When you or a loved one is diagnosed with diabetes, it can be overwhelming. It is completely normal to feel a range of emotions from nervous and frustrated to scared, angry, or depressed. Diabetes is a serious condition, but people living with diabetes can lead healthy, content, and active lives.
Treatment plans – After diagnosis, your doctor or Certified Diabetes Educator will prepare a treatment plan and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have. One important part of your plan will be blood glucose monitoring. There are a number of different systems available for monitoring your blood glucose levels. When deciding which monitor is right for you here are a few points to consider:
Meter size – If you are always on the go, a meter that is small in size might be a good choice for you. Smaller meters make it easy to make testing an easy, discreet part of your daily routine. If you have trouble seeing or difficulty picking up or holding small items, there are other meters you may find easier to use. Talk to your doctor or Certified Diabetes Educator about what size meter makes sense for you.
Keeping track – So you have your meter and are testing on a regular basis – so what else do you need? Some blood glucose monitoring systems have data management systems you can use to track your blood glucose levels over time. This data is a valuable resource you can share with your healthcare team to continuously refine and improve your diabetes treatment plan.
Pain concerns – Talk to your doctor about alternate site testing. It may be a less painful way for you to test. Some meters allow for you to test in other places besides your fingertips including: forearms, upper arms, thighs, calves, and hands. Also, a few meters on the market today offer virtually pain-free testing and require very small blood sample sizes.
Tips for Successful Monitoring
Reduce pain – Use the side of your fingertip instead of the pad for testing. This will make testing less painful because the sides of your fingers have fewer nerve endings. If your monitor is designed to use an alternative site like your arms and legs, use those.
Keep good records – It is important to record your blood glucose readings so you can share the results with your healthcare team. Having a record to refer to will also make it easier for you to notice if something is wrong.
Changes in lifestyle = changes in monitoring – If you begin an exercise program, change your diet, or start a new job you should plan to monitor your blood glucose more frequently. Once your routine is established, you can scale back to your regular testing schedule.
Take it one day at a time – If blood glucose testing seems overwhelming, talk to your doctor or Certified Diabetes Educator about ways to make it go more smoothly. Asking for help is never a bad idea and you will benefit from your healthcare team’s collective diabetes knowledge.
Appropriate monitoring – For type1: it is appropriate to check several times a day. For type 2: daily testing - may always be a fasting state in the morning or can alternate between a fasting test and a pre-dinner test every other day.
Handheld Glucose Monitoring
There is a wide variety of handheld glucose monitors available. The goal is to choose the monitor that works best with your lifestyle. Here are some things to look for.
Easy to read: Some monitors feature large numbers and a back-lit display which makes it easy to use the monitor in a dark place such as a movie theater.
Discreet: If you are active and need a meter that can fit your busy lifestyle, a meter that is small enough to put in a pocket or small purse might be right for you.
Multi-tasker: There are some blood glucose monitors on the market that perform multiple functions. For example, testing blood sugar and monitoring ketones.
Managing your diabetes well requires having a blood glucose monitor that works best for you. With the improved technology of diabetes monitors, there are many now available that may better suit your unique lifestyle. Use this comparison tool and read user feedback to see which monitor is the right one for you.
Living with diabetes can be challenging. We hope the resources and community on Diabetes1.org will provide you with the information and support you need to live a healthy and active life.