The body is constantly measuring its levels of blood sugar and correcting high or low values. You, as diabetic, has lost much or all of this capability. With the assistance from technology, you must take over where your body has left off and do what it once did automatically - keeping your blood sugar in the acceptable range.
Measuring blood sugar requires a daily commitment, not as many times as when doing your blood sugar profile, but testing daily is still needed to be able to manage your diabetes effectively.
There is a test that should be done 3 - 4 times per annum, that shows your average blood sugar from the last 2 - 3 months. It is the HgbA1c test, also called HbA1c or A1c.
However, measuring blood sugar done as self-monitoring at home, is with a glucometer, giving the concentration of sugar in the blood at that point in time. This instantly available valuable information gives an accurate picture of the state of your blood-sugar level, and reveals patterns of blood sugar changes.
Knowing whether your blood sugar is high, low or acceptable, will dictate any action you should take to get it back to normal, and helps in the planning of meals, activities and the time of day for medications. Keeping records of these readings will also indicate to your doctor how well your treatment is working.
Measuring blood sugar is done by pricking the finger with a lancet, producing a drop of blood. This blood is then placed on a test strip that is inserted into a glucometer. Within seconds, the meter will give the blood sugar reading. The whole process seldom takes more than 30 seconds, mostly around 3 - 5 seconds.
A more complete and comprehensive explanation of the how, when and why of measuring blood sugar can be studied in Dr. Bernstein's diabetic solution.
If you are measuring someone else's blood sugar with your personal equipment (not a wise practice), install a new lancet every time, and wipe off the end-cap of the lancing device with fresh bleach after each use. It is possible to transmit serious infectious diseases from one person to another via lancing devices.
Measuring on sites other than the finger tips (arms, stomach, buttock, etc.) where punctures apparently cause no pain, can lag behind the fingers by as much as 20 minutes when there is a rapid change in blood sugar.
Vitamin C uses the same mechanism to get into the cells that glucose does. Taking more than 250 mg vitamin C supplement per day affects the accuracy of both blood sugar and HgbA1c measurements. Readings may be lower than the true values.
Alcohol has the side effect of drying the skin; this will eventually foster the formation of calluses.
Used test strips have the nasty habit of appearing in the most unexpected places like in the car, behind the couch, shirt pockets, handbags, etc. Keep a container, for example an empty tablet bottle, with your equipment for your used strips. Dispose when the container is full.
Frequent blood-glucose testing is the cornerstone of an effective diabetes management strategy.
When your body does not automatically adjust for the varying blood-sugar levels, it is up to you to do it for yourself. This can solely be done if you know your current blood sugar value. The exclusive way to get this is measuring blood sugar; only the extremely low and the excessively high blood-glucose levels have any noticeable symptoms. The "not-so-high" levels will also eventually cause diabetic complications.
Please consult the services of your
doctor and/or other members of your health care team
before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.
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