Diabetes is a disease that impacts the way your body is able to use, produce or process glucose. It can be separated into two categories; type 1 is usually genetic and type 2 is usually linked to lifestyle (like being overweight). Whichever type you have, it will need to be properly managed and the first step in being able to control it, is to test it.
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Diabetes mellitus, simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of diseases that impact how your body uses glucose or blood sugar. Glucose is essential to health as it is an important source of energy for the cells that make up your tissues and muscles. Glucose is also the brain’s main source of fuel.
There are various underlying causes of diabetes. Regardless of the type of diabetes you have, the disease can lead to excess sugar in your blood. The presence of too much glucose in your blood can lead to serious health problems.
Chronic diabetes conditions may be classified as type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. There are potentially reversible diabetes such as prediabetes and gestational diabetes. Prediabetes is a condition where the blood glucose levels are higher than normal, not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and may be resolved after the birth of the baby.
Complications are something that all diabetes patients fear. A person might be complication free but he is expecting that at any given time, the symptoms will appear. Some diabetes patients are struggling with multiple complications of the disease.
The possible complications of diabetes include the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney damage
- Nerve damage
- Eye damage
- Foot damage
- Hearing impairment
- Skin conditions
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Sexual dysfunction
Blood Glucose Monitoring
People with diabetes can avoid the complications of the disease by controlling their blood glucose levels very well.
Proper glucose control can also avoid the risk of hypoglycemia, a condition where the glucose level in the blood is abnormally low. Hypoglycemia is not a disease in itself but a sign of a health problem. Glucose is needed by the brain, which requires glucose to function. The brain is not able to store or manufacture glucose, hence a continuous supply of the same is needed. Signs of low glucose level include trembling, hunger, heart racing, sweating, and nausea. Hypoglycemia is usually associated with diabetes but there are other conditions that can cause a person to have low glucose level.
Hyperglycemia or high glucose levels can cause significant damage to a person’s organs, leading to the complications of diabetes.
To avoid the complication of diabetes, a diabetes patient must control his blood glucose very well to minimize the risk of hyperglycemia. This strict control of blood glucose levels will prevent the complications of diabetes.
An essential part of managing diabetes is regular monitoring of the glucose level, also known as self-testing. Changing your lifestyle and taking your medications will also allow you to prevent the complications of diabetes.
When your blood-glucose meter indicates during your self-testing that your glucose levels are very high, you can take the necessary measures to bring it back to normal immediately. You may need to increase your medication or modify your diet. A consultation with your healthcare professional can help you determine a strategy to rectify the situation.
Self-testing: A commitment
You should exert all efforts to take care of your health. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you and your doctor should draw up a plan how to control your blood glucose level. Your doctor will ask you to perform a glucose self-testing regularly, at least once a day but if possible, several times a day.
Self-testing must be your commitment. You might be performing the tests regularly at the beginning but over time, you might slack off in your regimen.
In order to stay committed to checking your blood glucose levels regularly, the following could help:
- Use a blood-glucose meter that meets your lifestyle and needs. Choose one that is easy to use. Find the best meter that will not be very bothersome, as you have to test your blood glucose several times in a day.
- Ask your healthcare professional to show you how to correctly use your glucose meter. Be familiar how your meter works and know all their functions.
- Attend a diabetes education seminar where you could learn more about managing your diabetes.
You can develop your commitment to controlling your blood-glucose levels only if you will fully grasp the importance of self-testing and its positive effects in terms of preventing the complications of diabetes.
You will need a blood glucose meter to measure and display the glucose level in your blood. Diet, medication, exercise, stress and other factors affect the levels of your blood glucose. Using a blood glucose meter will help you better manage your diabetes by tracking the fluctuations in your blood glucose levels.
There are many types of blood glucose meters available on the market – ranging from the basic to the more advanced meters. The cost of the blood glucose meters and the test strips they use varies. Check your options before deciding on the model to purchase.
When choosing your blood glucose meter, you have to consider several factors that will help you decide, such as:
- Insurance coverage – Find out if your health insurance will cover the cost of the meter.
- Cost – Your insurance might shoulder the cost of the meter but you will have to buy the test strips. Find out how much your insurance will cover for the test strips.
- Ease of maintenance – If you are not technologically-savvy, do not choose an advanced model meter that may be too complicated to use.
- Features – Check if the meter has all the features that you need.
- Information storage and retrieval – Find out how your meter of choice will store and provide you information when you need them.
- Product support – Check if the meter that you will choose will have product support. There are products that will leave you on your own once the product has been purchased.
Blood glucose test strips are innocent-looking strips of plastic. These plastic strips are the mainstay of any blood glucose testing. The test strips help diabetes patients monitor and control their diabetes. Test strips are important components of every blood glucose meter. A small drop of blood is placed on one end of the strip and the meter provides a reading.
There are test strips that do not need a glucose meter. Blood is placed on the active part of the test strip and wiped off after a few seconds. The reagent will cause the test strip to change its colour. The resulting colour will be matched on a colour chart. These test strips are a lot cheaper but not as accurate as the test strips that use a blood glucose meter.
There are various types of blood glucose test strips. They are produced by different manufacturers and each is used differently from the other.
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