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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    You may be surprised when you go to buy replacement strips for your blood glucose meter. The meter that seemed like a bargain at the time of purchase may turn into a major expense when it comes time to pay for strips, especially if you don’t get reimbursed for them by your health care insurance. In the long run, the strips will cost you more than the meter itself. Most meters will only use one kind of strip. 

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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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    If you commute to work or split your time between two locations, you might want to buy two blood glucose meters (make sure they use the same brand of test strip). You can keep one at home and the other at work. Lugging your meter back and forth every day can be a bit of a nuisance. Not only will you avoid the inconvenience, you will also avoid the hazard of forgetting to bring the meter back home or to work with you. 
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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    Glucose test strips are used with a monitoring device and do not have side effects because they are not used in or on your body. Collecting the blood to test with a glucose test strip usually involves pricking your skin with a needle, which may cause some pain. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns about using glucose test strips to monitor your blood sugar.
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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    The risks for glucose test strips are inaccurate results. It is important to follow the manufacturer's directions for use and storage of glucose test strips to reduce this risk. If you use your strips improperly, you may put yourself at risk for uncontrolled blood glucose levels, which can have dangerous consequences. Pay attention to the expiration date of glucose test strips and do not use them if they are past the expiration date. Typically, you will need to keep the glucose test strips dry and away from heat and cold. You should not use a glucose test strip if it appears to be wet or otherwise damaged.
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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    The greatest risk of using glucose monitor kits is infection. Always follow the cleaning and maintenance instructions enclosed with your monitor to reduce your risk of infection. You should always use a new lancet when testing your blood sugar level. Reusing lancets can give you an infection. Also, never share lancets with another person because diseases can be transmitted this way.
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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    There are no specific groups of people who should not use glucose monitor kits. Glucose monitor kits can be used by diabetic people and non-diabetic people to check blood sugar levels. They are also safe for children and adults. 
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    A Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism, answered on behalf of
    Most of the current glucose meters use very little blood, and it makes sense to choose one that requires only a very small amount so that the needle stick doesn't have to be painful. Note that meters that require only small amounts of blood often allow you to collect the sample from spots other than your fingertips; this is often called alternative-site testing and may be helpful if your fingertips are getting sore from frequent testing. The forearm is often recommended, but it's frequently more difficult to get blood from this area because there is not as much blood flowing near the surface of the skin as there is in the fingertips, and many people have a lot of hair, which prevents the drop from staying in place until it's drawn up into the strip. A lancet device that applies a small amount of suction after the needle stick (for example, the Vaculance) sometimes makes testing on the forearm easier.
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    Some glucose meters are so small that they fit on a vial of strips, while others are larger, so people with big hands can handle them easily. Small meters are easy to slip into your pocket or purse. However, if you have trouble with small hand and finger movements, you may want to consider a larger meter. Larger meters may be heavier and clumsier to carry around. Some meters have rubber grips that make them easy to hold.

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    Purchasing your diabetes supplies, such as test strips, through a mail-order supplier can save you money. However, you’ll also have to calculate the extra time it will cost to ship supplies and perhaps the extra time to deal with insurance coverage. Among the tips to make mail-order work for you are:

    -   Pay extra attention to timing. Some orders will ship automatically, whereas others will take up to 2 weeks. Order your supplies far enough in advance that your current supply won’t run out before the new ones arrive.

    -   The mail-order company should confirm your insurance coverage before filling out your first order. If you use Medicare to help pay for supplies, note that the prices shown in advertisements or quoted over the phone may differ from the amount that Medicare will reimburse for that item.

    -   If you live in a warm climate or order during the summer, ask how perishable items will be shipped. Strips can spoil in excessive heat, so overnight shipping is best for these items.

    -   Compare prices by shopping around. Most mail-order firms have toll-free numbers and websites.

    -   Always keep copies of any orders you send through the mail. If you call in an order, be sure to write down when you placed the order and what you ordered.

    -   Check the expiration date on each item that arrives. If you’ll need the item in 6 months, make sure it doesn’t expire in 2 months. Send back all items with expiration dates that are just around the corner.