Posts Tagged ‘ blood sugar meters ’

How to Test Your Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetic or not, most adults in the US (and these days teens too) have at some point in time or the other done a blood glucose test. We all know that blood glucose test is meant to test for ‘sugar’ in the blood. But is blood really sweet? In my article today, allow me to give you a ball park overview of what exactly is a blood glucose test.

A blood glucose test can be done at home with a good quality blood glucose tester or glucose test meters (sold over the counter by most drug stores) or at a medical testing facility or clinic.

insulin syringesIf you are visiting the clinic for a blood glucose test then I recommended that you fast – eat or drink nothing other than water for at least 8 hours prior to the test (hence it is called the fasting blood glucose test). Obviously therefore, the best time to do a blood glucose test at a clinic would be early morning.

Is the blood sweet?

We need energy for everything – even when we are asleep and busy dreaming we need energy. Energy is primarily obtained from Glucose. Glucose in turn is manufactured by our body from the food that we eat. Each organ in our body needs glucose and so the body uses the blood stream as the best way to transport glucose around.

Too much electrical current or too little of it can ruin your precious digital gadget. As with everything in life, in blood too, there is an optimal level of glucose. Anything above or below the optimal level causes severe problems. Think of the blood glucose test as a blood glucose monitors that indicates the current level of glucose in your blood.

Once you arrive at the medical clinic, a small blood sample is drawn from a vein in the arm. The standard practice is to put 50% in one tiny sterile bottle and the remaining in another tiny sterile bottle. This is so two tests can be done to verify the results. In reality, most clinics that do a blood glucose test only perform a single test. A second test is done only if the supervisor feels the results of the first test are unrealistic.

A second blood glucose test is done through blood glucose test strips an hour after your lunch. The procedure is identical to one done in the morning.

The results

70 ~ 99 mg/dL (3.9 to 5.5 mmol/L) would be the normal reading for fasting blood glucose test

100 ~ 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) would indicate impaired fasting blood glucose (an indication of pre-diabetes stage).

126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) and more would usually call for at least one more round of testing before pronouncing the person as a diabetic.
Blood Glucose Test is also known as : Fasting blood sugar (FBS), Blood sugar; Fasting blood glucose (FBG), Blood glucose, Fasting plasma glucose (FPG), Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT), and Urine glucose.

Typefreediabetes offers a full line of diabetic testing supplies, including; body fat analyzer, durable diabetes medical equipment, and insulin syringes and facts about diabetes. Typefreediabetes offers quality products at discounted prices on a wide selection of quality name brand equipment and supplies.

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Fasting as a way to avoid diabetes?

A group of doctors did a study on 200 Mornons in the state of Utah who fasted regularly (as part of their culture). The results were compared with other individuals (non-Mornons) that didn’t fast and found remarkable differences. Specifically, X-ray scans revealed normal arteries in about half of the Mornons who fasted v/s narrowed arteries in 75 per cent individuals who didn’t fast.

One of my clients came to my clinic with this magazine clipping that more or less encouraged fasting as a way to avoid diabetes and several other diseases. The research conducted by a team of doctors seemed to suggest that fasting halved the chances of getting diabetes.

The test group did not take any nourishment other than water for a period of 24 hours. All individuals were administered a series of health checks and were monitored even when they did not fast. The tests revealed that during the fasting stage, significant amounts of human growth hormone were released. The human growth hormone triggers metabolism which in turn burns fat. During the fasting stage, cholesterol levels also shot up but returned to pre-fasting stage after the fast was over.

I for one have a serious problem with the so called conclusion of this research. I admit that fasting would trigger release of human growth hormone but how effective is that in losing fat? Just as refilling your gas tank will fill up empty spaces in it, so too when you eat the next day after you fast, any little fat that might have been lost is replaced. This is a known fact. As for differences in the arteries, there is simply no evidence that fasting alone had anything to do with it. Let us not forget that the Mornons live life differently. They do not eat like we do. And even in their case, over 40% showed reduced artery width. So to draw conclusions on the basis of just one factor i.e. fasting would in my book, be ridiculous.

Fasting – hype or a home run?

In all my years of providing service and advice to the community, I’ve never advised fasting as a means of reducing weight or as a means of achieving other imagined benefits. Remember when you fast, the body is starved of nutrition. It sources its nourishment internally until food is again available. Once food is obtained, the first task the body does is to replenish the stocks of energy that were utilized during the fast.

Fasting as a body cleanser

Again, there isn’t an iota of scientific evidence that fasting switches the body into some kind of self-cleaning mode or that fasting allows our organs to recuperate. If that were so, our genes would have programmed individual organs including the heart, to shut off from time to time.

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Blood Glucose Test for Diabetes – Reference Ranges

Most diabetics will be familiar with the terms blood glucose, blood glucose test, blood glucose level and blood sugar meters, but what does blood glucose really mean? Why do blood sugar levels need to be controlled?

If you’ve done a blood glucose test through glucose testing meters and the lab technician has highlighted some of the results or marked them with an asterisk, you probably want to know what constitutes a normal, below normal or abnormal blood glucose test results. So today let us discuss blood glucose tests reference ranges.

The result of any blood glucose test in a clinical lab is compared to a “reference range”. This simply means that the result of the blood glucose test must be considered in the context, without which the test is meaningless. To interpret what is normal for you, the doctor must know what is considered normal for people of your age and what activity was done before the test was conducted. For example, when you receive the results of your blood glucose test, your doctor might say something like, “Your blood glucose test was out of normal range.”

blood sugar meters

So, what is a reference range and what can be considered “normal”? Some laboratory tests give a simple yes or no result. Suppose you had a test done for strep throat, the result of the test would show if you have the infection or not. But most other tests are not so simple in that the meaning of the result will depend on the context. The lab report for your blood glucose test for example, will typically show your result followed by the reference range. This reference range is established by testing a large group of healthy people and study what appears to be ‘normal’ for them.

The normal fasting blood glucose level is about 70-99mg/dL or 3.9 to 5.5mmol/L. So if your blood glucose test result reads 100-125mg, ref. range 70-99mg/dL, it means that your blood glucose level is above the normal range. When the doctor in the example above said your blood glucose test was above the normal range, he is referring to the normal blood sugar level in context with the normal reference range for fasting blood sugar. Blood sugar levels above the normal range usually indicate a medical problem. If your blood glucose tests consistently show high levels of blood sugar, it may signify a pre-diabetic stage.

There are however many factors affecting your blood glucose test results. It could be factors like anxiety or stress, excessive intake of alcohol, caffeine, etc. Therefore, it is essential to take the blood samples in a standardized fashion. Hence, it is important to comply with the doctor’s instructions to prepare for your blood glucose test, like coming in first thing in the morning to draw the blood through high quality blood glucose meters before eating anything. This ensures that your blood sample is close to the parameters of the reference group, which is crucial for the accuracy of the test results.

blood glucose meters

Although your blood glucose test report may show the result in comparison with the reference range, your doctor will need to interpret those results in relation to your health status and physical evaluation based on his personal knowledge of your medical history. He would need to determine if the result falling outside the reference range does indeed mean something significant for your individual health status or not.

Also known as: Fasting blood sugar (FBS), Blood sugar; Fasting blood glucose (FBG), Blood glucose, Fasting plasma glucose (FPG), Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT), Urine glucose and blood glucose tests.

Typefreediabetes offers a full line of diabetic supplies, including; heart rate monitor watch, sugar free candies, delivered prepared meals, durable diabetes medical equipment, and body fat scales and facts about diabetes. Typefreediabetes offers quality products at discounted prices on a wide selection of quality name brand equipment and supplies.

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Blood Glucose Test for Diabetes – Home Testing

One Touch Ultra Blood Glucose Test StripsUsually after having done a blood glucose test at a clinical lab and being diagnosed either as a diabetic or borderline diabetic, we are advised to carry out regular blood glucose tests and the best way to do so is right at home. Any drug store will have a number of brands and models of blood glucose testers or glucometers. The most common and reliable type of blood glucose testing kit includes a meter (called the glucometer), a lancing device commonly known as the ‘lancing pen’ (used to extract a tiny drop of blood), and glucose test strips.

If you are using the glucometer for the first time, you need to locate the ‘coding strip’ in the test strip container. Insert this coding strip into the special slot (usually on the side of the glucometer). The coding strip calibrates the glucometer. This exercise has to be done every time you buy a new supply of blood glucose test strips.

When you are ready to do your blood glucose test, clean your hands and use the lancing pen to prick your finger. Extract a drop of blood and place it on the round (usually red) spot of the testing strip. Next, place the strip into the glucometer – the part with your drop of blood on it should go in first. The gadget will display your blood sugar level in about fifteen seconds or less. Generally, blood sugar testing is done around meal time; before, and after. It is also usually done before going to bed. However, the timing of the test and frequency differs from patient to patient depending on the recommendation of the doctor and severity of the disease. Remember before each blood glucose test; you need to insert a new lancing needle into the lancing pen. You also need to use a new blood glucose test strip every time you do a blood glucose test.

Latest models of glucometers allow you to record and store this data for future analysis. However, you could lose the stored results of your blood glucose tests if you remove the batteries from the glucometer. Glucometers or Blood sugar meters are available at most local drug stores. There are varieties of blood glucose monitors available in the market today. Some of them include software kits that can retrieve past information of your blood glucose tests and use it to project results in the form of charts and graphs. There are others that enable you to do a blood glucose test with blood from sites other than the finger tips or ones that use lasers to draw blood and so on. Based on my conversation with my clients, I feel the simplest types of Glucometer work well and give reasonably accurate blood glucose reading.

Generally, fasting blood sugar is said to be too high if it is 180 mg/dL or more and too low if it is less than 70 mg/dL. In case your blood glucose test results sugar levels over 180 mg/dL for more than a week or if it shoots up to 300 mg/dL at two consecutive readings along with other symptoms of high blood sugar, then it is time to pay the doctor a visit. Similarly, if your blood sugar level goes below 70 mg/dL more than once in a week, consult your doctor.  He will then suggest changes in your diabetes management plan which could include a change in medication, meal plan or exercise program.

Blood Glucose Test for Diabetes is also known as: Fasting blood sugar (FBS), Blood sugar; Fasting blood glucose (FBG), Blood glucose, Fasting plasma glucose (FPG), Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT), Urine glucose and blood glucose tests.

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Portion Control – The Right Amount of Food

Incontinence products for womenIncontinence products for women
Americans with Type 2 diabetes eat too much food and exercise too little. Studies indicate that diabetic Americans not only eat too much food, but we have a poor picture of the right amount of food. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are specific portions of certain food groups that everyone needs to eat every day in order to stay healthy.

Portion control is understands how much a serving size is and how many calories a serving contains. Portion control is important for weight management as the weight is defined by the total calorie intake. Healthy diabetes meal plans, using Aristotle’s philosophy, is the desirable middle between the extremes of excess and deficiency (over-eating and not eating enough), the “golden mean.” Portion control is eating a healthy diabetic diet meals balance of amount and types, of varied foods.

If you’re overeating, you’re not the only one – and you may be able to point at least a portion of your finger at the restaurant industry, which commonly serves two, three, and four times the recommended portion of food per meal.

Not sure whether or not you’re eating more than the correct portion? The FDA recommends an average of 2700 calories per day for men and 2000 calories per day for a mildly active male and female respectively.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So when you are about to devour the content of that large plate consider that a 180 pound person burns an average of 100 calories per mile from walking by wearing diabetic shoes. That person has to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat. Calories can add up – rapidly. DO THE MATH! OK 35 miles!

Here’s a brief analysis of recommended portions for commonly over-eaten foods:

* Cheeseburger or Hamburger

The recommended portion for a burger is only 3 ounces, which packs in a light 261 calories and 12 grams of fat. However, the average burger is 7 ounces, which adds more than 600 calories and almost 30 grams of fat to your daily diabetic diet plan.

* Beer and Wine

The FDA recommends that each portion of beer be only 12 ounces (about the size of a can of beer). However, a draft beer may be around 15 ounces. The 12 ounce portion adds only 153 calories to your diet while the larger beer adds 195 calories. the good news, however, is that beer does not contain fat. Yet, it may contain carbohydrates (around 12 grams in 12 ounces.)

As for wine, you won’t receive any grams of fat, but you can save about 50 calories by sticking to the recommended 5 ounce portion (which is only 120 calories). The average glass of wine packs on 168 calories and is served at 7 ounces.

* Ice Cream

Everyone is entitled to a little sweet treat every now and then, right? Well, be sure to emphasize the “little” when it comes to the cold stuff. The average serving size for a cone or cup of ice cream is one cup. However, it’s recommended that you only consume half a cup of ice cream or low fat desserts in one sitting. Half a cup packs on 137 calories and about 7 grams of fat.

* Pancakes

Who doesn’t enjoy a leisurely brunch or breakfast that includes a tall stack? Well, if you’re trying to maintain or lose weight, then you’d better go for diabetic breakfast that includes short stack – the way short stack. The average restaurant serves four pancakes per order. However, the recommended portion is only two. Two pancakes still pack on a healthy amount of diabetes carbohydrates (around 48 grams) and may cost you about 172 calories. Better yet – go for whole wheat pancakes that will reduce the glucose spike in your blood stream.

* Bagel

Next time you order a bagel to go, make sure that you only take about half of the bagel with you at a time. The average serving for a bagel is five inches across. However, it’s recommended that you only eat a three-inch bagel if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight by checking through body fat scales. Cutting your bagel in half may save you about 200 calories.

Typefreediabetes offers a full line of diabetes supplies, including; incontinence products for women, diabetes socks, delivered prepared meals, durable diabetes medical equipment, Lancing devices and facts about diabetes. Typefreediabetes offers quality products at discounted prices on a wide selection of quality name brand equipment and supplies.

Check it out also for Blood sugar monitors and Blood sugar meters

Incontinence products for womenIncontinence products for women

Controlling the portion size

Portion Control PlateI’m Deborah Susan, a dietician and personal trainer specializing in nutrition and physical fitness for diabetics. I’ve written over three dozen blogs covering various aspects of diabetes including symptoms, monitoring, explaining glycaemic index, carbohydrate counting, and correlation between body weight, lifestyle and diabetes and so on.

How often have you been told that to reduce your body fat (and thereby gain control over your diabetes), you need to cut down on your portion sizes? My clients always come back and tell me they have difficulty keeping control over portion sizes especially of foods that they love. Today, my blog will be on guiding you on how best to achieve and maintain that ideal portion size.

Over the years, manufacturers of food products (large scale and retail), have gradually increased the portion size of the food they package. The usual tactic is to initially offer a certain additional portion as “free” before gradually increasing the size of the package on a more permanent basis.

I remember about five years ago, when I used to purchase a bag of chips for my 5 year old son, the quantity of chips would be barely sufficient for him. Today when I see the bag of the same brand of chips at the local mall, it can easily feed at least 3 people. When you open a bag of chips they will turn soft in a couple of hours. A single person buying a bag of chips will therefore finish it all as quickly as possible.

Complete Wade Place SettingEarlier, restaurateurs and manufacturers of food products were guided by moral and ethical values. They were aware of food that was tasty but bad for health and therefore marketed it in small quantities just so it satisfied our craving for it. Today, the modern generation restaurateurs and manufacturers are guided by greed and the need to outperform the previous year’s revenue figures. While pop-and-mom establishments do exist, businesses have gone beyond the neighborhood food outlet; in fact, they have gone national and in many instances even global. These businesses have gone public and have a large shareholder base clamoring for higher profits. Ethics and consumer health be damned.

If you are presented with a larger portion of your favorite delicacy will you refuse? Therein lies the crux of the problem. Every food item bought and sold in the supermarket, mall, diner or local restaurant is a favorite for someone or the other. He or she wouldn’t mind eating a little extra. The problem is, over the years the ‘little’ has grown into gigantic portions.

So how do you control the portion sizes?

•    When you buy prepackaged food items, share it with at least two other people or, depending on the nature of the item, store 2/3rds in the fridge/air tight container.
•    While eating out, you can either request that the portion size be decreased, or pack away the excess food in the take-out container or simply leave it in the plate. You don’t have to eat everything that is put in front of you.
•    At home, if you feel that the portions have grown in size, I recommend you purchase quality portion control plates, bowls and scoopers. Portion control plates bowls and scooper will not only help regulate quantum of food consumed it will also help you in eating the right types of food.

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Dining Out with Diabetes

Mediterranean Diet and DiabetesMany Diabetics feel overwhelmed when they first start dining out after being diagnosed with Diabetes. After all, dining out removes some of the control you have over what ingredients and options you have for your diabetic meals. However, learning the dining out ropes may seem intimidating at first, but once you have a handle on it, dining out can be a true pleasure – and a relief if you spend much of your time in the kitchen.

As a recently diagnosed Diabetic, you should keep in mind that the principles of good nutrition are still in effect. Therefore, just because the menu offers high sugar options doesn’t mean that you should compromise your nutrition standards for the restaurant. Even if the menu does not offer items that are particularly low in sugar, you can (and should) always request that the chef take special care with your diabetes diet recipes. After all, your health is on the line! Many restaurants have special recipes for customers wishing to order sugarfree desserts or sugar free recipes. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask.

What to do when dining out:

•    Fried foods are tempting appetizers. However, most menus also offer fresh fruit, seafood or soup options. Select the Salmon seafood or soup.
•    When ordering eggs at breakfast, avoid scrambled eggs or eggs that could be mixed with butter or cream. Instead, opt for a boiled or poached egg.
•    Always ask for the dressing on the side. Many restaurants also offer sugarfree desserts in addition to traditional deserts or dressings.
•    Choose whole-grain breads when ordering rolls, crackers and biscuits. If whole-grain breads are not options, avoid eating breads made with refined flour.
•    Select brown rice over white rice.
•    Look for vegetables that come raw, steamed, stewed or boiled. Otherwise, make sure that the vegetables are not cooked with high-fat oils and butter.
•    Select lean meats, such as meats ending in “loin” (tenderloin, sirloin). Always ask for the gravy or sauce on the side of the dish.
•    For dessert, order fruit, yogurt or sugar-free ice cream. Though it may be tempting, unless there are other sugar free desserts on the menu, stick with the item with the lowest sugar level.
•    Never drink soda. Always opt for diet beverages, unsweetened tea or water.
•    Eat small portions (like you may at home, and take a doggy bag.)
•    Even when dining out, remember that you may have a special diabetes meal planning. Stick to it.
•    Don’t forget to take your medication. Grilled Fish Meal
•    Fat free doesn’t mean sugar-free. When in doubt, ask your waitress or chef for ingredients, or simply skip the item.
•    Plan to take some of your food home, even before eating. That way, you will avoid over-eating.
•    Approach buffets very carefully – start with a salad, take as much vegetables as you would like, avoid those croutons; tuck in the tomatoes; some sunflowers seeds, with no-fat or low-fat dressing and make that your first course. On the return trip, have more salad or follow the above guidelines for your entrée course.

For diabetic dessert, try the fruit. Remember some buffets, use canned fruit with sweetened juices, watch those; too much sugar. Fresh fruit is always best and they generically have those around the salad bar as well.

Dining out can often is a huge relief for families in which one person has Diabetes, but not everyone. When you dine out in such a situation, everyone can feel comfortable ordering foods that they enjoy and no one has to worry about cooking diabetic delivered prepared meals in addition to a meal that the whole family will crave. Keep in mind that by remembering your nutrition basics, you can eat large, very healthy diabetic diet meals without having to feel guilty. Bon Appétit. Enjoy.

Typefreediabetes offers a full line of diabetic testing supplies, including; incontinence products, men’s diabetic socks, delivered prepared meals, durable diabetes medical equipment, diabetes carbohydrates and facts about diabetes.  Typefreediabetes offers quality products at discounted prices on a wide selection of quality name brand equipment and supplies.

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