Diabetes is a disease that affects 23.3 million Americans and controlling the disease is vital to living a healthy, active life. Medical Plus Supplies understands the diverse needs of individuals living with diabetes and looks to provide the best possible testing supplies to keep your blood glucose in control.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Only 5-10% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children with type 1 diabetes can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy, happy lives.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and many more are unaware they are at high risk. Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others, such as the aged population.
In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications.
During pregnancy — usually at around 28 weeks or later — many women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. A diagnosis of gestational diabetes doesn’t mean that you had diabetes before you conceived, or that you will have diabetes after giving birth. But it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice regarding blood glucose (blood sugar) levels while you’re planning your pregnancy, so you and your baby both remain healthy.
- Meters are vital to keeping track of day-to-day blood glucose levels.
- They’re accurate, but improper use or faulty materials can cause incorrect readings.
- Many options are available, so consider your needs before buying.
Blood glucose meters are small computerized machines that “read” your blood glucose. In all types of meters, your blood glucose level shows up as a number on a screen (like that on your pocket calculator). Be sure your doctor or nurse educator shows you the correct way to use your meter. With all the advances in blood glucose meters, use of a meter is better than visual checking.
How accurate are they?
Experts testing meters in the lab setting found them accurate and precise. That’s the good news. The bad: meter mistakes most often come from the person doing the blood checks. For good results you need to do each step correctly. Here are some other things that can cause your meter to give a poor reading:
- Dirty meter
- Meter or strip that’s not at room temperature
- Outdated test strip
- Meter not calibrated (set up for) the current box of test strips
- Blood drop that is too small
How do I choose a meter?
There are many meters to choose from. Some meters are made for those with poor eyesight. Others come with memory so you can store your results in the meter itself. Here are some questions to think about when choosing meters.
- What meter does your doctor or diabetes educator suggest? They may have meters that they use often and know best.
- What will it cost? Some insurance companies will only pay for a certain meter. Call your insurance company before you purchase a meter and ask how to get a meter and supplies. If your insurance company does not pay for blood glucose checking supplies, rebates are often available toward the purchase of your meter. You still have to consider the cost of the matching strips and lancets.
- How easy is the meter to use? Methods vary. Some have fewer steps than others.
- How simple is the meter to maintain? Is it easy to clean? How easy is the meter calibrated (set correctly for the batch of strips you are using)?
How do I check?
- After washing your hands, insert a test strip into your meter.
- Use your lancing device on the side of your fingertip to get a drop of blood.
- Gently squeeze or massage your finger until a drop of blood forms. (Required sample sizes vary by meter.)
- Touch and hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood, and wait for the result.
- Your blood glucose level will appear on the meter’s display.
- Note: All meters are slightly different, so always refer to your user’s manual for specific instructions.
Other tips for checking:
- With some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh or fleshy part of your hand.
- There are spring-loaded lancing devices that make sticking yourself less painful.
- If you use your fingertip, stick the side of your fingertip by your fingernail to avoid having sore spots on the frequently used part of your finger.
What are the typical ranges?
Here are the blood glucose ranges for adults with diabetes:
|Preprandial plasma glucose (before a meal)||70–130 mg/dl (5.0–7.2 mmol/l)|
|Postprandial plasma glucose (after a meal||<180 mg/dl (<10.0 mmol/l)|
|Blood pressure||<130/80 mmHg|
|LDL||<100 mg/dl (<2.6 mmol/l)|
|Triglycerides||<150 mg/dl (<1.7 mmol/l)|
|HDL||>40 mg/dl (>1.1 mmol/l)|
What do my results mean?
When you finish the blood glucose check, write down your results and review them to see how food, activity and stress affect your blood glucose. Take a close look at your blood glucose record to see if your level is too high or too low several days in a row at about the same time. If the same thing keeps happening, it might be time to change your plan. Work with your doctor or diabetes educator to learn what your results mean for you. This takes time. Ask your doctor or nurse if you should report results out of a certain range at once by phone.