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How To Reduce The Pain Of Blood Sugar Checks
Nobody gets excited about pricking their fingertip. In fact, studies have shown that its one of the main reasons people refrain from regularly checking their blood glucose.6,7 So how can you make this less of a hurdle in your self-care?
Select a less-painful lancing device
Naturally, one factor that can contribute to the pain is your lancing device. Thats why weve worked hard to ensure that Accu-Chek lancing devices keep discomfort to a minimum. For example, our lancing devices feature:
- Technology that minimizes side-to-side motion, so theres less skin tearing
- 11 customizable depth settings to help match your skin type
- Precisely manufactured, beveled, thin-gauge lancets to ensure smoother entry
You can reduce pain by using a fresh lancet for every test. Todays lancets are so tiny that just a single use can bend or dull the tips. This can make them hurt more as you reuse them.
5 tips for reducing fingertip pain
You can make testing more comfortable and help ensure that you get a good sample on the first try by following these 5 easy steps.
How Can I Treat High Blood Sugar
Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Your doctor may suggest the following:
- Be more active. Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track. Important: dont exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can make your blood sugar go even higher.
- Take medicine as instructed. If your blood sugar is often high, your doctor may change how much medicine you take or when you take it.
- Follow your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help if youre having trouble sticking to it.
- Check your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. Check more often if youre sick or if youre concerned about high or low blood sugar.
- Talk to your doctor about adjusting how much insulin you take and what types of insulin to use.
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What Time Of Day Should I Test
Recommendations for the best time of day to test your blood sugar depend on your medicine, mealtimes, and blood sugar control. Your doctor may provide a chart that outlines when to check your blood sugar and what level you should target. Your doctor may also suggest different goals, depending on your situation.
The chart may look something like this:
|Time to Test|
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms.
When too many ketones are produced too fast, they can build up in your body and cause diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA is very serious and can cause a coma or even death. Common symptoms of DKA include:
- Fast, deep breathing.
- Nausea and vomiting.
If you think you may have DKA, test your urine for ketones. Follow the test kit directions, checking the color of the test strip against the color chart in the kit to see your ketone level. If your ketones are high, . DKA requires treatment in a hospital.
DKA happens most in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign of type 1 in people who havent yet been diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but its less common.
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Avoid Habits That Can Raise Your Hba1c
There are other steps to consider when pursuing a healthy lifestyle as well. Two lifestyle factors that could affect your HbA1c are smoking and stress. Stress has plenty of detrimental effects on the body. But can stress raise blood sugar? Stress can cause the blood sugar to rise, so actively pursuing ways to reduce stress triggers in your environment could be beneficial in lowering your HbA1c.
Kicking unhealthy habits can be more helpful than you think. In a recent study, smokers were found to be twice as likely to have elevated, prediabetic HbA1c levels than non-smokers.
Results Reporting Critical Findings
Blood glucose is measured in mmol/L or mg/dL
Normal range: 4 to 6 mmol or about 72 to 108 mg/dL.
Lab-based Blood Glucose Testing
Lab-based testing is required for the appropriate diagnosis of diabetes.
Impaired fasting glucose range: 5.6 to 6.9 mmol per L, or 100 to 125 mg/dL
Impaired glucose tolerance range at two hours post 75gram oral glucose ingestion: 7.8 to 11.0 mmol, or 140 to 199 mg/dL.
Further testing may involve an oral glucose tolerance test to confirm the diagnosis. Advice the client to eat and drink over 150 grams per day of carbohydrate foods for three days. The client will need to fast overnight for at least 8 to 16 hours before the test. A fasting blood sample is collected, and a sweet drink containing 75 grams of glucose is given to the client after the fasting blood sample collection. A further blood sample is collected at two hours following the consumption of the glucose drink.
Oral glucose tolerance test: Glucose tolerance range at two hours post 75-gram oral glucose ingestion: 11.1 mmol, or 200 mg/dL.
Random venous blood glucose of at or above 11.1mmol/L , or fasting blood glucose at or above 7 mmol/L on two or more separate occasions indicates the client is likely to have diabetes.
Normal HBA1c: 3.5 to 6 per cent .
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All About Continuous Glucose Monitors For People With Diabetes
Diabetes is a serious and growing problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, approximately 30.3 million Americans have diabetes, or about one in 10 people. Thats up from about 26 million people in 2010.
Diabetes is a broad term for a group of conditions in which the bodys blood glucose levels to rise higher than normal, known as hyperglycemia. In many cases, it can be effectively managed through diet, exercise, medication, and blood glucose monitoring. As a supplement to the traditional finger-prick technology that people with diabetes have relied upon for many years to check their blood glucose levels, continuous glucose monitors offer a more convenient and less painful way for people to track their blood sugar and make positive lifestyle choices.
What Are CGMs?
In 1991, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved the first continuous glucose monitoring system for home use by adults with diabetes. This technology offers an alternative to taking blood from the fingertips, where the sample is taken from tiny blood vessels called capillaries. According to Alison Wharton, MPH, RDN, CDE, LD, a diabetes and nutrition education specialist with UAB Medicine, CGMs track blood sugar levels 24 hours per day by measuring the amount of glucose in interstitial fluid, which is the fluid that surrounds blood vessels.
How CGMs Work
Stores 90 days of glucose data to provide a complete glucose picture over 3 months
What To Do For A Low Blood Sugar Reading
You have low blood sugar when you get a reading below 70 mg/dl. Without treatment, this can damage the nervous system and cause seizures. If your blood sugar drops to this level and you are an adult, you need to consume about 15 grams of carbohydrates to raise it to 70 mg/dl or higher.
Wait 15 minutes and check your blood sugar. If it is still lower than 70 mg/dl, consume an additional 15 g of carbs. Repeat these steps until your reading is 70 mg/dl or more. Eat a snack until your next meal.
If you often have low blood sugar levels, check your blood sugar level before driving and address it if it is low.
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How Do I Measure My Blood Sugar Level
Follow your doctors advice and the instructions that come with the BGM or CGM. Different meters work differently, so be sure to check with your doctor for advice specifically for you. With a BGM, youll usually follow the steps below:
- Wash your hands and dry them well before doing the test.
- Use an alcohol pad to clean the area that youre going to prick. For most glucose meters, you will prick your fingertip. However, with some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh, or the fleshy part of your hand. Ask your doctor what area you should use with your meter.
- Prick yourself with a sterile lancet to get a drop of blood.
- Place the drop of blood on the test strip.
- Follow the instructions for inserting the test strip into your glucose meter.
- The meter will give you a number for your blood sugar level.
If you have a CGM, youll follow the insertion directions that come with the monitor. Once its warmed up, the transmitter wirelessly sends the data to your computer or smartphone.
Other Tips For Checking:
- With some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh, or fleshy part of your hand.
- There are spring-loaded lancing devices that make sticking yourself less painful.
- If you use your fingertip, stick the side of your fingertip by your fingernail to avoid having sore spots on the frequently used part of your finger.
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What Food To Eat To Lower Blood Sugar Counts
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How To Check Blood Sugar Without A Meter
Diabetes is a chronic condition where the body either doesnt make enough insulin or doesnt use insulin properly or both. This can lead to a higher than normal blood sugar level.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to complications, such as:
For these reasons, its important to monitor your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
Prior to using meters, people with diabetes would monitor their blood sugar by testing their urine. This method, however, wasnt as accurate, nor did it provide real-time results.
If you self-test your blood sugar several times a day using a glucometer, or meter, it requires that you prick your finger to draw blood to test. Due to the discomfort of this method, you might look for a way to monitor your level without this tool.
If finger pricks are very bothersome for you, dont worry theres hope. Advances in blood sugar monitoring technology could mean no more finger pricks in the future.
If you have diabetes, there are several portable devices you can use to check your blood sugar level and not all of them require a finger prick.
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Whats A Continuous Glucose Monitor
A continuous glucose monitor is a wearable device that measures glucose every few minutes, all day and night. A CGM uses a thread-like sensor thats put under the skin and secured in place. Sensors can stay in place for 1014 days before you replace them.
Instead of measuring glucose in the blood directly, a CGM measures the amount of glucose just beneath the skin in fluid surrounding the cells, called the interstitial fluid. Heres how it works: As we digest carbohydrates, glucose enters the bloodstream. Then, it moves into the interstitial fluid on its way to all the cells in the body. It takes a little time for the glucose to move from the bloodstream into the interstitial fluid, so a glucose measurement taken with a CGM will be 510 minutes behind a blood glucose measurement. The benefit of a CGM is that because it measures glucose so often, it gives a more complete picture of how a persons glucose level changes throughout the day.
People with diabetes often choose a CGM because:
Recommended Blood Sugar Targets
Blood glucose numbers are measured in milligrams per deciliter .
The American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists have different recommendations for blood glucose targets for most people with type 2 diabetes:
|2 hours after eating a meal||< 180 mg/dL for nonpregnant adults||< 140 mg/dL|
Talk to your doctor to learn more about your blood glucose targets. Your doctor can help you determine which guidelines to target. Or they can work with you to set your own glucose targets.
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Choosing A Blood Glucose Monitor
A blood glucose monitor, testing strips, and a lancet to draw the blood are all necessary for testing. Some testing kits offer all three, while others require separate purchases for each piece.
People with diabetes use many testing strips, and so it may be wise to carefully consider the cost of the testing strips as well as the monitor.
Some other tips for buying a monitor include:
- Select one with automatic coding to avoid the need to code in results with every test.
- Check insurance plans to see if an insurer only covers certain monitors.
- Look at whether the unit stores previous data.
- Consider portability, since larger units can be difficult to carry around.
- Think about blood sample size, particularly for people who do not like pricking themselves.
Monitors that require a smaller blood sample may be more comfortable as the depth of the lancet can be less.
Many people with diabetes have no signs of the disease at all. However, the lack of symptoms does not necessarily mean the absence of diabetes.
When symptoms occur, many of the effects of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the same since both affect blood sugar regulation in the body. Symptoms include:
- increased hunger and thirst
About The Microlet Next Lancing Device
Your lancing device holds the lancet youll use to prick your finger. It has 6 main parts .
Figure 1. Microlet Next lancing device
- The endcap covers the lancet until youre ready to use it.
- The endcap dial controls how deeply the lancet will prick your finger.
- The white band connects the endcap to the rest of the lancing device. The endcap is locked onto the lancing device when the black drop is in line with the release button.
- The release button makes the tip of the lancet spring out to prick your finger.
- The reset handle resets the lancet if you need to prick your finger again.
- The lancet ejector pushes the lancet out of the lancing device once youre done using it.
Your Microlet Next lancing device works with Microlet lancets. Microlet Next lancets come in different colors, but theres no difference between them.
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Instructions For Checking Your Blood Sugar
Your healthcare provider will tell you how often to check your blood sugar. Theyll also tell you what your blood sugar level should be. This is called your blood sugar target range. Your blood sugar target range is based on your overall health and current treatment plan.
When youre ready to start, wash your hands with soap and water. Dry them very well. Touching a blood glucose test strip with damp hands can damage it or make your result less accurate.