Both our knowledge and tools for diabetes are now much better. Even so, some still have quite a hard time with it. Part of the problem may involve old myths and mistaken ideas. Myths often develop about things that are important, or that we find hard to understand. Diabetes certainly qualifies on both counts!
If you are under the wrong impression about your diabetes, it is easy to make poor choices. You may be working harder than necessary because you do not know all of your options.
Many common myths about blood glucose monitoring exist. Learning the truth behind them can help you to better manage this condition.
Truth: Everyone with diabetes needs to regularly test blood glucose, either to gain or keep control. Control hinges on the decisions you make. Testing blood glucose at home, in your day-to-day life, is your best tool to guide your decisions.
Truth: Test results belong first and foremost to you. Your doctor is not the one managing your diabetes every day. The best time to act on blood glucose results is in the moment – not weeks or months later when you see your doctor.
Truth: You do not check your blood glucose to please your doctor, but to protect
your health. High blood glucose attacks your blood vessels, not your doctor. Blood glucose numbers are your tool to see how things are going with your diabetes. They give you feedback on decisions you have made. They show whether your treatment is working or not.
Truth: While testing can be uncomfortable and a bother, for most people it is not the most painful part of having diabetes. For many, the pain comes from doing this and other difficult things but not seeing any improvement. Judge every part of a diabetes plan by its ability to make your life easier, your control better, or both.
Discover for yourself how blood glucose results can help you:
Blood testing equipment and technology get better every year. If your system or lancing device is over a year old, newer options can do more for you.
Facts about blood glucose monitoring results - make monitoring your ‘Tool of Discovery’
Few people achieve the blood glucose targets that experts recommend, for different reasons.
If you are not happy with how your diabetes management is going, there is no time like the present to look at the problems.
Use a form to gather detailed information for at least three to four days (see table below).
Table 1: Gathering Information
|Fasting blood sugar||Food eaten/
|1 - 2 hour blood sugar after meal||Before lunch||blood sugar||Food eaten/amount||1 - 2 hour blood sugar after meal|
|Before supper||Blood sugar||Food eaten/amount||1 - 2 hour blood sugar after meal||Before bed blood sugar||Middle of the night blood sugar||Notes: Exercise, Stress, Other|
Repeat as needed.
In addition to your blood glucose results, record the things that contribute to those numbers. Include what you eat and how much, snacks, medications, exercise, illness or stress. Go about your usual life. Eat the foods you enjoy and normally consume. This is the way to learn the most about your diabetes. Find out what does and doesn’t work.
Be sure it is the right information
Blood glucose results taken at different times of the day gives you different information. Looked at together, they can show exactly how both your treatment and your actions affect your blood glucose.
When you have collected a few days of records, move on to Step 3.
Start with the morning fasting – If your blood glucose averages over 7 mmol/L before breakfast, especially if it rises overnight, your body may be releasing extra glucose at night. See your doctor, since this problem is best treated with medication. Starting high each morning makes it hard to control blood glucose for the rest of the day.
Highs before other meals – Does your blood glucose average over 7 mmol/L before lunch or dinner after the morning fasting level has been fixed? Check to see whether blood glucose two hours after the previous meal was also high. If so, take steps to correct it. This can include looking at the type and quantity of food eaten, exercising to help lower blood glucose levels or consulting with your doctor about medication needs.
Look at each meal – If your blood glucose rises more than 3 mmol/L when you eat, you did not use enough insulin* to match what you ate. Consider reducing carbohydrate to better match your insulin. This makes most sense if you are eating more than 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate at a meal. If your blood glucose rises over 3 mmol/L when you eat less than 45 to 60 grams, your mealtime insulin* levels are too low. Talk to your doctor about adjusting medications or doses. If you do not know how to identify and count carbohydrate foods, ask your health care team for help.
If your blood glucose rises more than 3 mmol/L after eating:
|More than 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate||Reduce carbohydrate|
|Less than 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate||Increase insulin at mealtime|
If you find lows – Blood glucose of 4 mmol/L or less means you have too much insulin* for the current need. This can happen if you delay or skip a meal or snack or are more active. If this is not the case, your medications may need adjustment.
The information you gain from testing can show you how to enjoy favorite foods and activities without sacrificing blood glucose control. Diabetes control and an enjoyable life are a package deal. You cannot have one without the other. Using these tools can help make life with diabetes easier, safer and much more satisfying!