to document blood sugar trends in response to food, exercise, insulin injections and other factors that affect blood sugar. Continuous monitoring also lets your child know quickly if he or she did not administer the correct dose of insulin.
You and your child's doctor should first discuss the pros and cons of continuous glucose monitoring to be sure a glucose sensor is right for your child. If it is the right option, your child will be referred to our Insulin Pump Program coordinator who will educate you on the different types of sensors and how to use a glucose sensor.
If it is decided that continuous glucose monitoring with a glucose sensor is a good option for your child, you can expect the following:
Continuous glucose monitoring with a glucose sensor does not entirely replace finger-stick glucose testing, but it does reduce the number of finger sticks needed each day. Your child will still need to use finger-stick glucose testing with a blood glucose monitor a few times a day to be sure the glucose sensor readings are accurate.
Use of a glucose sensor does require training and practice. Also, depending on your insurance, glucose sensors may be more expensive than finger-stick blood glucose monitoring. The Insulin Pump Program coordinator at Riley at IU Health will work with you to determine which glucose sensors are covered by your insurance.