No finger pricks for babies with diabetes

Healthsource WJRT
Healthsource WJRT(WJRT)
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 10:48 AM EDT
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Just over one million people in the U.S. are living with Type 1 diabetes ... including infants. The treatment for these little patients often involves finger pricks throughout the day to test blood sugar levels. Now, for one little girl, a new type of technology eliminates that difficult step.

For 21-month-old Peyton, nothing is better than hanging out with a good book. For her mom, it’s a welcome relief. Not so long ago ...

“She was at my mom’s house and she had called me and said, ‘Something is different, you know, she’s drinking six bottles and her mouth is sandpaper,’” recalled Peyton’s mom, Christina Duncan.

At eight months, Peyton was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Her pancreas wasn’t producing insulin. Untreated, it could lead to coma or even death.

“She is the youngest patient with Type 1 diabetes I ever took care of,” shared Daniela Cohen, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

The diagnosis meant Peyton would need insulin every day of her life.

“And the other thing is, we need to check the blood sugar all the time,” explained Dr. Cohen.

What makes it more challenging is that a baby as young as Peyton can’t tell us how she feels.

“Her blood sugar can fluctuate in like 30 to 40 minutes,” Christina recalled.

“So, most parents do a finger stick ten to 20 times a day,” Dr. Cohen illustrated.

That’s why Doctor Daniela Cohen introduced Peyton’s mom, Christina, to a kind of blood glucose sensor called the Dexcom G6. It’s FDA approved for kids two and over, but doctors felt Peyton was a good candidate for it.

“This sensor is inserted under the skin, checks the blood sugar every five minutes, and puts it on a screen for the parents,” Described Dr. Cohen.

An alarm also sounds when the numbers fall out of range so Peyton can get a snack or insulin to correct it.

“It has put our minds at ease. She gets to do what other kids are doing,” Christina shared.

Unlike other blood sugar sensors, the Dexcom G6 needs to be changed just once every ten days. Parents can even monitor the levels from their cell phones. Most doctors say the benefits are enormous.

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