Blood Glucose testing

2014-12-04 / Diabetes / 0 Comments

BLOOD GLUCOSE TESTING

I have Type 2 diabetes and have just started tablets. I am testing my urine but would prefer to test my blood sugar. Why does my CP not seem keen to prescribe blood testing strips for me?

Blood glucose monitoring for people with Type 2 diabetes is a controversial area. Some healthcare professionals feel that there is no proof that blood testing helps people improve their diabetic control. Blood testing is reasonably costly and it can be argued that if it doesn’t improve things then the expense is not justified. However, you may feel that home blood glucose monitoring may help you to understand your diabetes better. For example, it can tell you what happens if you take exercise or eat a big meal. Blood testing may give you a sense of being more in control. You may wish to discuss with your doctor or nurse how you think you could benefit from testing your blood glucose.

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Are the blood glucose meters accurate enough for daily use?

Most results obtained when you are using a meter will be slightly different from the clinic laboratory results or even from different makes of meters because different technological methods are used. These slight differences do not matter and the strips and meters are quite accurate enough for home use provided your technique is correct. If you are concerned that your results may not be accurate you can check the meter yourself by using the quality control solution provided with the meter. Phone the meter company helpline for advice or contact your diabetes specialist nurse who can check both your meter and your technique.

I have heard that there is a watch you can wear that measures the blood sugar automatically. Is this right?

You are thinking about the ClucoWatch, developed by a Californian company called Cygnus Inc. Unfortunately there were many technological problems and so the GlucoWatch is currently unavailable in the UK. This device is worn like a wristwatch and measures blood glucose from interstitial fluid every 10-20 minutes depending on the model. The watch had to be fitted with a sensor which only lasted for 12 hours and was expensive to buy.

I have heard that it is now possible to obtain a meter, which can measure the blood glucose constantly without the need for repeated fingerpricks. How do I get hold of one?

Meters which provide a continuous read-out of blood glucose levels are available for research purposes and for short-term use. The eventual aim is to connect these meters to an insulin pump allowing the dose of insulin to be controlled by the level of blood glucose – a true ‘artificial pancreas’. The technology is promising but not fully developed.

At present the Minimed Medtronic can record the blood glucose continuously for three days and many diabetes centres will own such a meter. They can be loaned to people who are having problems with their diabetes control and are used to identify patterns of either high or low blood sugars. They do not produce an immediate reading but can be downloaded to a computer to print out a three-day blood glucose curve. Unfortunately the three-day probes are expensive and are not yet practical for long term use.

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