My Doctor Gave Me a Free Glucose Meter But It’s Making Me Angry!

by Cindy

Keep in mind that the information in this post applies to type 2 diabetes

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you cannot track your blood sugar without a home glucose monitor.  If you do not have a blood sugar machine, ask your doctor for a sample meter or contact manufacturers of glucometers as there are many programs available for diabetic patients to recieve a free glucose meter.  If you’re not sure which meter is best for you, check out our glucometer comparision chart for more information about many popular meters.

Hopefully by now you have your free glucose meter and enough blood glucose test strips to supply an army. Step one is figuring out how to use this new glucose machine!  Read on to learn more about how to use your glucometer to properly measure your blood sugar readings every day.

How to Use Your Free Blood Glucose Meter

Using your glucose meter, aka glucometer, correctly is an important part of managing your diabetes. By watching your sugars closely, you will better understand how food influences your readings.  Before you can even start monitoring your sugars gather the appropriate supplies:

  1. Glucose Monitor: Investigate the different glucometers that are available because blood glucose machinesare made by several different manufacturers and each may have different features. 
  2. Lancets: Lancets are tiny needles that you use to poke your fingertip and obtain the testing sample.  The testing sample (blood) is then applied to diabetic testing strips.
  3. Diabetic testing strips:  Blood glucose test strips are thin strips of paper that are inserted into the glucometer to produce a reading.  You must be sure that your strips are compatible with your machine! If you are not sure which testing strips you need, check out my glucometer compatibility chart for more information about selecting the right blood glucose test strips.
  4. Alcohol Wipes
  5. Small Notebook
  6. Band-Aids

Now you are ready to obtain a testing sample!  First wash your hands.  Next wipe the fingertip with a clean alcohol prep pad and allow it to dry.  You will then pierce the skin with a lancet and apply the sample to a diabetic testing strip.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to obtain your reading from your glucometer. Keep track of your readings in a special notebook.

High Blood Glucose
Creative Commons License photo credit: rachellynnae©

 

Learning What Your Glucose Readings Mean

Why am I getting such high blood glucose levels?

You are eating better and have even lost a few pounds. You have been diligent about testing as directed and have even kept a pretty accurate log of your results! You know your target values, but are frustrated because your readings are not something that you would be proud to share with your doctor.  You wonder, where am I going wrong?  Why are my sugars so high? Why can’t I get my hemoglobin a1c under control?

The amount of sugar in your bloodstream is largely affected by what you eat. The food that you eat contains complex sugars (carbohydrates) that are broken down into simple sugars, aka glucose.  Based on your daily test results you can see how your body responds to meals full of carbohydrates. More carbs equals higher readings.  There should be no big surprise there.  What your free blood glucose monitor fails to tell you is that are other things working against you!

Anything that you eat can potentially be broken down into glucose.

  • That means that even if you cut carbohydrates out completely, your body can still break fats and proteins down into glucose through complex chemical reactions.
  • Your best defense against this is knowledge! Set up an appointment with a certified diabetic educator or a dietician and devise a personalized dietary plan that meets your specific needs.

Your pancreas has been working overtime and it’s tired.

  • In other words, your body is not producing enough insulin to store the by-products of your meals. No matter how carefully you follow your diet, you will still increase blood sugar after meals and if there isn’t enough insulin there to store it, you remain hyperglycemic.
  • If your Hba1c indicates that your sugars are too high, reduced insulin secretion is partly to blame and medications may be prescribed to improve your home glucose meter readings.

Your liver is sabotaging your good efforts.

  • The breakdown of stored glucose within the liver can no longer be suppressed, resulting in release of glucose into the bloodstream.
  • The fight against your liver should enlist the help of medications, specifically Metformin, which is often the first choice medication for treatment of type 2 diabetes.

The cells in your body have a bouncer at the door.

  • Despite insulin’s best effort to store excess sugar in your cells, your cells are not letting much in. This is called insulin resistance and it is one of the key problems in type 2 diabetes. If glucose cannot get into the cells it remains in the bloodstream and contributes to elevated blood sugar levels.
  • Again medications can help improve how your cells process glucose but your best bet for reducing insulin resistance is weight loss!

How To Improve Your Blood Sugar Levels

Some days it may feel like that free glucose meter was given to you only to upset you.  Keep in mind that you are fighting more than just carbohydrates.  Now that you know what you are battling against, you can access the tools that can make a difference.

  • Compile a diabetic food list. Discuss a dietary plan with a certified diabetic educator and stick to your diabetic diet. 
  • Get moving! Even a daily walk can boost metabolism and help you lose weight. 
  • Set realistic weight loss goals. Even a small decrease in weight can have big payoff. 
  • See your physician regularly. Keep your follow up appointments and discuss your lab results and blood glucose levels with your doctor to determine if you need to start medication.
  • Don’t get frustrated!

Learn more about diabetes by exploring http://www.knowyoursugar.com

 

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