Importance of Home Blood Sugar Monitoring
Checking your glucose level helps you determine how much food, stress, medicine, activity level and insulin has affected your body. Knowing your sugar levels and keeping them within normal ranges will help you prevent diabetic complications and stay healthy.
Blood glucose is converted into energy with the help of insulin. The beta cell from the pancreas normally produces insulin, but there are cases when the pancreas cannot produce insulin, like with type I diabetes, or produces inadequate insulin as in type 2 diabetes. When this happens, the glucose from the food we eat will not be turned into energy and the glucose builds up in the bloodstream causing high blood sugar levels. Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, can cause many health problems like kidney and liver problems, blindness, diabetic coma and even death.
If you suffer from diabetes mellitus, it is imperative that you practice home blood sugar monitoring or self-testing to keep track of your blood glucose levels and avoid further health complications. Due to the frequency of the need to check the blood sugar levels, diabetics must learn how to monitor their own blood sugar. Since blood sugar levels are normally tested several times per day, going to the doctor for every test is neither convenient nor affordable. It is more practical to get a blood glucose monitor and have your very own laboratory at your convenience.
How to Monitor Blood Sugar at Home
Glucose testing monitors are handheld devices that require a very small drop of blood and displays blood sugar level results in just minutes. There are many brands of monitoring devices on the market, and you should choose the one that best suits your needs. For people on the go, choose the compact meters, which are really small and very convenient. For people who want more features from their meters, choose the conventional meters, which includes more memory, database and sometimes back-light.
Blood is usually drawn from the fingers, but can be drawn from other parts of the body, such as the toes and the forearm, depending on the particular glucose meter’s allowed sites. Make sure that your hands or the site area is clean before you prick for blood. Place blood on the meter’s strip, usually the same brand as your meter, and slide into the blood sugar monitor. After a few minutes, the results are displayed on the device. Each strip may be used one time only.
While checking for your blood glucose level regularly, you must also keep in mind that you must always watch what you eat. Most diabetic complications are a result of an improper diet and lack of exercise. Eat foods that are low in sugar and carbohydrates. Also, read up on diabetes mellitus as much as you can. It pays to know your illness and to learn more about what you can do to fight this condition.
Keep a daily diary of your blood sugar level results and your food, medicine and insulin intake. Also, take note of the time of your meal and test; if possible, mark days where you experience higher than normal stress. Discuss with your doctor your diabetic plan and your insulin dosage using the data in your diary.
Keep your supplies well stocked – always have your monitor and diabetic strips at hand. Always ask your doctor to show you how the home blood sugar monitoring or self-testing is done; ask for a return demonstration. This way, you can be assured that you are doing it the right way. Also, ask your doctor what you should be in case you get a low or high result in the future.
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