Treatment for diabetes can include insulin, oral medications, exercise and diet depending on the type of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is typically treated with a combination of insulin, exercise and diet. Type 2 diabetes generally focuses on weight loss prior to diet and exercise treatment methods. The primary goal of treatment is to keep your blood glucose at an optimal level.
Approximately 24 million Americans are living with diabetes. Type 1 diabetes prevents the body from producing insulin, which is used to help us convert sugar into energy. Without insulin, sugar builds up in blood which can cause life-threatening complications. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes whereas the body does not produce enough insulin or the body’s cells ignore the insulin.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved Tradjenta tablets as a supplement to diet and exercise, to manage blood glucose levels for those living with Type 2 diabetes. This drug increases the amount of hormones that stimulate the release of insulin after meals.
Today, a majority of our population is suffering from different kinds of diabetes. People suffering from diabetes need to undergo a constant check up of their blood sugar levels so as to prevent their glucose levels being out of control. In earlier days, diabetes testing was quite a cumbersome process, but thatâ€™s not the case anymore. Now, you can easily check your blood glucose level with the help of a glucose monitor and diabetes test strips.
Although diabetes test strips give you an exact figure of your glucose levels, these can be quite expensive to use. Hence, you must make sure to use these test strips properly so that you do not end up wasting them without obtaining any accurate results.
How to Use Diabetes Test Strips
Before starting the procedure, be ready with your diabetes test strips, glucose monitor and lancing device. You will be performing the piercing action with the lancing device, hence make sure to choose a part of the body (like finger tip) that you are most comfortable with.
Place one of your diabetes test strips in the glucose meter and test the code present on it. Now, match this code with the code number printed on the test strip vial label and proceed only if the code matches. In case you do not find a match, you will have to adjust the meter code by using up and down keys.
Once you get matching codes, wait for the glucose meterâ€™s ready signal which may look like a blood drop on your test strips. Once you are able to see the symbol, pierce your finger with the help of lancing device and extract a blood drop. Now place this extracted drop of blood on one of the diabetes test strips that you placed in the meter. This should be done as per the instructions given in the manual.
The glucose meter will notify you of the results by producing a beep or any other sound. After this, you can discard your test strip and your device will be turned off automatically.
Proper Handling of Diabetes Test Strips
The test strips for diabetes should be properly stored within their original container with a closed lid. The special material of the container helps in preserving these test strips by keeping them dry. Also, it is best to keep the strips in one container only instead of transferring them continuously from one container to another.
The diabetes test strips should be used immediately after they are removed from their storage container. Avoid exposing these to the outside environment, particularly direct light, for prolonged periods of time. Avoid keeping the test strips in a humid area such as a bathroom or kitchen. Keep them at a dry place in a closed container.
Handle the strips only with thoroughly washed and dried hands in order to avoid wetting them. Also, diabetes test strips should be kept away from extremely hot or extremely cold conditions.
If you’re living with diabetes, your doctor may schedule periodic appointments to monitor your condition and check your blood glucose level. If carefully managed, people with diabetes can live relatively healthy lives. But if a person with diabetes maintains a poor diet or makes other unhealthy lifestyle choices, this can spell trouble.
While you may take your medication as directed by your doctor and adhere to periodic lab work, managing diabetes also involves knowing your body and recognizing changes that can indicate problems.
If you’re living with diabetes, it is important that you closely monitor your thirst. It’s normal to feel thirsty after a workout or after you’ve eaten a salty meal. Furthermore, if you haven’t had a beverage in hours, it’s also normal to feel unusually thirsty. But if you cannot pinpoint the cause of extreme thirst, and you’re feeling unusually weak or tired, make a doctor’s appointment. This can indicate changes in your blood glucose level, and if not corrected, this can trigger complications with your diabetes.
One of the greatest challenges for those who suffer from diabetes is cobbling together some manner of diet for diabetics. Huddling with your health care provider and dietician will yield the maximum benefit in the long run. In considering a diet for diabetics, one must take into consideration that everything depends on the balance of glucose in the blood as well as lifestyle. Many diabetics tend to balk at having to readjust their lifestyles to accommodate their nutritional needs but it seems to be the only way to effectively combat the affliction.
- The major consideration in any diet for diabetics& is the importance of planning your meals at regular times during the day. This helps to control and stabilize your glucose and allows your insulin production to work more efficiently.
- Try to incorporate all of the traditional dietary elements of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and proteins into your everyday diet planning. The carbohydrates produce much needed energy and can be gathered from whole grain breads and cereals as well as fruits and vegetables. Any diet for diabetics should keep a watchful eye on carbohydrates.
- Monitor your blood levels closely with regard to certain foods and temper how they affect your levels and your overall feeling of well-being. This will help you to adjust your diet so as to get the maximum advantage from your food intake.
- Salt is a killer in any diet for diabetics and must be avoided at all costs. Enough salt is taken in through various foods and there is absolutely no need to add any to your nutritional strategy.
- Try to switch to, or at least incorporate, a vegetarian lifestyle for your nutrition. Animals, birds, and fish only add more unneeded cholesterol to your body. Your liver generally produces all of the cholesterol your body needs so try to avoid adding any more.
- Eliminate sugar, salt, and fat from any diet for diabetics. Try to find alternative ways to get your protein rather than through animals or animal products.
The goal of any diet for diabetics is to bring those blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible so that your body can produce what it should and be able to function as it should. Consulting with your health care partners is a great first step toward achieving a lifetime of helpful nutrition.
Apps to aid in diabetes management have been around since the advent of the smart phone. But until recently, all they comprised of were replacements for BG logbooks with manual entry into the phone of your BG monitor readings. It basically just made your glucose reading history more portable and to give reminders.
Recently, however, new iPhone apps are coming onto the scene which offer an integration of the BG monitoring device to the smartphones themselves. Johnson & Johnson offer a BG monitor that can upload data via Bluetooth directly to an iPhone, allowing patients to track their glucose levels throughout the day and plan meals accordingly.
iBGStar now offers a mini blood glucose meter that connects directly to the iPhone via USB and automatically uploads the data to a graphical display. You literally insert the test strip into the meter, plug it into the phone, and begin. You can track your BG in real-time and even share the data with loved ones – which is especially handy if you care for children with the disease. Imagine getting an alert on your phone when your child tests their BG levels before bed while at a friends' sleepover!
The possibilities of connectivity are limitless for diabetes management, and we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg on what's to come.
An A1C test also known as the Glycated Hemoglobin test is an effective tool for determining how well a person is managing his blood glucose level. This test is different from the fasting blood glucose test which measures only the blood glucose level at any given moment. An A1C test indicates the average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months.
Principle of the A1C Test
Some of the glucose present in the blood gets attached to hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying protein in the red blood cells. This hemoglobin is called Glycated Hemoglobin. The A1C test measures the percentage of hemoglobin which is glycated.
Interpretation of the A1C test report
The normal range of A1C values may vary somewhat among the labs across the country. So before interpreting the results, this has to be borne in mind. The test is interpreted like the following
- 4%-6% – The normal levels in people without diabetes
- >7% – Poorly controlled blood glucose
- < 7% is the typical goal for most people with diabetes
Though less than 7% is the preferred target, the doctor may recommend a level under 6% especially when the patient is pregnant.
How often should the A1C test be done?
If the medications for diabetes are recently changed or if the person is not meeting the desired blood glucose levels the doctor may order for A1C test every three months. If the patient is able to control his blood glucose level and meet the treatment goals, an A1C test is recommended at least twice a year.
The benefits of A1C test
An A1C test can help a diabetic patient in many ways. If the patient is not able to maintain the desired blood glucose level and the doctor decides to prescribe a medication or allow more time for the patient to improve his diet or exercise plan, the test may help. The doctor may advise you to increase the amount of time the patient exercises for two to three months and may ask the patient to repeat the A1C test again. If the test shows an improved reading, then the increased exercise is all that the patient need to control his blood glucose level and the doctor may not prescribe any medication for the control of glucose.
In addition, the test is a way to alert the diabetic patient and the doctor to potential problems. If the patient had normal A1C readings for several months or years and suddenly has an abnormal reading, it is a sign that the treatment plan needs a change including more frequent blood glucose testing.
Results of A1C test also indicate the patient’s risk of developing complications from diabetes – the higher the value, the greater the risk.