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 , 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
    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
    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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    Alternative blood glucose monitoring, such as the upper arm, thigh, calf, and palm, is available with some blood glucose meters. Make sure to check your meter for the availability of this feature before using alternate sites. Alternate sites will give you more options, but these sites may not be as consistently accurate as your fingertips. For example, readings from alternate sites may vary after eating, taking insulin, or during low blood glucose periods. 

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    A , Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    All meter systems have three separate components. First is the meter itself. Usually smaller than a cell phone, it is the brains of the system.

    The next component of the system is test strips. They are thin flexible plastic matchsticks between half an inch and an inch long; usually an eighth inch or so wide. They are actually quite a bit more complex than they appear; sandwiched between the plastic top and bottom is quite a bit of science. The strips are designed to wick in a small blood sample for analysis by the meter. They are disposable one-shot wonders.

    The third part of the meter trilogy is the lancing device. Often vaguely pen-shaped, this is a spring-loaded plastic mechanism whose job it is to poke a small hole in your skin with minimum pain.
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    Experts testing meters in the lab setting found them accurate and precise. That's the good news. The bad: meter mistakes most often come from the person doing the blood checks. For good results you need to do each step correctly. Here are some other things that can cause your meter to give a poor reading:
    • Dirty meter
    • Meter or strip that's not at room temperature
    • Outdated test strip
    • Meter not calibrated (set up for) the current box of test strips
    • Blood drop that is too small
    Ask your health care team to check your skills at least once a year. Error can creep in over time.
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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.
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    You can get free glucose meters from many places including doctors offices, hospitals and health fairs. However, the meter companies don't make their money on the glucose meters, they make it on the strips. So, check first to see which meter company your insurance covers. You can call the number on your insurance card or your pharmacist might be able to assist you. 
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    A , Pharmacy, answered

    If you have diabetes, your doctor or clinician will show you how to check your blood sugar -- or glucose -- levels with a glucose monitor. To use this device, you poke your finger with a lancet and lancing device, and squeeze a drop of blood onto a glucose test strip. Depending on different brands or models, some require more blood samples than others. The blood glucose test strips will then be inserted into the blood glucose meter. There are chemicals on the strip that react with your blood sample that will estimate the amount of sugar in your blood.

    Generally, the manufacturer of glucose meters specifically designed their blood glucose test strips for their meters. You may also need to check to see if your meter is 'coded" to match a particular batch of diabetes test strips. In this case you would have to enter a code number into the meter or by inserting a code chip. Some diabetes test strips have the coding built in. Each time you open a new vial of test strips, you would have to "code' your meter. Remember to store your strips in their original container away from heat, humidity because temperature and exposure to air can all affect strips.

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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    Avoid using your glucose monitor kit to test on an area of your skin that is not clean. Any food or juice on the test area of skin will affect your results. Always thoroughly wash your hands and the test site before each test. You should also avoid reusing lancets. You put yourself at risk of an infection if you use the same lancet more than once. Be sure to properly dispose of your lancets so no one else comes into contact with them.

    Some substances may interact with your glucose testing, but do not need to be avoided. Both vitamin C and uric acid can cause your blood sugar readings to be incorrect.