Why do I need a blood glucose meter for a type 1 diabetes patient?

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the sugar level rises. Fortunately, at present this disease can be kept under control, which allows patients to lead a practically normal life. However, one main condition must be observed – it is very important to regularly monitor blood sugar levels and take timely measures to reduce or increase it. The best helper in this is a device that should be in the home of any patient with diabetes of any type – this is a glucometer. What is it, how to take blood and where to buy a blood glucose meter?  

What is type 1 diabetes

Diabetes mellitus type 1 – it is a disease that needs to be taken. This condition is very important, because many of those to whom the doctor has made this diagnosis cannot believe that it is forever and come to terms with this fact. After the debut of the disease, there follows a phase, which endocrinologists call “honeymoon” – sugar indicators sometimes normalize completely without therapy, and the person has the impression that he is healthy. This condition can last from several weeks to several months, which is very individual. The patient drastically reduces the need for insulin due to the fact that the remaining beta cells of the pancreas are mobilized, but this is a temporary phenomenon, as the reserve of their work is gradually depleted and antibodies continue to destroy them.  

At the expiration of the “honeymoon,” the capacity in insulin’s own production is greatly reduced, or it ceases to be produced at all. As a result, the patient needs to be administered with injections, because without this, his blood sugar level rises sharply. At this stage of the disease, it is very important that the person is fully aware of his illness, accept it and begin constant monitoring of the diet and glycemic level, and strictly follow all the recommendations of the doctor. In this, he is helped by a unique device that can show in a few seconds what the blood sugar level is – the blood glucose meter.

How does the blood glucose meter

Before the invention of this device, the life of a patient with type 1 diabetes was a real struggle. He had to visit the clinic very often, take a blood sugar coupon, stand in a line and go to the doctor again with the result. However, glycemia is a very variable parameter, it changes many times during the day: it rises after eating and decreases on an empty stomach. A single measurement can not reflect the true picture of the disease: in the morning the blood contains normal sugar levels, and in the evening the patient may end up in hospital with hypo- or hyperglycemic coma.

However, today patients with type 1 diabetes can easily determine the glycemic index at home, and this procedure takes them only a few minutes. The glucometer helps them with this, which every person suffering from this disease must have. Its advantage is that you can take it with you and take measurements at work, on vacation, on a business trip or a guest. It does not take up much space in your purse or pocket, modern models are light and allow you to remember the last few results.

The essence of the work of the meter is as follows: it converts the amount of capillary blood glucose into electric current, and that is reflected on the screen in the form of a specific numerical indicator. Special sensors, which include platinum or silver electrodes, are applied to the surface of the test strip, and they provide the conversion of the chemical reaction of glucose oxidation into voltage or current (it depends on the type).

How to check blood sugar for glucose meter

The process of determining blood glucose levels using a glucometer is very simple. After a little training, even children can conduct it, since type 1 diabetes is not such a rarity in pediatrics, and parents cannot spend the whole day next to their baby. With the start of school attendance, he must master this procedure on his own in order to detect dangerous states in time – hyper- and hypoglycemia. 

The rules for determining the level of sugar with a glucometer are as follows:  

  • you must first wash your hands with clean water and soap,
  • take the device out of the package, put it on a flat surface and turn it on,
  • remove the new test strip and insert it into a special hole in the device,
  • if the meter requires you to specify a specific numeric code, then you need to do this (it is on the package with stripes),
  • capillary blood stands out very badly from frozen fingers, so it’s worth warming them up a little before measuring,
  • after that, a special scarifier needle needs to make a puncture of the skin of any finger (better than the nameless one, but this is not critical),
  • after that, a drop of blood should be applied to a specific area of ​​the test strip,
  • wait for the measurement result, which can be seen on the display after a few seconds (from 10 to 60),
  • After the procedure, the test strip must be thrown out (it cannot be reapplied).

The measurement can be made as many times as necessary, but doctors recommend that patients with type 1 diabetes do it at least 4-6 times a day. During the selection of new types of insulin or after a serious condition (hypo-or hyperglycemic coma), determination should be made more often before the indicators reach the target level.

Where to buy a blood glucose meter

Every person with type 1 diabetes, who recently had the disease, should ask the doctor: “Where to buy a blood glucose meter?”. Today this device is available in almost any city. It can be purchased at a regular pharmacy or ordered online. However, by itself, a blood glucose meter without test strips is useless. Therefore, it is necessary to purchase a set of these accessories along with it, although usually there is a small jar with 10-20 stripes in the package with a new blood glucose meter.

The cost of these devices is different: there are budget options, and there are very expensive ones. They usually differ in the presence of various additional options, appearance , design, memory size, etc. They produce special “children’s” models that are adapted for young patients; created for the elderly with vision problems. In any case, the choice should be approached seriously and it is best to ask where to buy a blood glucose meter from your district endocrinologist. You should not order frankly cheap models on Internet sites of dubious reputation: savings can be very expensive.

You need to know that for a specific glucometer only certain test strips are suitable, so if their cost is very high, then you should give up this device in favor of a more budget one, because you will have to buy them all the time.

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