Posts Tagged ‘ Blood sugar testing ’

What is Diabetes Mellitus?

No, Diabetes Mellitus is not some exotic new form of diabetes. Diabetes Mellitus is the medical term for diabetes. Thanks to our 20th century lifestyle, Diabetes Mellitus or diabetes as it is more commonly called is one of the most common diseases in the United States and it is estimated that over 16.5 million Americans have Diabetes Mellitus.

Diabetes Mellitus is fatal!

If Diabetes Mellitus is almost as common as flue or cold, then do we really need to bother about it? The answer is yes because unlike common cold, Diabetes Mellitus does not ebb and go away after the mandatory 7 days. If Diabetes Mellitus is left untreated it quickly becomes fatal. In fact, Diabetes Mellitus is one of the contributors to premature deaths in the United States.

What is Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic disorder that occurs when insulin produced in our body is either insufficient or cannot be utilized. Insulin of course is a hormone required by our body to convert starches, sugar and other foods into energy that we use for our day to day activity. Even when we sleep or just sit in one place and think we utilize energy. People suffering Diabetes Mellitus therefore have high levels of unutilized or un-metabolized blood sugar (glucose) in the body. Therefore, on the one hand they have very low levels of energy and on the other hand, they have high levels of glucose. Energy starvation caused by Diabetes Mellitus leads to shut down of the body (comma) and ultimately death.

Just as our body temperature needs to be maintained at a constant 98.6° Fahrenheit, our blood glucose level too needs to be maintained within a very narrow range. There is a complex mechanism that does it but the chief controllers are insulin and Glucagon.

There are three main types of Diabetes Mellitus or diabetes:
Type I diabetes, Type II diabetes and Gestational diabetes

Why is Diabetes Mellitus more prevalent in modern times?

The first two forms of Diabetes Mellitus i.e. Diabetes Type I & II are called lifestyle diseases because they are triggered by what we eat, when we eat and our activity levels. To a lesser extent, Type II diabetes can also be triggered by depression, tension or trauma.

Over the past few years our lifestyles have changed dramatically. We now have machines in the kitchen and house, machines that get us to work and machines at the place of work. Diabetes Mellitus is more prevalent in modern times because on the one hand our physical activity level has dramatically reduced while on the other, we’ve been enticed with unhealthy food including but not limited to; deep fries, ice creams, chocolates, pizzas and mouth watering pastries.

Do people with Diabetes Mellitus lose weight?

People with untreated Diabetes Mellitus will lose weight. When the body is unable to obtain energy from glucose, it finds an alternate solution – break down fat and protein and convert it into energy. The drop in the person’s weight can be quite dramatic and extremely unhealthy.

Check out for Type 2 diabetes information and What is high blood sugar

Discover the symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes

When glucose begins to accumulate in our blood stream a series of symptoms of diabetes will be manifested. While these symptoms of diabetes may not conclusively proof diabetes, the presence of any of the symptoms of diabetes should logically lead you to do a blood glucose test.

Early Symptoms of DiabetesThe instant we hear that someone in our family has diabetes we begin to worry and with sound reasons too after all, diabetes is very hereditary. This blog gives you a clear bird’s eye view of the symptoms of diabetes.

Essentially there are three types of diabetes – (1) Pre-diabetic stage (2) Diabetes Type 2 and Diabetes Type 1

You are Pre-diabetic if your blood sugar is a bit higher than normal and Blood glucose tests reveal that it happens on several occasions. Diabetes Type 2 is the next stage i.e. your blood glucose is habitually higher than normal either due to impaired insulin production or inability of your blood cells to utilize insulin. Diabetes Type 1 is when your body does not produce insulin leading to accumulation of glucose in your blood.

So is blood sugar testing the only means to find out if we are diabetic or not? Fortunately no, so let’s take a look at the symptoms of diabetes beginning with Pre-diabetic and diabetes type 2. I have combined these two because the symptoms of diabetes for both stages are the same. The classification of Pre or Type 2 depends on the severity and state of your Pancreas.

Symptoms of Pre-diabetic and Diabetes Type 2:

Symptom of diabetes 1: Fatigue

Have you been feeling increasingly fatigued lately? Here’s what happens; normally your body metabolizes glucose and converts it to energy which in turn powers up your activity. If you body cannot metabolize glucose then fat is metabolized into energy. This alternate method however is not efficient and the body goes in negative calorie effect, which results in fatigue.

Symptom of diabetes 2: Thirst

As the concentration of blood sugar increases, the brain triggers a thirst signal in an effort to get you to drink water and dilute the excess sugar in the blood. If you were drinking an average three glasses of water a day and now instead you have been drinking 5 or more glasses than you should seriously consider a blood glucose test.

Symptom of diabetes 3: Excess urination

Tied in with symptom 2 of diabetes is increase in the number of times you need to urinate. Excess intake of water results in excess urination. At this stage the urine essentially is secreting the excess sugar. It tends to be dark yellow.

Symptom of diabetes 4: Excessive hunger

In an all out effort to control the sugar level, your Pancreases will increase the production of insulin. Insulin however, apart from breaking down glucose in the blood also triggers sensation of hunger.

Check out also for Blood Glucose Test for Diabetes and Control blood glucose levels

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.

Check it out for Type 2 diabetes information blog and Type two diabetes symptoms

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.

Check it out for Diabetes blog and Blood glucose monitoring system

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