Measuring Diabetes at home? Here’s what you definitely need to know
Poorly controlled blood sugar is a major risk factor for diabetic complications, including kidney disease, vision loss, and nerve damage.
The central tenet of diabetes treatment includes - monitoring the blood sugar closely, diet adjustments, exercise, and medications to keep it in a good range. And that makes sense. Poorly controlled blood sugar is a major risk factor for diabetic complications, including kidney disease, vision loss, and nerve damage.
As the battle against COVID-19 continues, there is apprehension in people heading to doctors for regular tests. This has given rise to people measuring their blood sugar levels at home.
While being at home, it is all the more essential to take care of basic practices for good health. For a patient with type-2 diabetes, the basic ABCDE of diabetes care would include A1c control, blood-pressure control, cholesterol control, diet management, and exercise.
The haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) represents the level of sugar in the blood, as maintained over past 3 to 4 months. It is important to maintain good control of blood-sugar level in the long term. This is possible through disciplined efforts- diet and exercise control, being regular with prescribed medicines, and ensuring regular monitoring of blood-sugar levels.
Let us talk about what to keep in mind while measuring diabetes at home, using a glucometer:
1. Before a prick, wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them well. It is better to avoid alcohol-based sanitizer before a prick, because alcohol tends to dry the skin and cause pain
2. Use a sterile lancet to prick the fingertip. Gently squeeze the finger till a drop of blood forms. It is reasonable to use different finger each time, as pricking repeatedly at the same site may cause pain or injury
3. Touch and hold the edge of test-strip to the drop of blood. Then, place the strip in glucometer, and wait for a few seconds for appearance of the reading
4. Keep a meticulous record of all your test-readings, as per the recommended timetable
5. Ensure that the lancet and strip are properly disposed-off in a trash container. Do not share the used lancet with anyone, not even with your family members
Here are some more critical points to keep in mind:
· The targets for achieving blood sugar levels, may differ across the patients. Please follow your doctor’s advice, for the target blood-sugar levels recommended for you
· The reading may not be accurate in some situations; one such important situation is the presence of anaemia
· The test should not be performed immediately after meals. A post-prandial test should be performed 2 hours after a meal, and a fasting test is recommended after 10 hours of fasting
As general measures, please make sure to keep the glucometer clean. Keep the container of the test-strip closed, as exposure to moisture can spoil the test-strips. It is also advisable to change the lancets regularly
Blood sugar monitoring is useful for people with type 2 diabetes to avoid hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia, especially during the lockdown period. Home blood sugar monitoring or continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) provides useful information and is an important part of managing your diabetes. If you use insulin, your blood sugar results will help guide you in choosing the appropriate doses from meal to meal. When you first start treatment for diabetes, you will need to work with your health care provider as you learn to make adjustments in the treatment.
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