For those having diabetes, the first step to keeping the disease in check is to always ensure that they are never in the dark about their blood sugar levels. Regular monitoring of blood sugar can provide valuable insights if there is ever any need to adjust treatment strategy and to steer clear of the long-term health complications.
It is not always a given that all with diabetes need to monitor blood glucose at home. Let your doctor be the best judge of this. But certain special conditions may warrant the necessity of having a glucometer at home. Like If you are taking medications like insulin or certain non-insulin diabetes medications that can cause blood sugar to fluctuate drastically, if pregnant, if there is a frequent probability of going through hypoglycemic episodes or if it is always a struggle to reach blood sugar level goals.
Testing blood sugar levels at home with a glucose meter can help to effectively monitor the effect of diabetes medications on blood sugar levels, can help to identify blood sugar levels that are high or low, to track your progress in reaching overall treatment goals, to understand how diet and exercise affect blood sugar levels and also to have a better idea of the effect of factors like illness or stress on the blood sugar levels.
Having a blood sugar testing device at home is the best way you can manage your diabetes by adjusting dosages or medications accordingly. When there is a blood sugar spike at certain times of the day after a heavy meal or so, it can alert you to take your insulin. When there is a hypoglycemia episode after taking too much insulin it can tell you to reduce your insulin dose.
The doctor can advise you on the best times to check blood sugar and also on the frequency of testing that is ideal to your treatment plan. Everyone will have different blood sugar target ranges so your doctor can guide you on the numbers that you need to aim for. The range depends on many factors like your health and age, the medications you take, and how far your diabetes has progressed.
For first time glucometer users, the process can be overwhelming with so many questions as to what device to choose, what the numbers mean and how to best interpret results. There are numerous resources available online and you can even get all the support you need from your doctor or even diabetic support groups. Choose your device wisely as it is going to be your close partner in this diabetic journey. It is not a wise idea to blindly go with the most expensive, feature-rich devices.
The two main categories of home blood sugar testing devices are the Self-monitoring blood glucose devices and the Continuous glucose monitoring devices. Self- monitoring devices allows you to test your blood sugar multiple times a day, each time pricking your finger and testing a drop of blood with a test strip. Whereas the Continuous monitoring devices measure your blood sugar at regular intervals throughout the day.
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