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Diabetes Information

-Diabetes Facts
-History of Diabetes
-Causes of Diabetes
-Diabetes Complications
-Diabetes Education
-Diabetes Research

Diabetes Mellitus

-Diabetes Mellitus Symptoms
-Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
-Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
-Diabetes Mellitus Treatment

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes
-Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
-Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms
-Type 1 Diabetes Diet
-Type 1 Diabetes Cure

Type 2 Diabetes
-Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
-Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
-Type 2 Diabetes Causes
-Type 2 Diabetes Diet
-Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes
-Type 2 Diabetes Medications

Gestational Diabetes
-Gestational Diabetes Test
-Gestational Diabetes Symptoms
-Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan
-Gestational Diabetes Treatment

Juvenile Diabetes
-Juvenile Diabetes Symptoms
-Juvenile Diabetes Treatment

Diabetes Insipidus
-Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus
-Treatment for Diabetes Insipidus

Feline Diabetes

Diabetes Symptoms
Signs of Diabetes 
Also: Diabetes Sign Symptoms 
-Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
Also: Type II Diabetes Symptoms
-Gestational Diabetes Symptoms
-Symptoms, Juvenile Diabetes
Also: Diabetes Symptoms in Child

(see also Blood Glucose)
-Glucose Level
Also: Blood Glucose Level
-Glucose Meter
Also: Blood Glucose Meter
-Glucose Monitor
Also: Blood Glucose Monitor
-Glucose Test
Also: Glucose Tolerance Test
-Glucose Intolerance

Diabetes Diet
-Diabetes Food
-Diabetes Nutrition
-Diabetes Diet Plan
-Type 2 Diabetes Diet

Diabetes Supply
-Diabetes Testing Supply

Diabetes Treatment
-Diabetes Medications
-Alternative Treatment for Diabetes

-Insulin Resistance
-Insulin Pump
-Lantus Insulin

Diabetes Care
-Diabetes Management
-Diabetes Associations
-Diabetes Prevention
-Diabetes Cure

Diabetes is the No. 6 leading causes of deaths in the United States, according to 2001 data  from the United States National Center for Health Statistics.

Glucose Monitors
(Blood Glucose Monitors)

Health care providers agree that blood glucose monitors offer substantial benefits to users that other methods do not begin to approach. Although urine testing is important for checking things like ketones, urine testing for glucose is no longer considered to be a reliable method for monitoring.

So monitors are your best choice for top-notch diabetes care. To help you in your hunt to find the best one for you, here are a few things to look for:

Expense. The cost of a blood glucose monitor and diabetes care supplies is often covered by health insurance. But don't just assume your insurance will reimburse you. Get approval from your insurance company before you buy. Some insurance companies and/or health care systems have special arrangements for certain monitors or systems. If you have an established health care team, you should discuss choices and cost before you buy.

You can usually find a deal on monitor trade-ins with rebates and special purchase offers. Check with your doctor and diabetes educator. Keep an eye on ads and compare prices before you buy.

In addition to the cost of a monitor, check the cost of testing supplies that you will need for that monitor. Over time, the price of test strips or sensors, control solutions, and other supplies will prove much more costly than the monitor itself. These added costs may influence your decision more than the cost of the monitor. You should always check with your insurance company before buying. Some insurers will only pay for certain strips. If the strips are not covered, you'll need to assess whether the costs associated with a given meter are prohibitive. You should also discuss with health care professionals how many times you should check your blood each day and what your budget can cover. Although you do not need a prescription to purchase strips, you may need one to get insurance reimbursement (co-pay).

Ease of use. Some monitors are easier to use than others. Some require a smaller drop of blood than others. Some require fewer steps to operate, and some take less time than others. If possible, talk with others who use monitors before you make your purchase to find out the pluses and minuses of various models. Remember that most monitor manufacturers have toll-free numbers for customer questions. Your health care team may be familiar with several different types, so check with them. Also, make sure your doctor will be able to work with the machine you choose. If you buy a monitor your doctor or diabetes educator is unfamiliar with or does not recommend, you may wind up not using it to its maximum potential.

Accuracy. All monitors currently on the market have a fairly high degree of accuracy if used properly. The monitor may become less accurate over time, so it is important to test your glucose monitor to ensure it is providing an accurate reading. Test monitor accuracy at least once a month (or according to manufacturer's instructions), or anytime you suspect a problem?for example, when strips are stored in unusual conditions during travel.

One way to test your monitor's accuracy is to check your blood glucose on your meter at the same time you are having blood drawn from your vein at your next doctor visit. The two samples should be taken within a minute or two of each other to get the most accurate comparison.

Blood glucose levels measured by a meter do use capillary blood directly from fingersticks. In contrast, blood glucose drawn from a vein by your doctor is sent to a laboratory, which spins blood cells out of the sample, leaving only plasma. Glucose is more concentrated in blood plasma than whole blood?roughly 15 percent higher. But virtually all new monitors and test strips are calibrated to yield a plasma glucose value, so these different methods shouldn't influence the results.

Check your box of strips to see if they give a plasma reading. Assuming they do, readings from these strips and monitors should correspond closely (within 15 percent) to lab readings taken at the same time. If you are not sure how to interpret the readings, check with your doctor or educator.

If the readings go beyond this margin, something is wrong. Poor readings can occur if your glucose monitor is dirty, old, or stored at extremes of temperature or humidity; if strips are outdated; or if there is a problem in your testing technique. Also, your monitor may not be calibrated to the lot of strips you are using. Be sure you know how and when to calibrate or code your particular model.

Cleaning and maintenance. No monitor is indestructible; each kind needs proper care. However, some need more cleaning and maintenance than others, another option to consider. Once you do buy a monitor, follow the manufacturer's instructions on the proper care for your monitor. Make sure training on the equipment is available nearby. Training that you can't take advantage of is of no practical use to you.

Portability. All of today's monitors are lightweight and run on batteries, so they are all extremely portable.

Test time. All the monitors provide fast results, usually in a minute or less. Some of the newer meters even give blood glucose results in five seconds. So this probably isn't going to be a major issue in your buying decision. If it is, however, compare the speeds of different monitors.

Audio monitors. If you have a severe visual impairment, you can still do your own blood glucose monitoring. There are several blood glucose monitors on the market that give verbal instructions to guide a person through the entire testing procedure and give verbal test results.

In the "Aids for People Who Are Visually or Physically Impaired" section of this guide, you will find a few "talking" products that announce, audibly, the results calculated by certain monitors. Units that "speak" Spanish and other languages are included.

Because technique is important in getting accurate results, you should work through the procedures for several different models, to find one that's easy and comfortable for you to use.

Test site. Alternative test site or forearm capillary blood glucose monitoring recently has been touted as a less painful means of testing blood glucose than traditional fingerstick methods. Studies have shown good correlation between fingerstick and forearm methods in the fasting person but higher blood glucose values from fingerstick sites after eating. This may be due to less vigorous blood flow in the forearm. Some studies have shown a difference in readings taken from a finger versus the forearm when blood glucose is low. Check with your doctor or educator. It may be safer to do a finger check if you feel the symptoms of low blood glucose coming on. Some studies, however, have shown good correlation between finger and forearm blood glucose levels when the forearm is rubbed or tapped before blood is taken.

The decision to buy a blood glucose monitor is a good one. The determination to use one regularly is even more important. So take the time to find the monitor that best meets your needs, one that you'll put to regular use.

A note on record keeping. Record keeping is almost as important as blood glucose monitoring itself. Keep a written log of blood glucose test results, even if your monitor has a memory, and take the log book to each appointment. (Your health care team can provide these books.) Be sure to also record other important factors such as eating, activity, and timing. Although paper records are still quite adequate for many people, some prefer to use data management systems.

(From the American Diabetes Association)

See also

Blood Glucose, Glucose


This diabetes health education project is supported by Chong's Health Care at http://www.cljhealth.com, one of the leading companies in the discovery of alternative medicines for diabetes

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