Your Glucose Meter Is Your Best Friend
It does not lie.
It gives you a good idea of what foods you can safely eat and the best times to eat them.
It’s always there to warn you if you’re eating foods that give you high blood glucose (BG) readings.
It will be there to remind you that you can’t cheat and pretend that all is ok.
If you keep a record of your blood glucose (BG) results then over a period of months you will get a good idea of what foods to avoid and thus get good blood glucose control.
There are those that say that most if not all blood glucose meters are not very accurate. It’s true that there is quite a variation between different makes of meters and this can be confusing. However rather than take what the meter says at face value it’s better to look at trends. So if your BGs (or blood sugars as it’s also called) starts trending upwards then that is a wake up call. It it trends downwards then that means you’re probably eating the right foods and your BGs are getting under control.
Good control means a lower risk of getting complications such as blindness, kidney failure, high blood pressure and neuropathy (pain in hands feet etc).
But what is good control and how will I know when I achieve it?
This is where your trusty Blood Glucose Meter comes to your rescue. It’s best to test yourself two hours after each meal. Note what you eat in a journal/diary and also the BG reading.
If your reading is greater than 8.0 (144 in USA) then check what carbs were in that meal as this is the upper limit of what you should achieve.
If greater than 6.5 (117 USA) that is ok but not ideal
Which means the ideal is to be under 6.5 (117) for a reading two hours after a meal.
Is this tough to achieve? Yes it can be so I suggest the best way is to reach that target gradually without beating yourself up on the way.
Some doctors claim that type 2 diabetics don’t need to use test strips and that the once or twice yearly HgA1C* (or A1C) test is all the information that is needed. This test is an average of BG levels over a period of three months. However there are two problems with this test. As it is an average it won’t show up large swings of high and low blood glucose although this probably mainly applies to type 1 diabetics it still could be a concern. Also because it’s not a regular form of testing there is little incentive for diabetics to watch or even care what they eat on a day to day basis as there is nothing to remind them of the consequences.
Not testing yourself regularly is like flying an aircraft without any navigation systems. In other words you go through life having no idea what effect different types of food have on you. Then one day it’s too late as your doctor tells you you have devastating complications.
So your meter is not only your friend but your guardian.
It guards your life.
But only if you let it.
In my next post I’ll write about good carbs and bad carbs and how they may affect your blood glucose levels.
*More about HgA1C or as it’s sometimes known A1C.
“What is the A1C test?
The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months. The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin test. The A1C test is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research.”
With A1C test you should aim for below 7% (154mg/dL). This may take a little time but with a little planning of what to eat and what carbs to avoidy you should be able to get there.
One adavantage of A1C is that it can give you an indication that your BG meter is over reading or indeed under reading. For instance if your A1C test is lower than your average weekly or monthly BG meter readings then it may be that your meter is over reading. Same if the A1C is higher than your average meter readings then your meter may be undereading. In these cases all you need to do is note the variation to find out the true reading.