Background: Mild hypoglycemia is commonly observed in children treated for type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Hypoglycemia disturbs cognition and learning.
Objective: To describe how and to what extent hypoglycemia in young children with T1DM is detected in everyday life. To learn how parents and caregivers treat hypoglycemia and to evaluate how efficient this treatment is.
Methods: Twenty-three children [12 girls, mean age: 4.5 yr, mean HbA1c: 59 mmol/mol (7.5%)], 17 of whom were treated with an insulin pump, underwent blinded continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). Data on symptoms and treatment of hypoglycemia were collected in a logbook. Plasma glucose values were collected through self-monitoring of blood glucose and entered in the logbook, and glucometer memories were uploaded. Data were collected during 1 wk in autumn and 1 wk in spring.
Results: Only 32% of all hypoglycemic events were detected despite plasma glucose being checked 10 times per day. Most hypoglycemic events were asymptomatic (90% overall and 98% of those occurring at night). Untreated hypoglycemic events were associated with a relapse into hypoglycemia within 3 h in the majority of events. Compared to treatment of hypoglycemia events with a defined dose of simple carbohydrates, treatment with a mixed meal resulted in a significantly higher glucose value 1 and 2 h after the hypoglycemia.
Conclusion: For optimum treatment, children younger than 7 yr with T1DM need better strategies and support for detecting hypoglycemia with real-time CGM. Hypoglycemia should be treated with a defined dose of carbohydrates rather than a mixed meal.
Keywords: CGM; T1DM; hypoglycemia; pre-school children; self-monitored plasma glucose.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.