For people with diabetes, glycemic control and management requires regular self-monitoring to avoid variations in blood glucose - too high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia) - which can lead to complications.
WHAT IS BLOOD GLUCOSE MONITORING?
Monitoring is prescribed by your healthcare professional, depending on the type of diabetes and the type of treatment you may have.
Every 3 months, you may need to see your healthcare professional to have your fasting blood glucose or glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) measured. This is done at the laboratory.
Several times a day at specific times, you may use a blood glucose meter, which tests your blood glucose level accurately from just a tiny drop of blood.
HOW TO USE A BLOOD GLUCOSE METER
Firstly, wash and dry your hands. You’ll need your glucose meter, strips, your lancing device and lancets. Start by pressing the lancet cap to the side of your finger. Massage your finger from the base upwards to produce a drop of blood. Remove the first drop of blood. Touch the tip of a test strip to the blood and the blood-glucose meter will display your blood-glucose level. Please check in your owner’s manual for further information.
KEEP A DIARY OF YOUR TEST RESULTS
Keeping a diabetes diary helps you get an overview of your blood-glucose levels. Not only is this precious information for your healthcare team, it helps you manage and achieve your blood-sugar targets. You can manually record your blood-glucose readings, using a simple logbook. If you use MyStar Extra®, BGStar®, or iBGStar® blood-glucose meters, your results are automatically logged and can be presented in an easy-to-read chart. Depending on the meter you choose, your readings can even be automatically sent to your healthcare professional or relatives.
If your blood glucose falls below 72 mg/dl (4 mmol/l), you may experience blurred vision, shakiness, tingling, sweating, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, hunger, headache, difficulty speaking, nausea, fast pulse and dizziness. If it occurs during the night, it may cause restless sleep, nightmares, night sweats, awakening from sleep and morning headaches. Low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia.
You will need to eat a rapid-acting carbohydrate right away or drink a sweet drink. Retest again after 15 minutes and if your blood glucose level is still under 72 mg/dl (4 mmol/l), repeat.
In case of important hypoglycemia, follow the emergency process explained by your health care practionner.
Do not hesitate to contact him/her for further information.
Overeating, missing a dose of medication or insulin, a sudden mood change, pregnancy or having less activity than usual can all cause high blood sugar, also called hyperglycemia.
When your blood-glucose levels are very high, your body produces ketones. Combined with high-blood glucose, ketones can cause a diabetic ketoacidosis (or DKA, for short), which is a medical emergency.
Symptoms of DKA are frequent urination or thirst for more than a day, unusual fatigue, nausea and vomiting, stiffness or aching in the muscles, confusion, rapid breathing, 'fruity' smelly breath, headache, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing when lying down and even loss of consciousness. If you suspect that you have symptoms, ask someone to take you to the nearest hospital emergency room or call an ambulance immediately.
The risk of DKA is higher for Type 1 diabetes people. If you’re Type 1, you will need to test for ketones at home by testing your urine or using a blood-glucose monitor that can measure ketones.