Tuesday, 8 February 2011

How To Incorporate Your Diabetes Monitor Into Your Life

How To Incorporate Your Diabetes Monitor Into Your Life

For most diabetics, the fact that they are living with diabetes starts to hit them when they get their diabetes meter out from the box. Commonplace in any home-based blood glucose monitoring regimen, diabetes monitors or blood glucose meters are key to determining the concentrations of glucose in the blood, which in turn is essential in formulating the proper treatment, diet and exercise for managing diabetes.

If you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes, incorporating your diabetes monitor into your daily routine may be difficult and uncomfortable. Testing your blood sugar with your blood glucose monitor during specific periods of the day, for example, can be quite a challenge especially when at work or travelling. Thankfully, modern blood glucose monitors are quite small: The Johnson & Johnson One Touch Ultra Mini meter, for example, is just four inches long and one and a half inches wide. Modern meters also only require small amounts of blood to calculate results in seconds, making it easier to find time and a place to check for blood sugar.

If you are going to test your blood glucose outside of the house, testing in a bathroom or kitchen is the ideal place to do so in terms of hygiene and privacy. Make sure that all the necessary testing equipment including the diabetes monitor, lancets test strips are placed in a stable surface, and dispose of used test strips and lancets after the test.

If you are a Type 1 diabetic that requires regular doses of insulin, the American Diabetes Association recommends that you test at least three times a day. The testing should be done before or and after meals, when performing exercise or rigorous physical activity, and before going to sleep. For people with Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, testing is not as strict. Type 2 diabetics who control their diabetes through diet or oral medications may not even require regular testing at all. However, regardless of whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes you should still undertake periodic A1C testing, which shows your average blood glucose level over the past three months.

The type of diabetes monitor you are going to use for blood glucose monitoring might be an issue for you as well. If you have special requirements, such as a visual impairment or the need to track down blood glucose readings over time, your choices may be limited to just a few models. Price may also be a factor, although the blood glucose meter price has significantly gone down over the years. Nowadays you can purchase a blood glucose monitor from $80 to as low as $20. Some manufacturers even give away their diabetes monitors for free or are at a discounted rate. If you are covered by Medicaid, Medicare or other type of health insurance, your coverage may also include the purchase of a diabetes monitor and other diabetic testing supplies.

Once you have purchased a diabetes monitor, you should then calibrate it for first use with new test strips. Unless you are already familiar with calibrating meters, it is recommended that you bring your new meter along during your clinic visit and have it checked and calibrated by your doctor or a technician. You should also ask your doctor if you can use your meter alongside a laboratory blood test so that you will be able to determine whether the accuracy of your diabetes monitor closely matches that of laboratory-grade testing equipment.

Finally, most people have problems dealing with the pain and discomfort of taking blood samples for testing. Purchasing a lancing device often helps lessen the pain, as they draw and retract within seconds and allow you to set the depth of penetration of the lancet. You can also try taking blood samples on the forearm, which is less sensitive than the fingertip, though you should check first whether your meter supports alternative testing sites.

Living with a diabetes monitor can be quite inconvenient, but it is necessary in order to maintain good health and prevent the onset of severe side effects caused by diabetes. And if you want to learn more about living with diabetes as well as tips on finding free and diabetes monitors, insulin pump supplies and other diabetic supplies

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