Diabetes is a very serious condition that can have adverse effects on the body, if you don’t keep your blood glucose level under control. However, thanks to modern advances in medicine, even an individual with the most severe case of diabetes can live a long and comfortable life. With that being said, learning to properly test and maintain your blood glucose levels is going to be crucial to your health and survival. While there are a variety of diabetic testing supplies available on the market, it is imperative that you completely understand each one and what they have to offer you. Below, you will learn more about the different types of diabetic supplies available and how each one can benefit you.
What Is Insulin?
People who are diagnosed with Type I diabetes will be required to utilize insulin, a hormone that regulate glucose concentrations in the bloodstream. Type II diabetes does not always need to be treated with insulin. In fact, there are a wide variety of medications designed and approved to treat Type II diabetes. These medications are available in liquid and pill form, but the individual must continue to follow strict blood glucose monitoring techniques.
Insulin is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. When the beta cells can no longer produce sufficient or any insulin, the individual will begin to experience high blood glucose levels. In Type I diabetes, the beta cells cannot produce insulin, so the individual will need insulin for replenishment purposes.
The reason insulin is not available in a pill form is because it would be broken down during digestion. Instead, the insulin is injected into the fatty or adipose tissue, so it can be utilized over a period of time.
Rapid-acting insulin is just that, as it begins to work about 15 minutes after the initial injection. This type of insulin peaks around one hour after injection and continues to work for up to two or four hours. Examples of rapid-acting insulin include Humalog and NovoLog.
Short-acting or regular insulin is utilized to maintain optimal blood glucose levels. After the initial injection, short-acting insulin begins to work within 30 minutes and peaks anywhere from two to three hours.
Blood Glucose Meter
Without the blood glucose meter, it would be extremely difficult to monitor the concentration of glucose in your blood. These medical devices were introduced to the market in April 1956. Since then, they have been integrated into blood glucose management, as they can accurately measure to amount of glucose in your bloodstream.
The Clark electrode was the first instrument utilized to measure blood glucose levels. The instrument was named after its developer, Leland Clark who presented it to the American Society for Artificial Organs in 1956. Clark went on to create the first glucose enzyme electrode, with the help of Ann Lyons, an employee at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio. The device was known as a biosensor, which was capable of measuring the amount of oxygen that GOx consumed during the “enzymatic reaction with the substrate glucose.”
While the process was complex, scientists were able to utilize Clark’s biosensors and electrodes to create what is known today as the modern blood glucose meter or monitor. These devices only require a glucose test trip and tiny drop of blood to provide accurate readings.
Blood Glucose Lancets
In the past, producing a small amount of blood from an individual required a painful prick with a lancet or small scalpel. This made it extremely difficult for people with diabetes to measure their glucose levels. In fact, many would have to visit their primary physician, just to obtain an accurate reading. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology and design, scientists were able to create what is known as the modern lancet.
Even the youngest diabetic can utilize the modern lancet, which only requires proper placement and a gentle push. Inside the lancet is a tiny needle that penetrates the skin, causing it to bleed. These medical devices are created to reduce the amount of pain experienced during the process. In fact, the lancet is spring loaded, so the needle penetrates into the skin at a rapid pace to ensure a pain-free experience.
Lancets can only be utilized one time, so you toss them in a Sharps container. This invention has allowed diabetes to check their blood glucose levels in a matter of seconds, with little to no pain.
Diabetics are required to monitor their blood glucose levels throughout the day. This process requires the use of lancets and this is not to mention insulin needles and syringes. To keep everyone in the home and the garbage service save from needle pricks, diabetics must utilize a proper disposal method of these items. While it is perfectly okay to put the used needles and lancets in a plastic or metal container with a lid, before tossing them in a trash bin, Sharps containers work much better. These products are labeled with a biohazard tag, so garbage men and women, as well as others who come into contact with the container will know exactly what it is utilized for.
Sharps containers, when filled are considered bio hazardous materials, so they must be disposed of properly. Most people will drop their Sharps container off at designated collection sites, while others will rely on their residential special waste pickup services. As soon as you receive a diabetes diagnosis, you should contact your residential trash service provider to see how they recommend disposing of your Sharps containers. The disposal method will depend on the type of Sharps container you are utilizing, how the container is labeled and the laws.
If you live in proximity of a hospital or doctor’s office, you may be able to drop your Sharps containers off there. Just ask your physician in advance, so you will know if they will accept the container once it is completely full.
The Lancing Device
There is no doubt that being a diabetic is no fun. Pricking your finger a few times a day can be painful and annoying. Nevertheless, it is something that must be done, in order to ensure that you remain safe and healthy. Just remember that this procedure can be made a little bit easier with the right equipment. A lancing device will actually hold the lancet. The lancet actually punctures the skin, while the lancing device holds the lancet. This might not seem like a big deal, but the lancing device can really make a big difference.
There are specific lancing devices for unique situations. Some are suitable for people that bruise too easily, while others are best suited for people with arthritis. If you’re experiencing one of these problems, you should definitely consider investing in a lancing device. It will make testing your blood sugar level so much easier.
Blood Glucose Test Strips
A comprehensive blood glucose monitoring system requires a number of items. You’ll need a testing machine and a lot of testing strips. The strips are responsible for holding the blood, which is to be tested by the blood glucose meter. Normally, the strip will be inserted into the machine. Then, the blood will be applied to the testing strip. Wait a few seconds and the blood glucose machine will provide you with an accurate reading of your current blood glucose level.
There are tons of manufacturers of blood glucose testing strips and they’ll all fairly similar. Just make sure you go to great lengths to choose a brand that you can trust! Be sure to check out the test strips offered by Canadian Insulin. They’re plentiful and you will not have to worry about being disappointed in the future.
Caring For Your Blood Glucose Meter
It is almost certain that you’ll find yourself using your blood glucose meter on a daily basis. In order to guarantee that you’re always able to get an accurate reading, you’ll need to go to great lengths to keep your meter in tiptop shape. Suffice to say, you’ll need to properly care for and maintain the meter to keep it working fluidly. First and foremost, you should always handle the device with extreme care. Never squeeze it too hard and try to avoid dropping it to the ground. You can also clean the outside of the meter using a damp cloth. Never use water, since it could seep inside and cause serious problems.
If you use the meter correctly, you should not have to worry about it becoming contaminated. So, you will never have to worry about decontaminating the device in the future. Also, it is vital to store the meter properly. It should be stored at temperatures of 32 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Never leave the device inside of your automobile or near the heater. Finally, make sure that the meter and strips are kept away from high humidity locations, such as the kitchen and the bathroom.
How To Use A Glucometer
When you’re ready to test your blood glucose levels, you’re going to need a reliable glucometer and test strips. Generally, both will be available at your local pharmacy. You might even be able to buy both from a big box retail store. In some cases, your insurance company will be happy to cover the costs. Speak with your doctor and get a prescription to ensure that your insurance company will pay for these crucial diabetic supplies. Before trying to test your levels, you should go ahead and clean your hands. This will help to reduce the risk of getting a false reading.
Now, you should insert the testing strip into the meter. Make sure that the proper end is inserted first. Now, add a lancet to the lancing device and prick your finger. With your finger dripping a little bit of blood, touch it to the testing strip. Now, you will need to wait a few seconds. You should hear a beep and the meter should provide you with an accurate reading. Be sure to take the appropriate steps to keep your blood sugar levels in a safe range!
When To Use Your Blood Glucose Monitor
For a diabetic, your blood glucose monitor could make the difference between life and death. If you do not keep track of your blood glucose levels, you’re going to find yourself in a scary situation at some point in the future. This is why it is absolutely vital to keep a close eye on your levels frequently. You should create a system to ensure that you carry out frequent readings at the right intervals. Generally, it is best to test your blood sugar levels before and after meals. You should also consider testing your levels before you go to sleep at night. Remember to record your readings and set reminders to ensure that you do not forget to take readings.
Also, you should always be ready to test your blood sugar level when you begin feeling awkward. If you feel lightheaded or off balance, you should test yourself immediately. There is always a possibility that those strange feelings are linked to dangerously high or low glucose levels.
Take Your Meter To The Doctor
Every time you visit your primary physician, you should take your blood glucose meter. Most of these devices will store your most recent readings and this information could prove to be very beneficial for your doctor. Your doctor will be able to access this information directly. If your meter does not store your readings, you should have written them down manually. Be sure to bring your records along, so your doctor will know what is going on. Your doctor can also test your glucometer to ensure that it is working as intended.
Dealing With Extremely High Blood Sugar
If you’ve been given a reading that seems abnormally high, you should take action immediately. First and foremost, you should wash your finger and administer the test again. There is a possibility that you’ve received a false reading. If you’ve been provided with another reading over 400mg/dL, you should be very cautious. Test the meter to ensure that it is indeed working flawlessly. If the meeting is working correctly and you’re still getting a dangerous reading, you need to reach out to your doctor. Call your doctor or visit the emergency room immediately! He or she will be able to provide you with advice for returning your blood sugar level to the safe range.
Always tell your doctor after you’ve experience a high blood sugar episode. And, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks that may contain sugar. Water is always best, but sugar-free drinks will be fine as well. If you begin feeling disoriented or drowsy, you should get assistance immediately! Excessively high blood sugar levels can be deadly. Do not delay! Get help right away.
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