Diabetes is a manageable condition, and everyone should learn or know how to test for diabetes at home. According to the American diabetes association, 37 million children and adults have diabetes in the United States.
Not many people have access to the knowledge of this incurable disorder; this article will unravel the tips and suggestions for how to test for diabetes at home and some care measures to regulate blood sugar levels.
1. What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a lifelong health condition in which your pancreas stops producing insulin or, even if it is producing in such a minimal quantity, it is not enough for the body to run efficiently.
In this condition, a person starts fulfilling the need from outside sources like taking multiple daily injections, insulin pumps, or even medication. A basic prerequisite in this condition is to keep track of your blood sugar level through constant blood sugar readings.
There are not only one but several types of diabetes, each requiring a different and special treatment plan. Some of the types are Type 1, Type 2, gestational diabetes, and prediabetes.
However all of them require a continuous glucose monitoring system, and lack of management creates a risk of heart disease, kidney failure, or even eye disease. Here we will learn how to test for diabetes at home.
2. How to Test for Diabetes at Home: Easy Ways
Diabetes can be detected in urine tests and blood sugar readings. Earlier, when the technology wasn’t that advanced, doctors used to rely on a urine test to check blood glucose levels, but as the technology got advanced and things got modified, doctors preferred to test blood for the same cause.
2.1. Blood Glucose Meter
With blood glucose monitoring devices available at any local pharmacy, it has become handy to check your blood sugar with just one finger prick. However, things can be rough if it is your first time.
Things to Take Care Of-
- Make sure that the test strip is not expired, or loose opened, they should be tightly packed in the air-tight box in which they come.
- Always keep a box of spirit-dipped cotton beforehand to wipe your finger from bacteria. You do not want any bacteria to create any more problems on your skin that can worsen in a diabetic body.
- Do not prick one finger every time, try to change fingers to prevent them from getting sore.
- You can apply any ointment after the prick if your finger gets sore from the test.
Freezing Finger Prick
The most common issue that almost every diabetic patient has faced at least once in their life is when you prick your finger but the blood isn’t ready to come out just yet.
Here, your costly strip gets wasted and you are left with a sore prick but no blood, no need to panic at that stage, we have got you covered.
What to do if there isn’t enough blood for testing?
Either the blood doesn’t come out or your fingers freeze in the chilling winters, at that time dip your fingers in warm water at least 5 minutes before testing.
Try to do some hand-palm exercising like ball squeezing or opening and repetitively closing your fist before you run to test your blood sugar readings.
Then gently squeeze your chosen finger after the prick and give it at least 3-5 seconds to allow the blood to flow.
Blood tests can be messy in managing diabetes, not to mention a costly procedure. But one should never take a health condition for granted; it is suggested here to consider a reliable diabetes test kit. Preferably the one that your health care provider suggests.
2.2. CGM Testing
Diabetes is a condition that requires continuous glucose monitoring and a health care plan. It is lifelong and hence that means a diabetic person is eventually going to be fed up with the constant finger pricking and test strip costs that sometimes aren’t even covered under insurance plans.
With technological advancements, science has developed Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices. It is similar to the pump, you will have to wear a patch that will be touched inside your body 24/7, and the glucose levels every five minutes will be in your hand, either through a mobile application or its device.
Some of the common CGM devices that are gaining popularity in the markets are DEXCOM and Freestyle Libre. it is a helpful technique to check blood sugar daily and this is considered a preferable technique to over-investing in test strips daily.
Order your Dexcom CGM now: https://www.dexcom.com/
How does it work?
CGM works through a tiny sensor that will be inside your body through the patch, either on the arm, belly, or thigh, it usually tests blood sugar every five minutes and makes you alert through beeps and notifications of the time.
Sometimes it is part of an insulin pump or sometimes you can purchase it on your own.
Is CGM successful?
CGM devices have made blood sugar home testing an easy method and have been proven much more helpful in managing diabetes.
For instance, once you take your long-acting insulin, usually in the evening, people suffer through sudden hypers and hypos in the middle of the night, which creates grave risks.
Now through CGM, you will be able to see the statistics of your blood sugar level whether it is going high or low and then work accordingly.
Plus factor of this device is that your numbers will be visible on your cellphone and on your loved one’s cellphone, too, so that all will be awarded of your situation.
2.3. Urine Tests
Earlier doctors used to test blood sugar numbers through urine as it was the only possible way to test at that time. But even today, it is advised to keep a check on your urine procedure and its colour because sugar levels can be indicated from your urine through its routine and colour.
The thicker and darker the colour of your urine, means you need to check your sugar level as it can be the risk of hyperglycemia, which is high blood sugar.
Also, if you feel thirsty often and are visiting the bathroom more than usual, it can indicate your high blood glucose level, especially at night; you need to be alert.
These little symptoms help test blood sugar at home. As you do not get access to your blood sugar meters all the time, these non-blood indication comes in handy.
2.4. Other Diagnosing Tests:
Some other helpful tests in diabetes are C-Peptide, HbA1c, or glycated hemoglobin, which gives you an average of 3 months of sugar level readings.
However, peer-reviewed studies have shown that self-monitoring is the best way to control diabetes effectively.
3. Reasons For Diabetes:
There are several reasons for this health condition, but certainly, eating a lot of sweets isn’t one of them. It can be found in family history and genetics which can be passed on to the offspring.
Some other factors include bad lifestyle habits, bad meal plans, and sometimes even heavy antibiotics that can damage your body’s internal system, resulting in diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes has several different symptoms; every other symptom indicates a different condition, which should be consulted by your healthcare professional.
Some of the common symptoms indicating the presence of diabetes in a person include frequent urinating, blurry visions, stomach aches, and muscle twitching.
Hyperglycaemia is a condition that means high blood sugar, the symptoms include, being very thirsty, needing to urinate often, irritability, stomach pain, hunger, and urge to puke.
Hypoglycemia, i.e., low blood sugar, symptoms of these include weakness fatigue, dizziness, blurry vision, shakiness, and anxiety.
That is why it is necessary to know how to test for diabetes at home.
4. Healthy Living with Diabetes:
Diabetes is an incurable condition, but it can be taken care of, and several people in this world are battling diabetes every day and becoming the best versions of themselves.
All they require is a little bit of caution and a roller coaster of motivation, but this condition requires consistency more than motivation. Consistency is the key to healthy living in diabetes.
Of course, everyone has got diabetes treatment plans recommended by their doctors but there are some measures that your doctor might have skipped to tell you and you can get educated about them here in this section.
- You need to watch your warning signs in every path of your life, whether it’s a racing heartbeat, leg cramps, or blurry vision.
- Keep a good ratio control of your portion size, nobody said you can’t have cake or chocolate if you are diabetic, of course, you can but you will have to measure the portion size.
- There is a myth that fruits do not have sugars and you can have as many of them, but you need to check for the glycemic index of your fruits before eating, watermelon is very low in calories but is very high in glycemic index.
- Watch for the carb: insulin ratio if you are on insulin injections or pumps. there is usually, 1:5 or 1:3 according to your requirement. which describes every unit of insulin per 5 carbs or 3 carbs. So, if you are consuming 10 units of carbs, you need to have 2 units of insulin in your system.
- Always keep a home blood glucose test at your home if you’ve got a diabetic at your place. the usual range of sugar levels in an average blood sugar level is considered between 90-150 mg dl. But numbers can vary from person to person.
- Home glucose monitors do not always reveal your exact blood sugar level. Always remember they tell you about an average of your level for exact testing, you will have to check through a lab under supervision.
Well, lifestyle changes are understandable,e but some changes should be included in the daily routine irrespective of any medical condition. These have been proven helpful to those at high risk of developing any like exercising regularly, proper water intake, and a comfortable sleep schedule. They help in the long-term control of your sugar levels.
Also check out: The 3 Most Common Symptoms Of Undiagnosed Diabetes: A Guide
Every day there are highs and lows. Multiple injections or a constant drip of an insulin pump. Every day there are health issues to deal with.
Every day disease has to be managed. It can not be cured. It may be silent to others but diabetes fights every day and all you usually see is their smile. If you know one, you know a hero.
There are several NGOs and organizations like the American diabetes association that are working toward making the lives of people easy to live with diabetes. Some of the common hurdles in this sector are very high costs of insulin and people with a lack of knowledge about their condition.
Not even the government gives subsidies or any insulin care covered in any insurance plan. The government needs to understand that insulin was created to support the lives of people with diabetes not to loot their pockets with high prices.
Diabetes is about saving lives every day, not getting a day off, falling, and getting right back up.
It’s appreciating the good, accepting the bad, and not letting diabetes control your life. It’s about saying, “My life is worth it, and I’m not going down without a fight”.
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