The most important part of any diabetes symptom management is monitoring blood blood sugar levels. There are three main ways that blood glucose can be monitored.
1. Fasting Blood Glucose:
Fasting blood glucose or fasting blood sugar is taken after an eight hour fast and measures the level of glucose on the blood at that time. Depending on the lab conducting the test the normal value of this test should be between 70 to 110 mg/dl. If the diabetes is uncontrolled these fasting blood blood sugar levels are much higher then normal.
2. Glycosylated hemoglobin:
Glycosylated hemoglobin (HgbA1c) is produced through a process that is irreversible. Hemoglobin combines with glucose as the red blood cells circulate through the blood stream and forms glycohemoglobin. Depending on the amount of glucose in the blood stream a certain amount of glycohemoglobin is formed during the red blood cells 120 day life span. Because of this the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin is a good measure of the average amount of blood glucose level over that 100 to 120 day time span before the test. The more glucose in the blood stream the greater the end value. Short term factors such as food, exercise and stress will not affect this value making it easy to take a blood sample at any time and is much easier then scheduling a fasting blood glucose test.
This type of blood glucose test can be done in the diabetics own home with a glucometer or blood glucose meter, which is available for buy at any drug store. This device is used to monitor blood glucose levels at any time but especially before and after eating and before bedtime. The glucometer is used with a drop of blood obtained through a finger prick to measure blood glucose levels at specified times during the day. By self monitoring the diabetic can chart their glucose level which is important to maintain glycemic control. Through this method the affects of their meal plan, exercise program and other factors can be investigated to see if the goal of their medical nutrition therapy is being met.
These charts generated from the self monitoring should be reviewed by the diabetic’s healthcare team to make determinations about their food intake, insulin requirements and exercise plan. This allows their doctors and nutritionists to individualize the care plan to the particular diabetic’s needs. This makes the older method of offering general diet plans and tear-off diet sheets a thing of the past.
The type of diabetes and treatment that is prescribed will determine the number of times the diabetic will need to test their blood glucose levels. Some might even need to monitor up to ten times a day, before and after each meal and again at bed time.
Diabetic blood glucose monitoring is the lifeline that allows all diabetics to control their disease and live a normal life.