Self-monitoring In Diabetes Mellitus
To self monitor your blood glucose levels you need a device, a home monitor for your blood sugar, which can examine your blood sample to provide you with the result indicating your present level of blood glucose. These monitors or meters are the best tool for diabetics to have for the management of their diabetes since they give immediate results, very portable and so are easily within reach, and so convenient as there is no necessity to go over to your doctor’s clinic.
Routine SMBG (self-monitoring of blood glucose levels) at particular times assist in giving you information on the levels of your blood sugar at any time of the day. Monitoring and having records of all the results and the situations that have affected them can assist you to know the effect particular foods and physical activities have on your blood glucose. With the record to look at, the written information can be used to make necessary changes to your diabetes treatment.
An important medical study known as the DCCT (Diabetes Control and Complications Trial) concluded that the use of SMBG in tight control of levels of blood sugar greatly lessened the possibility of getting complications related to diabetes. After the publication of the study in 1993, SMBG guidelines have been developed. Testing at home as a regular occurrence is now encouraged.
For diabetics who have hypoglycemic unawareness, testing for blood sugar at home is necessary. Such diabetics are unaware of the usual signs such as a fast heartbeat, worry, unsteadiness, a dizzy feeling and irritability, which warn them that their blood glucose levels are getting too low.
SMBG can also assist you to evaluate the effectiveness of your medications or insulin in sugar level control. It can help you to make adjustments to the time you take your medications to achieve the best results.
At times when you are sick or facing some problems and using some kind of medicine which has an effect on your blood sugar, testing more frequently at home can save you from any dangerous emergencies caused by the levels of your blood sugar. Such testing can inform you of the necessity to taken action to prevent your levels of blood glucose from going too high or too low.
It is good to test before an exercise, during it as well as after the activity to ensure there is no sudden drop of levels of blood sugar. Since consuming alcohol can bring on hypoglycemia, it is advisable to test after your drinks. If you ever think your blood glucose is getting low, confirm it with a test so that instant action can be taken.
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I don’t like the idea of sticking a needle into myself. Why not just test my urine for sugar?
It can be done but it will not be of much use to you if you really want to have your diabetes under control. You see, urine stays too long in the bladder to give an accurate measurement of the sugar in it. Furthermore, there must be more than 180 mg/dL of glucose in the blood to have it shown in the urine. And possibly life threatening low levels of blood glucose cannot be detected.
How often and when is testing needed
People wonder when they should test. There are those who test only once, at the time they awaken. Some test in the morning, at night, also before as well as after meals, testing many times each day. Generally, it is advisable to check your levels of blood sugar as often as possible after your first diagnosis of diabetes so that you can find out how different foods, activities, medications and insulin affect your glucose levels. You also need to check just as often to see how good treatment changes have been.
In order to make the right changes to insulin dosage, blood sugar checks need to be done frequently. Those diabetics who have the brittle diabetes condition in which their sugar levels are not constant, always changing without any signs of warning should also test very often.
You must check your blood glucose level immediately if you perceived it to be low. It can be treated by eating processed or refined carbohydrates which amount to 15 grams, have a 15 minute wait before testing again. Should you find your blood glucose not yet in the range which is safe, go through the above treatment again. Should you be unable to find your monitor when you perceive your blood glucose level to be low, treat it anyway and have it checked later.
When to check
It is recommended by the ADA (American Diabetes Association) that diabetics check a minimum twice a day if you are using insulin pumps or are having injections of multiple insulins. In fact, they should test more often since the accurate results of the tests are important in deciding on the correct dosage and making sure the blood glucose levels are in a range which is safe.
For type 2 diabetics who do not need insulin and type 1 diabetics who inject insulin only once, maybe two times each day, no particular recommendations are given by the ADA (American Diabetes Association). However, even for these people, self-monitoring of blood glucose levels is the tool to give instant feedback on the effects food, exercise, medication and other factors in the environment on blood glucose. Therefore, frequent self-monitoring ought to be done to reach targeted blood glucose results although testing supplies are expensive.