For all people who have some type of diabetes, it is vitally important that they include frequent blood glucose measurements (glucometry) in their treatment if the goal is to achieve and stay within the desired range. In this article we show a series of recommendations for you to make your glucometer your best ally in the control of diabetes.
People with diabetes, in addition to knowing how they can avoid or delay the complications of the disease, must know the reasons why it is important and necessary to frequently monitor their blood glucose levels. This applies both for those patients who have recently been diagnosed, and for those who have been treating this condition for several years.
In any of its manifestations — type 1, type 2, or gestational —, diabetes tends to raise blood sugar levels, causing what is known as hyperglycemia; a factor that can affect the body of a person with this chronic disease in various ways, whether in the short, medium or long term.
To ensure well-being at a greater scale, it is therefore important to prevent hyperglycemia from occurring regularly, thus minimizing the risk of future nerve damage or cardiovascular complications, among many other chronic conditions that arise because of non-controlled diabetes.
Why perform frequent blood glucose tests?
The first thing to note is that a person with diabetes has had numerous hyperglycemic events — which usually occur when the body does not produce insulin at all or does so in very low amounts; or insulin cannot work correctly — it exposes your body to the fact that, after eating food, it cannot carry out the normal process of transforming glucose into energy; leaving the body 'without batteries', to put it metaphorically.
Therefore, all people with diabetes should have regular blood and urine tests, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise moderately. These habits will help you avoid hyperglycemia and stay in the ideal range of 70 to 100 mg / dl (milligrams per deciliter of blood), on an empty stomach; with an acceptable target range also between 90 and 130 mg / dl.
To this we must add, without excuses, the regular performance of the blood glucose test with a special meter (glucometer). Not surprisingly, health professionals indicate that one of the most accurate ways for a patient to take control of their glycemia and diabetes in a broad sense is to perform frequent blood glucose tests that allow us to know the usual behavior of their sugar in blood.
Such information is not only useful and valuable for the person with diabetes, but also for their attending physician, who must be, like the glucometer, one of their main allies to achieve comprehensive management of the disease.
Tips for performing a glucometry
First, before performing your glucometry, you should wash your hands well with soap and water and dry them. Once your hands are cleaned:
- Insert a new lancet into the lancing device.
- Insert a new test strip into the glucose meter.
- Holding the lancing device, use it to prick one of your fingers.
- Do it ideally to the sides to avoid subsequent pain in the fingertips.
- You can also perform a gentle circular upward massage before puncturing your finger to facilitate blood flow.
- If necessary, apply a little pressure to the fingertip, drawing the amount of blood required for the test.
- Place a drop of blood on the test strip and wait for the meter to process the result.
- Wash your hands after performing glucometry.
- Once the result is known, record it in a log where you should also write down other valuable data such as doses of medications, portions of food eaten, physical activity performed (usual or extraordinary), among others.
- Please note that simply performing glucometry will not suffice if you do not keep a detailed record that can be shared with your doctor to assess possible changes for your well-being.
American Diabetes Association [website]. Glucose control [last edited on June 17, 2015; accessed July 9, 2019]. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/es/vivir-con-diabetes/tratamiento-y-cuída/el-control-de-la-glucosa-en-la-sangre/control-de-la-glucosa .html
World Health Organization [website]. What is diabetes [accessed July 9, 2019]. Available at: https://www.who.int/diabetes/action_online/basics/es/index1.html
Ministry of Health and Social Protection [website]. Diabetes monitoring [accessed July 9, 2019]. Available at: https://www.minsalud.gov.co/salud/publica/PENT/Paginas/diabetes-monitorizar.aspx