Self Glucose Monitoring

August 22, 2021


Glucose monitoring devices

Traditional glucose meters have long been a mainstay in diabetic management. Testing glucose is a major part of the treatment plan of a diabetic patients. Glucometers are portable, easy to use and convenient medical devices, that help to test blood glucose levels anywhere and anytime.

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There are many factors which affects blood glucose levels like diet, exercise, stress, illnesses and medications throughout the day. Self monitoring allows us to to see how these factors affect glucose levels and give a chance to make modifications for a better control of blood sugar. It also alerts us if glucose levels go too high or low preventing emergency situations.

Glucometers comes with testing strips, lancets and a lancet holder.The glucometer use principal of optical photometry. It read the final color and convert it to glucose value. There are a variety of glucometers on the market, that comes with different features to suit everyone needs and preferences, for example:

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  • Monitors with a large display or audio capabilities for patients with vision problems.
  • Backlit screen to allow you to see in dim light.
  • Additional memory or data storage.
  • Bluetooth enabled devices that sync with smart phones.
  • USB port to load info directly in to a computer.
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The traditional site for taking blood samples are fingertips. Fingertips are rich in capillaries, so it’s easy to take out a drop of blood however, with time the fingers can become sore with frequent glucose testing. Some glucometers allow to take blood sample from other sites such as the palms, upper forearms, legs ,thighs or abdomen. These glucometers give accurate readings even with a small amount of blood. When in doubt, it is recommended to take samples from the fingertips.

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Importance of monitoring glucose

It is important to keep glucose levels in target range as best as you can.

The general guideline is pre meal targets of 80-130 mg/dL (4.4-7.2) and after meal target less than 180 mg /dl (10mmol/L ) and HbA1c less than 7 %.

Uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to many long-term complications like heart and kidney diseases and vision problems. Very low blood sugar (Hypoglycemia) can lead to seizure and coma.

The guidelines differ for different patients. Doctors will recommend the target range and frequency of blood testing. The goals may be adjusted for a patient in whom the strict glucose control may be inadvisable, such as elderly, patients who experience repeated boots of hypoglycemia especially with hypoglycemic unawareness, young children or patients with dementia.

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Method of testing blood glucose by finger stick method

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Insert a Lancet in Lancet holder.
  • Insert a test strip in the glucometer. This will set the glucometer in a test mode. A message will appear to put a drop of blood.
  • Wipe and dry the fingertip with an alcohol swab. Massage a fingertip to make blood collection easier and prick the side of fingertip (Pricking on sides cause much less pain)
  • Apply the drop of blood on test area on strip. Drop of blood should be enough that it cover the test area. Too little sample will not give correct result.
  • Glucometers will analyze the sample and show glucose level after a few seconds.
  • Press the finger pricked site for few seconds with a clean tissue paper or a gauze to stop blood from oozing out.
  • Pull the test strip out of the monitor, the monitor will get automatically turn off.
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Tips for good blood glucose monitoring

  • Keep monitor and supplies with you all the time in a bag or box.
  • Keep track of test strips. Make sure they are not expired, as using expired test strips are not guaranteed to give accuracy.
  • Establish a routine for how often tests are to be done.
  • Record blood glucose test results in a journal or use an app that tracks blood-glucose daily readings.
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