Because control of your diabetes depends mostly on a balance of diet, exercise, insulin, and emotions, daily self-monitoring of the control of your disease may be recommended by your physician.
Through careful monitoring, you and your physician can determine any need for adjustments in these keys to your good health. The benefits of self-monitoring vary among individuals and your physician will explain how the merits of various tests relate to you and your condition.
If you have insulin-dependent diabetes, your doctor will probably ask you to test glucose levels several times throughout each day. The goal will be to obtain consistently normal results.
If you detect a change, you will be asked to watch to see if any pattern is developing. Depending on the situation, your doctor may recommend that you vary your insulin dosage, after your diet or exercise program, or make an office visit.
Self testing is particularly valuable for patients with “ brittle “ or unstable diabetes who have wide swings in blood sugar levels. It is also helpful for those who have complications of diabetes , such as kidney or eye problems.
If your before meal readings are consistently normal , your doctor may have begin you with the readings after your meal , a time when glucose levels are more likely to be high. If these readings are consistently normal , you may be then advised to test less frequently.
Home glucose monitoring can be useful for patients who cannot always tell whether or not they are experiencing hypoglycemia. Some patients may often misjudge their situations and take simple carbohydrates in an attempt to raise a blood sugar level that is actually already normal.
As a response to this, their blood sugar continues to rise, they would discover that they were not hypoglycemia and could avoid using unnecessarily high blood sugar and poor control.
During pregnancy self testing is particularly important because diabetic control can greatly reduce the number of fetal abnormalities and stillbirths among infants of diabetic mothers.
In patients treated only by diet or by diet and oral medication, home monitoring may be less necessary because blood glucose level fluctuate less.
Self Testing a Blood Sample – DIABETES
Your physician self care team will acquaint you with the various products available with which you can test your blood for glucose level. They will explain techniques that will be easy to follow. And they will make specific recommendations so that your testing routine will fit into your daily routin.
Your self-testing procedure will involve pricking your finger to draw a drop of blood. Convenient pricking devices are available for this purpose. You will then transfer the drop of blood to a tiny strip with a chemically coated pad at one end, wait one minute, and watch the pad change color according to the amount of glucose present in your blood.
With some strips, you can compare the color with the colors on a chart and estimate your blood sugar by matching colors visually. With other strips end of the strip is inserted into a metering device, which displays a digital readout of your blood sugar level. Metering devices are small enough to tuck into a purse or a briefcase.
Physician say there is little difference in accuracy between the two method. However, people who have visual impairments often have more success using the digital readout device than with the visual comparison method .
Metering devices are more expensive. However, ranging in price to several hundred dollars. Still, the largest part of the expense in the long-range is in the cost of the test strips. They range in the cost of which they are purchased. Comparative price shopping is recommended.
Your physician and health care team will advise you on ways to purchase your testing strips in quantity and may advise slicing strips length wise and thus obtaining two for the price of one, if accuracy can be maintained that way. Some of the strips retain their color in their container and can be labeled and checked for accurate reading with your health care team.
Self Testing a Urine Sample – DIABETES
Several urine tests are available for monitoring glucose level with a urine specimen. Your health care team will select the one most appropriate for you and will advise you on how many times a day to test your urine.
For example, if you are insulin-dependent, you will probably be asked to test before each meal and at bedtime. If acceptable blood tests are done, urine tests may not be necessary.
Your health care team will explain several factors that you should understand concerning the validity of self monitored urine tests. One is your rental threshold, the blood sugar level at which your kidneys spill excess glucose from your bloodstream into your urine.
Rental thresholds vary among individuals . They usually are higher in older adults. The normal renal threshold for most middle aged people is 160 – 180 mg of sugar per deciliter of blood.
Thus a person whose renal threshold is higher than 200 mg may not find urine testing helpful because it does not dependably reflect the blood sugar, and the person may not be aware of poor control. Some patients may have low thresholds, as during pregnancy. Then the blood sugar test is recommended.
Some people “ first – voided “ specimens . Other test “ second voided “ specimens.
Your health care team will explain that the first voided sample indicates the diabetic control over a period of several hours with the urine collected in the bladder; the second voided sample indicates the level of control at the moment. The kind of sample you test can make a difference in what you do about the results.
Some urine tests for use at home or while travelling involve placing a few drops or urine in test tube and adding water and a tablet containing a special preparation designed to react to the glucose component of the urine. After 15 seconds you compare the color of the test tube liquid with those on a color chart.
Other urine tests involve dipping a small strip or stick into urine, waiting 15 seconds for a reaction to take place , and comparing color changes.
Blood Testing Versus Urine Testing
How can you determine whether to use blood or urine tests for your self monitoring at home? Your physician will advise you of the merits of both methods and techniques.
Generally, however, most physicians believe that blood tests provide a more accurate picture of blood glucose levels than urine tests. This is because urine is retained in the bladder for hours before it is tested, while your blood is constantly circulating and reacting to your body chemistry. A blood test will give you a more immediate reading of your glucose level.
Blood sugar tests can enable you to make careful adjustments to maintain blood sugar level at a level as close as possible to normal.
This is particularly important if you are pregnant; if you have frequently occurring insulin reactions, kidney disease, or a high renal threshold; during illness. Also, blood testing is recommended for infants who are not toilet trained.
When your health care team provides you with instructions regarding self monitoring, they will also give you some helpful hints for becoming more efficient, about the testing procedures as well as saving money.
For example, they will advise you on where to purchase your equipment and what quantity to buy. Health professionals learn this kind of consumer information from other diabetics and will be happy to share it with you.
Diabetics have found it helpful, for instance, always to check the expiration dates on equipment. Also , directions for timing various tests differ.
You should remember to check and follow the timing directions carefully because timing is essential to getting accurate results. And, when recording your test results, remember that percentages, pluses, and minutes may not read the same with the all tests.
As you begin your self-monitoring procedures your health care team will be available to answer your questions. Your questions are probably like those of most other diabetics, and few helpful answers at the right time will be essential to put you on the right track.