Your Blood Sugar
have diabetes, you already know that maintaining close-to-normal blood sugar
levels is a constant balancing of diet, exercise and insulin. You also know
that even with a well-regulated routine, all kinds of factors, like stress or
illness or even alcohol or drugs, can throw off that balance, with unpleasant
and sometimes dangerous consequences.
thanks to new technology, there are practical, commercially available systems
for monitoring your own blood sugar--at home or anyplace you go. These systems
allow you to know, with great accuracy, what your blood sugar level is so you
can adjust your food and insulin accordingly.
means far greater freedom to participate in any activities you choose and,
therefore, far greater control over your life. Even more important, it has been
determined that close control of your blood sugar can reduce and even reverse
some of the long-term complications of diabetes.
the minor inconvenience of self monitoring to the following important
Advantages of Monitoring Your Blood Sugar
Feel Good The closer to normal you keep your blood sugar,
the better you feel.
Prevent Diabetic Emergencies As a person with diabetes,
you have no doubt experienced the unpleasant effects of both hyperglycemia and
hypoglycemia. Keeping close watch on your blood sugar through self-monitoring
can reduce the incidence of these problems.
Prevent Infection High blood sugar levels increase your
change of getting an infection and decrease your ability to fight it.
Possibly Reduce Complications Medical research is showing
that people who have elevated glucose levels over a period of many years may
develop certain basic biochemical changes in the blood vessels and tissues of
the body. These changes make blood vessels thick, stiff and more likely to
rupture, contributing to the possibility of eye, nerve and kidney diseases.
Controlling blood glucose levels may prevent these complications.
Easier and Faster Than Ever The new systems are easier,
faster and more accurate way of knowing your blood sugar level without a doctor
or laboratory. If you're not sure whether you're having an insulin reaction,
you can find out right away and take appropriate action.
1. Prick the fingertip for a drop of blood. (There are special
devices now that simplify this procedure with minimal discomfort.)
blood onto a chemically sensitive strip.
glucose level on a standard meter or digital display.
- Urine tests don't show
what the glucose level is at the moment--the glucose level reading is several
hours old by the time you measure it. What's more, the lag time before the
blood sugar spills into the uring is unpredictable--it can vary between twenty
minutes and two hours. So the urine test could show negative results when blood
glucose is actually reaching dangerously high levels.
- Urine tests don't tell
you WHEN the blood sugar was high or HOW high it was. It only shows you that
blood sugar was sufficiently high at some point to cause sugar to spill into
- Urine tests tell
nothing about low blood sugar. Only blood tests will show both low and high
blood sugar readings.
- Urine tests are good
for detecting the presence of ketones, poisonous acids released when the body's
fats are broken down.
Should Use Self Blood Glucose Monitoring
person with Type I or Type II Diabetes
people with diabetes should check blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Women Who Have Diabetes
stable, near-normal levels of blood glucose concentration in pregnancy improves
the chances of delivering a healthy baby. Pregnant women who have diabetes
during pregnancy have strong motivation and good reason to monitor their own
blood sugar levels.
Patients with Kidney Disease
presence of kidney (renal) disease makes urine testing very unreliable.
of Infants with Diabetes
with diabetes may cry and be cranky with the onset of an insulin reaction.
Blood glucose monitoring at home can determine whether or not this is the case
and indicate when action needs to be taken.
adolescence, the body's hormonal systems undergo radical upheaval.
Self-monitoring can help adolescents keep track of their own condition and
offers them greater independence.
People with Diabetes
effects of advancing years can produce tiredness and weakness in anyone, but
too often older people attribute these feelings to age when they are actually
the beginnings of a low blood sugar reaction. Self monitoring eliminates the
with Frequent Episodes of hypoglycemia
people require the special awareness of glucose levels which only
self-monitoring can provide.
Insurance companies will often help underwrite some of the cost
of the meter and strips. Since policies vary from company to company, you
should check with your insurer before making your purchase. Medicaid and
Medicare policies differ from state to state--call your local of flee to
Self-monitoring calls for a personal commitment of both time
and money, but the advantages greatly outweight the disadvantages. In this
booklet, we have pointed out the importance of monitoring your own blood
glucose to possibly reduce the long-term complications of diabetes and increase
your overall health and well-being.
want to better understand and control your diabetes, consult your doctor or
nurse-educator to develop a program best suited to your particular needs.