Using a Glucometer to Manage Your Diabetes

Diabetes has undeniably become a global silent killer. Doctors who advocate patient education have endorsed the use of glucometers at home by patients to help them manage their diabetic conditions better. A close relative of a diabetic myself, I have come to appreciate the benefits of having a meter at home for ready access and consistent monitoring of blood sugar, at any given time or day.

This global epidemic Diabetes, which is increasing at an alarming rate is certainly no respecter of age, sex, race, status or occupation victimizing even fragile infants. Alarmed, various medical associations here and abroad have collaborated and initiated campaigns for better patient education in the country and overseas. In Canada alone, the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) has set guidelines on the management of diabetes whereby all people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes must self-monitor their blood glucose levels. It was also recommended that self-monitoring using blood glucose meters for most people using medications be regularly done to control type 2 diabetes, and more so for those who are managing their type 2 diabetes through diet and exercise alone.

Self-monitoring of blood glucose is the most important activity that a diabetic can do to determine his level of glycemic control. A blood glucose meter or glucometer is a complicated but easy-to-use device that enable patients to test their own blood sugar levels at home and determine whether blood glucose levels are in the target range. A reliable blood glucose meter helps gauge if the patient’s blood glucose is shooting up or plummeting down even before the obvious symptoms of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia become evident.

Because it gives immediate feedback and a better blood glucose reading by testing the blood directly, the patient and his physician can make necessary adjustments in medication, diet, insulin or exercise program to keep blood glucose levels within the normal range. Using blood glucose meters also determine the effects of certain foods on blood glucose levels and can help a person with diabetes to choose appropriate foods more carefully.

In the Philippines, many doctors, healthcare providers and diabetic educators advocate patient education and seriously recommend that every home should have within their ready access a durable and reliable blood glucose meter, much better if it has state-of-the-art bio-sensor technology since it can provide accurate glucose level reading results (comparable to plasma-calibrated lab tests) used in many diagnostic clinics today – in just 30 seconds and it’s right in the comfort of one’s home or practically anywhere, anytime of the day. For patients who are queasy about painful pricking on their fingers, they can opt for a virtually painless glucometer, systematic, handy, lightweight, portable and convenient to use. Each set must contain a monitor, testing supplies, lancing device, record book, carrying case and have replaceable batteries.

Follow the Proper Testing Technique: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Anyone using a glucose meter should receive proper training so that they can test their blood glucose levels properly. Get professional guidance on using a particular glucometer. Read the manual to be familiar with the glucometer’s use and function. Follow the manufacturer’s meter instructions carefully. Use only fresh strips and supplies. Routinely test the meter for accuracy. Always record results and observe blood glucose patterns frequently. Based on the results recorded, discuss any observations with the doctor or health care provider if anything needs to be changed. Wash hands thoroughly with warm water before each test. Start with your glucometer turned off. Insert code card into the meter. Next, insert the strip sensor.

Place the lancet lightly against the finger on the side of the pad were there are fewer nerve endings. Then push the lancet in to obtain blood sample. Apply blood to the sensor reaction zone area of the test strip. Wait for the beep after 30 seconds. Record the result that appears on the display monitor. Dispose the test strip. Testing glucose levels may range from once a day up to six times day. Routine blood sugar testing enables patients to uncover illness or other problems in time that can affect glucose levels and inform his doctor or health-care provider immediately so as to delay or prevent the onset of possible diabetic complications. In conclusion, glucometer testing at home enables the diabetic be more active in managing their condition and put them in better control.

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