Glucose sensor test approved for young diabetics faced with painful finger prick tests

Young people living with diabetes have been given the go-ahead to use a glucose sensor test, instead of painful finger prick tests.

The glucose sensor device was introduced to New Zealand adults last year. 

The system involves a glucose sensor that attaches to the back of the arm, and has to be replaced every 14 days.

Now younger sufferers between the ages of four and 17 can use it too.

Paediatric endocrinologist Dr Ben Wheeler says it will also make a huge difference to parents of very young children with diabetes.

"In some situations you will have families who are testing their children 10 times or 12 times a day and that all requires a painful finger prick," he said.

Unfortunately the cost of the device is prohibitive for many at $2,400 a year, or nearly $100 a fortnight.

Fourteen-year-old Tom Phillips was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes last year.

"The finger pricker sucked. I'm not going to lie," he said. 

He has been trialling the device for the last two weeks, but his mother is having to get a second job to be able to cover the cost of it.

The company behind the product has applied to Pharmac to fund it 

Diabetes New Zealand youth director, Ruby McGill, says the devices is "a real life changing, life saving option that really should be available to everybody that needs it".

Tom says the glucose sensor device means, "I can look after myself with no one even noticing". 

Painful finger prick tests are one of the things that makes living with diabetes tough for the youngest sufferers. Source: 1 NEWS