The Importance of Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes | August 5, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

diabetes

The Importance of Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Levels

Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is when you collect detailed information about your blood glucose levels at various time points during the day, on a day-to-day basis.  As a diabetic, self-monitoring of blood glucose levels can provide short- and long-term health benefits. Regardless of the goal; whether it is to bring down your A1C, avoid dangerous highs and lows, or prevent the potential complications of diabetes, regular testing that is well-tailored to your individual needs can help you take good care of yourself.

Who should Test?

who should testSMBG is generally considered to be an essential part of your everyday type 1 diabetes management. For people with type 1 diabetes, SMBG is critical for improving the safety and efficacy of your insulin routines. However, monitoring your blood glucose levels daily is equally important for type 2 diabetes patients. In fact, a growing body of evidence suggests that a well-organized SMBG is beneficial for all type 2 diabetes patients, regardless of therapy.

Also, those with subcutaneously implanted sensor devices that allow for continuous glucose monitoring by automatically taking measurements every 4–10 min, still require regular (6 hourly or as recommended by your doctor) finger prick testing for calibration.

What’s the Evidence for Efficacy?

The American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes emphasizes that personalized treatment goals and therapeutic strategies are the basis of successful management in type 2 diabetes.

Knowing your usual glucose trends through active self-monitoring of blood glucose, especially in those on insulin therapy, provides you with a means to adjust therapy and empowers you to be able to play a more active role in the control of your condition.

Why Is It Important For You To Do Self-Monitoring of Your Blood Glucose?

Insulin Injections and Insulin Pumps

If you are on an insulin pump or injection, it is necessary to check your blood glucose to ensure that you do not plunge too low or skyrocket from a malfunction. The results can help you to know if you need to refresh your insulin supply or even if you need to adjust your basal rates.

Accuracy

Some patients are able to detect intuitively through familiarity with the “feeling” (symptoms) of hypo- and/or hyperglycemia. Sometimes, however, as the body adjusts to the condition, you may no longer feel lows untill it is too late. To prevent this, testing should be routine up to eight times a day.

Monitoring Children with diabetes

monitoring blood sugarChildren with diabetes need special treatment plans as they may be unable or reluctant to report the symptoms as either hypo- or hyperglycemia begins to set in.

Children, especially those whose speech is still not well-developed, such as in a 2 year old with diabetes, may even be unaware or their condition and/or symptoms.

Monitoring the blood glucose of children living with diabetes is especially important to keep them safe and free from complications.

 

Pregnancy and Trying To Conceive

If you have diabetes and are trying to conceive, it is important that you get your blood glucose levels close to your target range even before you get pregnant. Maintaining your target blood glucose range during pregnancy can be difficult.

 A baby’s vital organs, including the brain, heart, kidneys and lungs, start developing during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. If your blood glucose levels are too high this can be harmful to the growing baby. It can increase the risk of your baby being born with birth defects of the heart, brain or spine. High blood sugar can increase the chance of a premature birth, an overweight baby, breathing complications or low blood glucose right after birth.

High blood glucose can increase the chance of a miscarriage or a stillborn baby. It also increases the chance of developing preeclampsia, which can cause serious or life-threatening complications for you and your baby.

Diet

dietThe diet of a person living with diabetes is their key to optimal health.  Keeping a record of your blood sugar before or after a meal can help you to make better food choices.   

Exercise

Any physical activity can quickly deplete your blood glucose to hypoglycemic levels. It is very important to do a blood glucose test right before you begin any physical activity to ensure that your blood glucose is within normal range to avoid the possibility of hypoglycemia.

How to Go About SMBG?

Get educated

Get adequate and professional training on how to conduct finger prick tests correctly, reading and interpreting test results, as well management steps to take if your blood glucose levels is out of range. This will help you to optimize the benefits of self-monitoring.

Get the right tools

diabetes equipmentEffective self-monitoring of blood glucose requires the use of accurate, reliable SMBG devices.  

Currently, there is a scope for health authorities to improve the regulation and monitoring of such devices and to standardize the approval process for these devices. 
Check your paraphernalia, such as test strips and alcohol swabs have not expired and are in good working order.

Modern SMBG devices are ultraportable, with quick measurement times and give accurate results from small sample sizes of less than 2 μL. Some devices have a “memory” functionalities that allow you to save test results. 
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Monitoring your blood glucose can help to prevent the known complications of diabetes on a day-to-day basis. It is helpful to remember that, with diabetes, the goal should be to improve your blood glucose levels from measuring to measuring instead of aiming for an instantaneous overall change. Small changes make the big difference. Keep good records to show your doctor.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4074758/

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/diabetes-pregnancy

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28585892

Boulton AJ, Del Prato S: Regulation of medical devices used in diabetology in Europe: time for reform? Diabetologia 2012;55:2295–2297 [PubMed]

Tonyushkina K, Nichols JH: Glucose meters: a review of technical challenges to obtaining accurate results. J Diabetes Sci Technol 2009;3:971–980 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Clarke SF, Foster JR: A history of blood glucose meters and their role in self-monitoring of diabetes mellitus. Br J Biomed Sci 2012;69:83–93 [PubMed]

Inzucchi SE, Bergenstal RM, Buse JB, Diamant M, Ferrannini E, Nauck M, Peters AL, Tsapas A, Wender R, Matthews DR: Management of hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetes: a patient-centered approach. Position statement of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). Diabetologia 2012;55:1577–1596 [PubMed]

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