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Benefits Of rtCGM for Pediatric Patients with Type 1 Diabetes

For children and teens living with type 1 diabetes, managing the needs of their condition every day can be a challenge. In some cases, it can be difficult for parents or caregivers to get their children to participate in treatment plans or stay on top of their glucose levels. Having regular access to a real-time continuous glucose monitoring (rtCGM) system can be a life-changing experience for many young people and their parents and caregivers. However, even when the benefits are clear, rtCGM adoption rates remain low1 in some cases.

Research has shown that rtCGM use in young adults ages 16-24 with type 1 diabetes leads to improved time in range (TIR) and A1C levels compared to capillary blood glucose (CBG) monitoring.2 The MILLENIAL trial also found that study participants on rtCGM reported greater openness and reduced burden compared to peers on CBG management plans.2,3

In addition, rtCGM technology may bring additional peace of mind to parents and caregivers who are not able to be with their children during activities such as when they’re at school, sleepovers, or away on a trip. Healthcare providers are encouraged to discuss the potential benefits of rtCGM with their diabetes patients and their parents and caregivers and recommend it when they feel it is appropriate.

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Mia: A Case Study

Mia is an active 16-year-old female with type 1 diabetes. She is on insulin pump therapy and currently uses capillary blood glucose (CBG) monitoring to check her blood glucose levels. Despite the tools currently used in her diabetes management, Mia has high glycemic variability based on her fingerstick values. She is reluctant to monitor her glucose at school, as she feels self-conscious and would like to avoid unwanted questions or attention from friends or teachers. This often leads to Mia administering insulin without checking her glucose levels first, which can be a concerning safety issue.

Her sporting activities also complicate her diabetes management. Mia regularly plays soccer on the weekends and often has out-of-town tournaments that her parents are unable to attend. She has demonstrated some reluctance to checking her blood glucose while playing soccer in the past, and therefore it can be difficult to understand how her glucose changes during the game and impacts how she feels and performs.

Mia’s parents are not yet confident that she will independently manage her glucose while she's away from home and not under their direct parental supervision. This emotional burden causes additional stress within the family and prevents Mia from getting the independence she desires. She wants to be able to attend social and sports events freely, but her parents would like more assurance that she will self-manage her glucose while away. Sometimes this may mean making tough decisions, like not allowing her to go on trips when they are not present.

 

Getting Mia the Tools She Needs

The Dexcom G6 rtCGM System helps Mia address the two barriers to improving her diabetes management; discreetly monitoring her glucose, and additional support from her parents through remote monitoring and data sharing.

Firstly, it allows Mia to discreetly monitor her glucose levels throughout the day by sending data to a compatible smart device* in real-time up to every 5 minutes, without the need for routine fingersticks or scanning. Secondly, the sharing and remote monitoring provided by the Dexcom Follow app gives her parents a way to stay informed when she is away from home by sending alerts to their compatible smart devices* if her glucose levels get too high or low. Her parents have added peace of mind knowing that they can quickly notify a teacher, coach, or parent at an out-of-town tournament if they receive an alert or alarm for Mia, getting her the support she may need.

For Mia, the comfort and support that comes with using Dexcom G6 has been invaluable. She is now able to participate in activities that she enjoys without having to constantly worry about her glucose levels and dose insulin with more discretion. The added plus is she is now able to demonstrate to her parents that she is effectively managing her diabetes and gaining their confidence and approval to be more independent.

Getting Mia the Tools She Needs

 

Improving rtCGM Adoption for Kids and Teens

For many kids and teens, having diabetes can feel like a burden that they have to carry around all the time. It's important for parents and healthcare providers to work together to ensure that children have the best possible care and support when it comes to diabetes.

One way to improve rtCGM adoption for kids and teens is to ensure that they have a positive experience with the technology. Educating young people on the benefits of the technology, and helping them understand how it can positively impact their daily life, can help improve adoption. Dexcom Warrior, Leena, also uses Dexcom G6 to manage her diabetes while playing competitive sports. See her story below.

If your patients are interested in trying the Dexcom G6, they can sign up online to see if they qualify for a free Hello Dexcom sample, or you can submit a request online to have Hello Dexcom samples provided to your healthcare office or clinic.

rtCGM, real-time Continuous Glucose Monitoring; CBG, Capillary Blood Glucose.

* Click here for a list of compatible devices.

† If glucose alerts and readings from the G6 do not match symptoms or expectations, use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions.

‡ Requires the Follow App and an internet connection. Users should always confirm readings on the Dexcom G6 CGM App or Receiver before making treatment decisions.

1 Dexcom data on file, 2022.

2 Thabit H, Prabhu JN, Mubita W, et al. Use of Factory-Calibrated Real-time Continuous Glucose Monitoring Improves Time in Target and HbA1c in a Multiethnic Cohort of Adolescents and Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes: The MILLENNIALS Study. Diabetes Care. 2020;43(10):2537-2543.

3 Polonsky, W. and Fisher, L., 2015. The Glucose Monitoring Satisfaction Survey (GMSS). Version: Type 1 Diabetes. [PDF] Available at: [Accessed 11 April 2022].

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