Many diabetics have learned to take responsibility for their diabetes management. They know that by keeping a watch over their glucose levels (or blood sugar) they will have a better chance of keeping their blood sugar levels normal. Blood glucose monitoring helps them evaluate the effectiveness of their diabetic treatment and whether or not their diabetic healthcare routine is actually on target in controlling diabetes. The numbers on the glucometer will let them know.
First, they will need to learn what numbers are optimum for their blood sugar levels. However, the two top authorities on diabetes mellitus somewhat disagree on the recommendations for blood sugar testing results: the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) has stricter standards than the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The ACE has set the following guidelines for the glucose levels: before meals the reading should be less than 110 mg/dl (milligram/deciliter) and one to two hours after meals, the reading should less than 140 mg/dl. The ADA has recommended that the levels before meals should register between 90 and 130 mg/dl and should read less than 180 mg/dl one to two hours after meals. Ultimately the diabetic should check with his medical health provider to know which guideline to follow.
They also differ on the readings concerning the diabetic’s Hemoglobin A1C test values. An A1C is a test which gives the average of the glucose levels in the diabetic’s blood over the last three months’ duration. ACE recommends the A1C be less than 6.5 percent; and the ADA recommends it should be less than 7 percent. Usually the doctor orders this test for the diabetic two to four times yearly. The A1C gives the doctor a good insight into how effective the diabetic treatment is in managing diabetes.
Yet the two organizations do agree on one thing in order to successfully manage their diabetes, diabetics should check their blood sugar levels on a daily basis. To monitor blood glucose the diabetic will need a blood glucose meter. A glucose meter is a hand held, battery-run small machine that tests the glucose level in the blood. In choosing a meter there are several factors to consider: what does the diabetes educator and doctor suggest; what cost is involved does the insurance company approve only certain meters, how much will extra testing strips and lancets cost; are any rebates available, is there a possibility of getting a free glucose meter; also how simple is the meter to use, keep clean, or calibrate (set up) when changing to another batch of testing strips? These questions will help the diabetic choose the right glucometer for himself. Some meters are small and computerized. They will display the blood sugar levels as numbers on a screen similar to a pocket calculator. The doctor will usually request the diabetic to bring his meter to the office to check it and ensure it is working correctly. Managing diabetes means correct blood glucose monitoring.
Laboratory tests have found these meters to be accurate; however, errors can happen due to the one who uses the meter. These are some reasons for false readings: dirty meter, outdated strip or strip not at room temperature, the blood drop too small or using an uncalibrated meter. Also, in controlling diabetes, keeping track of the blood sugar readings is very important.
Maintaining a record on a daily basis will help during visits to the doctor; for the numbers on the record will reveal just how well the diabetic’s body is responding to the diabetes treatment plan. Also, it allows the medical care provider to see what changes are necessary if the diabetes sugar levels need better control. Writing down results of the blood sugar testing will give a record of how activity, stress, or foods affect the blood sugar levels. If any results are abnormal, the diabetic should notify the doctor at once.