Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

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    A blood glucose meter is a handheld instrument that tests the level of glucose in the blood. A drop of blood (obtained by pricking a finger or other site) is placed on a small strip that is read by the meter. The meter calculates and displays the blood glucose level.

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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    Most people only use glucose test strips under a doctor's orders and advice, and your doctor should generally be informed about all conditions, medications, and self-monitoring devices you use to control your diabetes. Your doctor can tell you if any of the medications that you are using can interfere with the glucose test strips you use. Also, if and when you are hospitalized for your diabetes or any other reason, tell the medical professional which glucose test strips you are using so that any potential interference with new medications can be prevented.
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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    There are several things you can do to prepare your skin when using a glucose monitor kit. Before starting, make sure that you have all the supplies needed to check your blood sugar level. You will need your meter, glucose test strips, lancets and a lancing device. You may also want your log book to track your levels. To get ready, clean your skin with alcohol or wash it with soap and water. Make sure your skin is dry before pricking yourself with the lancet.

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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    Diabetic meters are generally safe to use. But pricking your skin to get a blood sample may be painful.
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    A , Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    Once you poke a hole in your finger, a very gentle squeeze should bring the blood to the surface. If you have to milk your finger like a cow you need a deeper or larger diameter hole. Lots of pumping of the finger mixes interstitial fluid (water between cells) into the blood sample and will throw off your results.

    If it hurts to lance your finger, you probably have your device set too deeply or you put the clear cap on the lance. Yeah, that’s for testing on your forearm. Throw the clear cap away and put the solid one on. For what it is worth, there are some folks out there who really do have hypersensitive fingers. For you folks there are two pretty expensive solutions: a computerized lancing device that lets you micro-control hundreds of different depths; and a laser that burns a painless hole in your skin.
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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    You should check your insurance plan before buying a blood glucose meter to make sure it's covered. Some insurance companies only cover certain meters, so you may not get reimbursed if you buy a different one. Call your insurance company first and ask about the types of meters that they will cover. Once you know what's covered, shop around for the best meter that's covered, at the best price.
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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    When using a diabetic meter, make sure your blood sample is not contaminated with sugar residues so that you get an accurate reading. To avoid contamination, simply clean the testing site -- usually a fingertip -- before pricking your skin.
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    Follow your glucose meter manufacturer’s instructions for calibrating, setting date and time, and using control solutions. Check to make sure your strips are not outdated, and store them within the proper temperature limits. Strips can be ruined if they are kept outside the range of acceptable temperatures. If you have problems, there is a toll-free number on the back of the meter that you can call for help. Read the instructions for possible test sites.

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    A , Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    It is very important to set the date and time for your blood sugar meter. Make sure the date is right and the hour, if not right, is close. The meter has a memory because the meter companies know you don’t bother to keep an actual paper logbook of your blood sugar readings. If the time is set wrong, your computerized logbook in the meter will be wrong, and all the data will be worthless.
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    If you have tried to stuff your meter, pen or syringes and insulin, and other supplies into a purse or briefcase, you’ll know how handy a special bag can be. Carrying cases can help organize all your supplies and keep them in one convenient place. They can also insulate your insulin from hot or cold temperatures.