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Diabetes is a lifelong condition. Because it is, you can have major health problems if you don't keep blood glucose under control. That's why fully understanding how to buy and properly use diabetes testing supplies as well as diabetes medications is so important.
Learning to regularly test your blood glucose level with a glucose monitor and to take diabetes medications when you are supposed to will make living with the condition much easier. With a little practice, you can self-manage diabetes just as you manage other aspects of your life. When you do, your quality of life and ability to be active and do the things you want to do will greatly improve.
Home blood sugar (glucose) testing is an essential part of controlling your blood sugar and self-managing diabetes. Your diabetes educator can guide you in terms of how often to check your blood glucose and how to do it properly. Make sure the diabetes educator watches you use the glucose meter several times. That way, you can be sure you're doing it correctly. At a minimum, you'll be checking your blood sugar every morning before you eat. It's also advisable to check it before lunch and dinner and at bedtime. Your doctor may also ask that you test your blood one hour after eating.
Blood glucose levels checked with blood taken from the fingertips will show important changes faster than glucose levels checked with blood taken from other sites on the body. The usual way to check blood sugar levels is by:
Checking blood glucose frequently allows you to avoid the dangerous consequences of extremely high spikes or dangerously low drops in blood sugar. Managing these spikes and drops quickly -- when treatment is most effective -- can save your life.
Portable glucose meters are small devices operated by batteries. There are many blood glucose-monitoring systems available. Each brand and type has advantages and disadvantages. In addition, glucose meters range substantially in price, depending on the particular features you want. Some of the features to consider are convenience, quick response, and accuracy.
Keep in mind that some glucose meters require more blood than others. This is a big concern for very young children or for elderly people with diabetes. Some meters have a larger digital readout -- an important consideration for older individuals or people with poor vision. And there are glucose meters that give results much faster than others, which can make them more convenient. Other differences may include portability, size, and cost.
Today, blood glucose meters can usually provide results in 15 seconds or less and can store this valuable information for you and your doctor. These meters can also calculate an average blood glucose level over a period of time. Some glucose meters also feature software kits that retrieve information from the meter and display graphs and charts of your past test results on a computer or cell phone.
These results from the meter can be saved and shown to your doctor at each office visit. Your doctor and diabetes educator can then more easily guide you in learning how to respond to blood glucose changes with insulin and diet.
You can purchase blood glucose meters, test strips, lancets, and other diabetes supplies at your local pharmacy or at online pharmacies. But it's important to shop for bargains, just like you would for any other purchase. By looking for sales on diabetes products, you can find the best prices and save money. As an example, generic diabetes drugs can cut the cost of diabetes care. That's because retail prices for generics are generally lower than you'd pay for the name-brand products.
A glucose meter can vary in price depending on the features and brand you select. But you should be able to buy one for $40 to $60. Diabetes test strips can cost around $100 a month. Test strips are pricey, but you must have them to avoid problems. Checking only once or twice a day can save money on test strips. But first discuss less frequent sugar checks with your doctor or diabetes educator.
As you select a blood glucose meter, test strips, and other insulin supplies such as insulin syringes, keep in mind that there is no cure for diabetes at this time. You will need to have diabetes supplies every day, whether you are in town, away for the weekend, or traveling globally. You will have to make management of diabetes part of your daily lifestyle to stay well and avoid life-threatening diabetes complications.
To avoid a painful, cold injection, many diabetes educators suggest keeping insulin at room temperature while it's being used. Insulin should last about one month at room temperature. Many people prefer to keep the diabetes supplies in a kitchen or bedroom drawer. That way, the glucose monitor, syringes, insulin, lancets, alcohol swabs, and other necessary supplies are always together and available for use.
There are many new tools that can help people with diabetes manage this disease just as they manage other facets of their lives. For instance, increasingly sophisticated software programs are available that allow you to track and analyze trends in blood sugar levels over a period of time. These programs allow you to download and store data from a blood glucose meter directly onto a computer or cell phone and then view charts that show what percentage of time your glucose levels were within normal ranges. You will also be able to see what percentage of time they were above or below normal. These programs do more than just help you understand when glucose levels change and when they stay stable. They also let your doctor review the same data in order to make recommendations that help you stay well.
Another way you can help manage diabetes is by using a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS). A CGMS is an FDA-approved device that records blood sugar levels throughout the day and night. This technology allows you to use the results of glucose monitoring to make informed decisions about nutrition, activity level, and medication.
Other tools include smaller, disposable glucose monitors that can be worn directly on the skin and concealed under clothing. And there are combination tools that let you monitor blood glucose and administer insulin therapy with one piece of equipment.
An insulin pump can help you keep blood sugar at a more steady level and may make diabetes management easier. Insulin pumps are quite expensive -- usually more than $6,000. And you must also purchase monthly supplies to use with the pumps. Because diabetes is a life-long illness, investing in an insulin pump may be wise for some patients with diabetes but extremely costly for others. Many insurers cover the cost of insulin pumps, but you have to adhere to some strict guidelines to get reimbursed.
This article explores the different blood sugar monitors that do not require finger pricking and some products available for purchase. It also describes some factors that may help people choose the right device.
Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) check blood sugar levels automatically at timed intervals. People do not need to prick their fingers to test their blood sugar levels, but finger pricks may be useful to calibrate the device.
Some monitors can check blood glucose levels through the ear lobes. However, according to 2019 research, earlobe scanning is not as effective for people with type 1 diabetes, especially during periods of exercise or very low blood sugar.
Integrity Applications, a company that focuses on needle-free blood glucose monitoring, manufactures GlucoTrack. This battery-operated noninvasive device helps people with type 2 diabetes monitor their blood glucose levels through their ear lobes.
A person should be cautious when shopping for a blood glucose monitor. A 2012 study notes that breath monitors may claim they can manage diabetes. The authors also affirm that if these devices undergo further development, they may benefit individuals, especially children with diabetes and cystic fibrosis, as they are easy and safe to use.
Breath tests currently do not have approval for managing blood sugar levels. A person should speak with a doctor before purchasing a breath test, particularly if they want to monitor their levels closely.
Earlobe, breath, and other noninvasive devices may be beneficial for monitoring blood glucose levels, especially in children with the same condition and those who have cystic fibrosis. However, they are not FDA-approved, and some may need further testing to determine their safety and accuracy.
The Dexcom G6 CGM System provides automatic updates to a connected smart device or app. People with Medicare may need to purchase the connected device monitor, but they can also use their phone or tablet. The app notifies the user if their glucose levels are low or high.
Various brands, including Dexcom, offer watches to monitor blood sugar. These watches do not exclusively measure blood sugar. Rather, they allow users to view their blood sugar levels from their CGM device.
The finger is the most reliable area for a person to test their blood sugar. However, some monitors may allow for alternate site testing. These alternate sites may include the palm, upper forearm, abdomen, calf, and thigh.
Most of the 30 million Americans with diabetes use standard glucose meters, which require multiple finger pricks each day and only show current sugar level. More-accurate continuous glucose monitoring devices are used by about 345,000 Americans.
A blood glucose meter is a way to check your blood sugar and you should already have one if you treat your diabetes with insulin. Your standard meter will have a lancet to prick your finger, a digital display and a place to insert a test strip. 041b061a72