Diabetic alert dog may provide sense of security for PA girl with type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes has been referred to as juvenile diabetes since it is typically diagnosed when an individual is a child or adolescent. The early onset of the disease may pose challenges for the families of young patients who are unable to practice diabetes management without help from others.

Tammy Ney, a Pennsylvania resident and mother of 4-year-old Kaydence, who has type 1 diabetes, recently told the Standard Speaker that she sets an alarm in order to wake up multiple times during the night to check her daughter's blood sugar levels.

Ney explained to the newspaper that she is worried Kaydence will experience a diabetic seizure or slip into a coma due to nocturnal hypoglycemia, the clinical name for low blood glucose levels during the night. She said the child recently had a seizure, which is why the family is taking extra precautions to promote diligent diabetes management.

The news provider reported that Kaydence has an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor that sounds an alert when her blood sugar levels are too low. However, her mother noted that she and her husband may not be able to hear the alarm if Kaydence is sleeping on top of the monitor.

Continuous blood glucose monitors are devices that are inserted under the skin of individuals who have type 1 diabetes. The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse explains that these tools measure blood sugar levels in tissue fluids, but may not provide readings that are as accurate as standard meters. Therefore, the organization recommends that people use both tests to ensure their their levels are in a healthy range.

The Standard Speaker said that the Ney family is looking to purchase a diabetes alert dog. The news source said that these canines can smell changes in a person's blood glucose levels up to 40 minutes before a monitoring device can detect them. In cases of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, the dogs will alert diabetics, or their families if they do not respond. The animals are also trained to call emergency personnel.

The Americans Diabetes Association reports that 1 out of every 400 children and adolescents in the U.S. has type 1 diabetes.