Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Importance of the Dreaded Finger Prick

If you have recently been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes then I am sure that it has been explained to you that you the need to test your blood sugar.  One thing... it helps if you don't think of it as "testing", think of it as "monitoring".  There is a negative connotation to the word testing that can and will effect your mood. 

"Oh no, I have high/low blood sugar and I did everything I was supposed to.  What am I doing wrong?"  This or something like it is probably I said to myself once a day for the first month of monitoring.  The answer to my internal question/ self accusation is... probably I am not doing anything wrong.  It is just your body getting used to things... new hormones, new drugs, new eating schedule, etc.  Unfortunately, adjusting insulin and blood sugar levels is not an exact science.   

For the first couple of months I was monitoring about 8 times per day.  Before and after each meal as well as before bed.  Also, about once a week I would get up at around 3 a.m. to make sure I wasn't low.

It sounds like a lot but don't worry.

You only have to do the monitoring in the middle of the night for the first little while.  You will know sooner than later if you are having lows while you sleep.  It is important to know this as you do not want to go into hypoglycemia and not even know it!  Also, it is important to monitor before and after meals to understand that your insulin regimen is working.  Again, after a few months you can probably scale it back to monitoring just before meals and occasionally after meals.

I have a personal rule that I test everynight when I take my long lasting insulin at 10 p.m.  If my sugar is a little low then I have a small snack.  If my sugar is high then I know if I need a snack that I will have to take some short acting isulin with it. 

I also have a rule, (this one istituted by my loving wife) that I test before I drive.  I do think this is imperative as someone driving their vehicle when they are low is no different safety wise than someone driving drunk.  Safety first folks! 

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