Check Blood Sugar

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Why Tracking Matters

Checking your blood sugar and tracking your numbers is an important part of your diabetes care plan. Can help you make good day-to-day choices about what to eat, how much physical activity to engage in, and over time, can help you better understand how well your diabetes medicine is working Helps you avoid low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) Helps you see the changes in your blood sugar and can help you better understand how physical activity, what you eat, and stress affect your blood sugar levels Can help you and your diabetes care team make your care plan How often should you check your blood sugar? You and your health care provider will decide when and how often you should check your blood sugar. How diabetes affects the body is different for each person and changes over time. So, depending on what medicines you’re taking and your health care provider's direction, your blood sugar testing schedule may change. If you are taking non-insulin injections, you may not need to test your blood sugar every day. If you are taking insulin injections or using an insulin pump, you may need to check your blood sugar more often than if you were taking pills. Continue reading >>

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  1. Shokhet

    Diabetes is a חולי שיש בו סכנה, an illness that poses a danger to life1. As such, everything necessary for caring for diabetes must be done on Shabbos, even if it includes איסורי תורה. (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 328, Rambam, Hilchot Shabbos 2, שמירת שבת כהלכתה, ch. 32)
    However, if it makes no difference to the speed/efficacy in which care is provided, one should minimize the amount of חילול שבת, both in the amount of actions done, as well as in the severity of the prohibitions violated (Biblical vs. rabbinic). [Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa, 32:27-29]
    Therefore, blood sugar testing, which is a medical necessity for PWD (especially those with insulin-dependent DM), must be done on Shabbos, but the prohibitions violated should be limited.
    How should one check blood sugar on Shabbos, while minimizing Shabbos violations?
    1Whether due to hypo or hyperglycemia, both which can are preventable -- given that they are discovered before they happen, like by blood sugar check.

  2. Shokhet

    Since this is a how-to question, I will answer it with practical advice. Questions about the particular halachos mentioned in passing may be asked separately.
    Here's what I've been told to do, with illustrative pictures. Before changing anything about what you do personally, you should talk to both your rabbi and your doctor. What is written here is just practical advice, gleaned from years of experience (and conversations with Rabbi Hirsch Meisels).
    Step 0
    What are we dealing with?
    A: blood sugar meter (measures blood sugar levels)
    B1: strip container (contains strips)
    B2: testing strips (brings blood into meter)
    C: lancet (draws blood)
    Step 1
    Inserting strip
    In order to use the meter, the strip has to be inserted. Doing so turns the meter on, and possibly created a kli (vessel), as neither piece is usable by itself. As such, a shinui should be used to insert the strip into the meter.
    Meter with strip in it:
    Suggested shinui (insert halfway, and push against a table):
    Step 2
    Drawing blood ("lancing")
    Drawing blood to test is usually done by pressing the button on the lancet with a finger, like this:
    To replace this possible איסור דאורייתא (Biblical prohibition) with a שינוי (different way of doing it, considered halachically to be less severe), lancing should be done with a knuckle, like this:
    Anecdotally, I've used about everything, from elbows to forehead. (Yes, forehead :P )
    Step 2.5
    Squeezing blood
    Squeezing blood out of the wound (in case there is not enough from just the lancing) is problematic on Shabbos, due to the prohibition of dash (the weirdest form of squeezing liquid from solid you're ever likely to see), so it should be done with a shinui if possible.
    Regular squeeze:
    Suggested shinui: use the lancet
    Then put the drop of blood on the strip, like normal, and collect the result. Do not turn off the meter after use, because this serves no purpose on Shabbos (unless the battery will die, and this meter is needed for more tests over the course of Shabbos).

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