Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. There are two main types of diabetes namely, Type 1 where the pancreas does not produce insulin due to destruction by antibodies and Type 2 diabetes where the main issue is not only the insulin deficiency but also insulin resistance. Insulin helps keep your blood sugar level from getting too high or too low.
Diabetes, if not well managed through appropriate diet and lifestyle practices as well as the use of medication, could result in the development of long-term complications. With the introduction of good self-care skills, regular sugar monitoring and follow up with relevant health care personnel, most of the long-term complications can be avoided.
Patients with diabetes can live longer and enjoy a good quality of life. Medical personnel emphasise that the key to achieving good blood glucose control that subsequently will prevent the development of the long-term complications is through regular blood glucose monitoring that is facilitated by use of a device referred to as a “Self-Monitoring Blood Glucose Metre”.
A Blood Glucose Metre is a must-have for every patient for good diabetes management and for the physician to evaluate the effectiveness of both the medication therapy and the lifestyle changes that the patient may need to make. Blood glucose metres should be of good quality to ensure the “accuracy” of your daily readings.
This is vital since accurate readings will, in the long run, achieve good sugar control that is not only necessary to avoid long-term but also short-term complications. The frequency of blood glucose monitoring is dependent on various factors.
Dr Erick Njenga advises that patients with Type 1 diabetes should ideally check their sugars before each meal and two hours after meals to make the appropriate adjustments to their insulin doses. Type 2 Diabetes patients who are on tablets and have good blood glucose control can check their sugars once daily.
However, if they are on insulin with significant fluctuations in their blood sugar values, they will be required to check their sugars before meals and two hours after meals. There are many Brands of Blood Glucose Metres in the Market that range from the low-end to those regarded as high-end. So how does one select the right Blood Glucose Metre?
There are certain key features that one will look for in a metre. They include ease of use especially for the elderly and pediatric age group, size of metre which is easy to carry, maintenance costs, special features such as adequate memory storage, ease of retrieving previous test results that have date and time of when the readings were taken, ability to download readings to a computer or smart device for easy access to a physician, easy to clean with antiseptics and if the metre is water proof. So what is the main determining factor of an accurate Blood Glucose Metre? Let’s think about where the Blood drop is placed – THE STRIP.
Test strips for Glucose Metres contain certain enzymes to help measure glucose levels in the blood. It is these enzymes that determine the accuracy of the Blood Glucose Metre result. It is important to select the correct strip technology as your physician will use this data to advice you on the course of treatment.
There are many blood glucose brands in the market but do ask “what strip enzyme technology” it uses, as using a blood glucose metre that gives you inaccurate readings means you have not achieved your goal of “Good Control”. Some “strip enzyme technology”, for example GDH-FAD may be a little more expensive to manufacture.
At Aratus Health Limited the GDH-FAD enzyme technology metres are stored. Therefore for a fraction of the price, invest in your health by selecting quality and not compromising on cost through low-end purchases. Remember your health is your wealth. Blood glucose meters should have appropriate functionality as well as additional features, one important feature being ketone warning.
Anxiety and depression commonly sets in after patients are diagnosed with diabetes. This, however, can be avoided with patients having the proper support, knowledge base and good self-care skills that provide them with the much needed confidence to take control of their diabetes and live a normal life. —The writer is the director of Aratus Health Limited —[email protected]