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How Does A Blood Sugar Test Work?

Blood Glucose Monitoring Devices

Blood Glucose Monitoring Devices

What does this test do? This is a test system for use at home to measure the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood. What is glucose? Glucose is a sugar that your body uses as a source of energy. Unless you have diabetes, your body regulates the amount of glucose in your blood. People with diabetes may need special diets and medications to control blood glucose. What type of test is this? This is a quantitative test, which means that you will find out the amount of glucose present in your blood sample. Why should you take this test? You should take this test if you have diabetes and you need to monitor your blood sugar (glucose) levels. You and your doctor can use the results to: determine your daily adjustments in treatment know if you have dangerously high or low levels of glucose understand how your diet and exercise change your glucose levels The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (1993) showed that good glucose control using home monitors led to fewer disease complications. How often should you test your glucose? Follow your doctor's recommendations about how often you test your glucose. You may need to test yourself several times each day to determine adjustments in your diet or treatment. What should your glucose levels be? According to the American Diabetes Association (Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2011, Diabetes Care, January 2011, vol.34, Supplement 1, S11-S61) the blood glucose levels for an adult without diabetes are below 100 mg/dL before meals and fasting and are less than 140 mg/dL two hours after meals. People with diabetes should consult their doctor or health care provider to set appropriate blood glucose goals. You should treat your low or high blood glucose as recommended by your health care provider. How accurate is this test? The ac Continue reading >>

Diabetics Can Now Test Their Blood Sugar Levels With A Mobile Device

Diabetics Can Now Test Their Blood Sugar Levels With A Mobile Device

People living with diabetes have to prick their fingers to check their blood sugar levels anywhere from one to seven times a day. But now, there’s a better way to monitor blood sugar. This week, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first at-home, needleless system for continuously monitoring glucose for people with diabetes. The system, called FreeStyle Libre Flash, and manufactured by the DC-based Abbott Laboratories, allows users to forgo finger-pricking for up to 10 days at a time. The Flash is essentially a small, circular plastic sensor that sits on top of the skin and detects blood sugar from a small wire that goes under the skin beneath the sensor. People can insert themselves using an applicator that works sort of like a rubber stamp. Once people have applied the sensor on their arms, they can wave a mobile device a little smaller than a smartphone in front of it to read glucose levels. It takes about 12 hours for the wire to become adjusted to the person’s body, but afterward the device takes continuous data that tracks blood sugar over time for over a week. Afterward, you peel the sensor off slowly, and apply a new one. Ideally, this would encourage people with diabetes to check their blood sugar more routinely, Jared Watkin, senior vice president of Abbott’s Diabetes Care unit, told Reuters. Often, people will forgo checking their sugar levels as often as they should because finger pricking can be such a nuisance. Right now it’s only marketed for adults, but the company hopes to receive approval for children under 18 as well. Abbott already has one needle-free blood sugar monitoring system available for the public called the FreeStyle Libre Pro. However, users have to make a special trip to the doctor’s office to have the wire placed und Continue reading >>

Blood Sugar (glucose) Test Strips

Blood Sugar (glucose) Test Strips

How often is it covered? Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers some diabetic test supplies, including blood sugar test strips as durable medical equipment (DME). Who's eligible? All people with Part B who have diabetes are covered. Your costs in Original Medicare If your supplier accepts assignment, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount, and the Part B deductible applies. Medicare pays for different kinds of DME in different ways. Depending on the type of equipment: You may need to rent the equipment. You may need to buy the equipment. You may be able to choose whether to rent or buy the equipment. Medicare will only cover your DME if your doctors and DME suppliers are enrolled in Medicare. Doctors and suppliers have to meet strict standards to enroll and stay enrolled in Medicare. If your doctors or suppliers aren’t enrolled, Medicare won’t pay the claims submitted by them. It’s also important to ask your suppliers if they participate in Medicare before you get DME. If suppliers are participating suppliers, they must accept assignment. If suppliers are enrolled in Medicare but aren’t “participating,” they may choose not to accept assignment. If suppliers don't accept assignment, there’s no limit on the amount they can charge you. Competitive Bidding Program If you live in or visit certain areas, you may be affected by Medicare's Competitive Bidding Program. In most cases, Medicare will only help pay for these equipment and supplies if they're provided by contract suppliers when both of these apply: Contract suppliers can't charge you more than the 20% coinsurance and any unmet yearly deductible for any equipment or supplies included in the Competitive Bidding Program. You may need to use specific suppliers for some types of diabetes testing sup Continue reading >>

How To Test Your Blood Sugar

How To Test Your Blood Sugar

To check your blood sugar level, gather your blood glucose meter, a test strip and your lancing device. Watch the video below or follow the steps outlined here. See how to prepare the meter and test strip, lance your finger and get a reading using the Accu-Chek® Aviva Plus system. The steps are similar for many meters, and generally look like this: Wash and dry your hands—using warm water may help the blood flow.1 Turn on the meter and prepare a test strip as outlined in your owner's booklet. Many Accu-Chek meters turn on automatically when a strip is inserted. Choose your spot—don't check from the same finger all the time. Using the side of the fingertip may be less painful than the pads.1 Prepare the lancing device according to the user guide provided, then lance your fingertip or other approved site to get a drop of blood.2 Touch and hold the test strip opening to the drop until it has absorbed enough blood to begin the test. View your test result and take the proper steps if your blood sugar is high or low, based on your healthcare professionals' recommendations. Discard the used lancet properly. Record the results in a logbook, hold them in the meter's memory or download to an app or computer so you can review and analyze them later. For meter-specific instructions on how to test your blood sugar levels, visit the Accu-Chek Support page for your meter. Continue reading >>

The A1c Test & Diabetes

The A1c Test & Diabetes

What is the A1C test? The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months. The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin test. The A1C test is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research. How does the A1C test work? The A1C test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. In the body, red blood cells are constantly forming and dying, but typically they live for about 3 months. Thus, the A1C test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher a person’s blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent. Can the A1C test be used to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes? Yes. In 2009, an international expert committee recommended the A1C test as one of the tests available to help diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.1 Previously, only the traditional blood glucose tests were used to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes. Because the A1C test does not require fasting and blood can be drawn for the test at any time of day, experts are hoping its convenience will allow more people to get tested—thus, decreasing the number of people with undiagnosed diabetes. However, some medical organizations continue to recommend using blood glucose tests for diagnosis. Why should a person be tested for diabetes? Testing is especially important because early in the disease diabetes has no symptoms. Although no test is perfect, the A1C and blood glucose tests are the best tools available to diagnose diabetes—a serious and li Continue reading >>

Home Blood Glucose Test

Home Blood Glucose Test

Test Overview A measures the amount of a type of sugar, called glucose, in your blood at the time of testing. The test can be done at home or anywhere, using a small portable machine called a blood glucose meter. Home blood sugar testing can be used to monitor your blood sugar levels. Talk with your doctor about how often to check your blood sugar. How often you need to check it depends on your diabetes treatment, how well your diabetes is controlled, and your overall health. People who take insulin to control their diabetes may need to check their blood sugar level often. Testing blood sugar at home is often called home blood sugar monitoring or self-testing. If you use insulin rarely or don't use it at all, blood sugar testing can be very helpful in learning how your body reacts to foods, illness, stress, exercise, medicines, and other activities. Testing before and after eating can help you adjust what you eat. Some types of glucose meters can store hundreds of glucose readings. This allows you to review collected glucose readings over time and to predict glucose levels at certain times of the day. It also allows you to quickly spot any major changes in your glucose levels. Some of these systems also allow information to be saved to a computer so that it can be turned into a graph or another easily analyzed form. Some newer models of home glucose meters can communicate with insulin pumps. Insulin pumps are machines that deliver insulin through the day. The meter helps to decide how much insulin you need to keep your blood sugar level in your target range. Why It Is Done A home blood glucose test is an accurate way to measure your blood sugar level at the time of testing. If you have diabetes, testing your blood glucose levels at home provides information about: Your Continue reading >>

How And When To Test Your Blood Sugar With Diabetes

How And When To Test Your Blood Sugar With Diabetes

Most people with diabetes need to check their blood sugar (glucose) levels regularly. The results help you and your doctor manage those levels, which helps you avoid diabetes complications. There are several ways to test your blood sugar: From Your Fingertip: You prick your finger with a small, sharp needle (called a lancet) and put a drop of blood on a test strip. Then you put the test strip into a meter that shows your blood sugar level. You get results in less than 15 seconds and can store this information for future use. Some meters can tell you your average blood sugar level over a period of time and show you charts and graphs of your past test results. You can get blood sugar meters and strips at your local pharmacy. Meters That Test Other Sites: Newer meters let you test sites other than your fingertip, such as your upper arm, forearm, base of the thumb, and thigh. You may get different results than from your fingertip. Blood sugar levels in the fingertips show changes more quickly than those in other testing sites. This is especially true when your blood sugar is rapidly changing, like after a meal or after exercise. If you are checking your sugar when you have symptoms of hypoglycemia, you should use your fingertip if possible, because these readings will be more accurate. Continuous Glucose Monitoring System: These devices, also called interstitial glucose measuring devices, are combined with insulin pumps. They are similar to finger-stick glucose results and can show patterns and trends in your results over time. You may need to check your blood sugar several times a day, such as before meals or exercise, at bedtime, before driving, and when you think your blood sugar levels are low. Everyone is different, so ask your doctor when and how often you should chec Continue reading >>

Blood Glucose Testing

Blood Glucose Testing

The term “blood glucose” generally refers to the amount of glucose in your blood. Blood glucose testing is done when a healthcare provider needs to see if a person has diabetes, or how well they are managing their diabetes. People who are diagnosed with diabetes need to check their blood glucose often to make sure their diabetes is in control. To diagnose and monitor diabetes, healthcare providers test plasma glucose levels or the percentage of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in your bloodstream with a laboratory test. People who have diabetes test their plasma glucose with a portable meter at home. Both the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and HbA1c tests are used to diagnose diabetes in non‑pregnant adults. For an accurate diagnosis, all results must be confirmed by a second test on a different day. Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) Test A plasma glucose (PG) test measures the amount of glucose in the liquid part of your blood — called the blood plasma — rather than the amount of glucose in your whole blood. In the United States, plasma or whole blood glucose are measured in milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL. For the FPG test, you will need to fast (not eat or drink anything except water) for at least 8 hours before your test. A sample of your blood is taken at your healthcare provider’s office and analyzed in a lab. The FPG test measures the amount of glucose (sugar) that stays in the blood even after going without food for at least 8 hours. A high number is a signal that your body isn’t making enough insulin to remove glucose from your blood stream. HbA1c Test This test can be done any time during the day and you do not need to fast. Like the FPG, a sample of blood is taken at your healthcare provider’s office an analyzed in a lab. An HbA1c test measures the Continue reading >>

How Do Glucometers Work?

How Do Glucometers Work?

Through a pinprick several times a day — but what if diabetics could tell their blood-sugar levels anytime, by glancing at a tattoo?… Monitoring blood sugar levels is a pain for the diabetic — both figuratively and literally. Several times a day, they prick a finger to obtain a blood droplet and apply it to a plastic strip that’s inserted in a glucometer — a hand-held device that tells them if their glucose level is high, low, or right on target. It’s usually the job of the pancreas to keep track of sugar levels and to secrete glucagon and insulin to keep them at 100 or so milligrams per deciliter of blood. But for diabetics — either because their pancreas doesn’t function properly or because their body can’t process the hormones it secretes — glucose testing is a do-it-yourself proposition. And a crucial one. Blood-sugar checks show if it’s time to inject a few units of insulin — or grab a lifesaving snack. That’s where the glucometer comes in. “Current glucometers use test strips containing glucose oxidase, an enzyme that reacts to glucose in the blood droplet, and an interface to an electrode inside the meter,” explains Michael Strano, the Charles and Hilda Roddey Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT. “When the strip is inserted into the meter, the flux of the glucose reaction generates an electrical signal,” he says. “The glucometer is calibrated so the number appearing in its digital readout corresponds to the strength of the electrical current: The more glucose in the sample, the higher the number.” Periodic tests via glucometer play an important part in the diabetic’s treatment plan, but current models fall short in giving a true picture of glucose fluctuations in real time. “The complications of diabetes st Continue reading >>

Blood Sugar Testing: Why, When And How

Blood Sugar Testing: Why, When And How

Blood sugar testing is an important part of diabetes care. Find out when to test your blood sugar level, how to use a testing meter, and more. If you have diabetes, self-testing your blood sugar (blood glucose) can be an important tool in managing your treatment plan and preventing long-term complications of diabetes. You can test your blood sugar at home with a portable electronic device (glucose meter) that measures sugar level in a small drop of your blood. Why test your blood sugar Blood sugar testing — or self-monitoring blood glucose — provides useful information for diabetes management. It can help you: Judge how well you're reaching overall treatment goals Understand how diet and exercise affect blood sugar levels Understand how other factors, such as illness or stress, affect blood sugar levels Monitor the effect of diabetes medications on blood sugar levels Identify blood sugar levels that are high or low When to test your blood sugar Your doctor will advise you on how often you should check your blood sugar level. In general, the frequency of testing depends on the type of diabetes you have and your treatment plan. Type 1 diabetes. Your doctor may recommend blood sugar testing four to eight times a day if you have type 1 diabetes. You may need to test before meals and snacks, before and after exercise, before bed, and occasionally during the night. You may also need to check your blood sugar level more often if you are ill, change your daily routine or begin a new medication. Type 2 diabetes. If you take insulin to manage type 2 diabetes, your doctor may recommend blood sugar testing two or more times a day, depending on the type and amount of insulin you need. Testing is usually recommended before meals, and sometimes before bedtime. If you manage type 2 Continue reading >>

What Is The A1c Test? How Does A1c Relate To Blood Glucose?

What Is The A1c Test? How Does A1c Relate To Blood Glucose?

Anyone with diabetes will be familiar with finger-prick testing for monitoring blood glucose to see how well they are managing their disease. This kind of regular testing is essential for most people with diabetes, but what role does an occasional hemoglobin A1C blood test play in controlling blood sugars, and how does it work? Contents of this article: What is the A1C test? The abbreviation A1C is used in the US (sometimes with a lower-case 'c' - A1c) and is short for glycated hemoglobin (sometimes called 'glycosylated' hemoglobin or glycohemoglobin). The other abbreviations in use are: HbA1c (widely used internationally) HbA1c Hb1c HgbA1C. The A1C test is a blood test used to measure the average level of glucose in the blood over the last two to three months. This test is used to check how well blood sugar levels are being controlled in a person with diabetes and can also be used in the diagnosis of diabetes.1 Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells which is responsible for transporting oxygen around the body. When blood glucose levels are elevated, some of the glucose binds to hemoglobin and, as red blood cells typically have a lifespan of 120 days, A1C (glycated hemoglobin) is a useful test because it offers an indication of longer term blood glucose levels.2 The particular type of hemoglobin that glucose attaches to is hemoglobin A, and the combined result is call glycated hemoglobin. As blood glucose levels rise, more glycated hemoglobin forms, and it persists for the lifespan of red blood cells, about four months.2 Therefore, the A1C level directly correlates to the average blood glucose level over the previous 8-12 weeks; A1C is a reliable test that has been refined and standardized using clinical trial data.3 There are two key things to know about the appl Continue reading >>

How To Check Your Blood Sugar

How To Check Your Blood Sugar

There are two primary ways to figure out your blood sugar: a blood glucose meter and a continuous glucose meter. Almost everyone with diabetes will be encouraged to get a blood glucose meter. Those with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes with hypoglycemia unawareness (where you can’t tell if you have low blood sugar) may use a continuous glucose meter. How to Check Your Blood Sugar on a Meter Checking your blood glucose requires three things: a blood glucose meter, a test strip, and a lancing device. Here are the typical steps: Wash your hands to ensure you have no sugary residue on them. You want to check your blood sugar, not the sugar content of the apple you had for a snack. Insert a test strip into the meter. Use the lancing device to get a drop of blood. Touch the end of the test strip to the drop of blood. It will magically “drink up” the drop of blood. See the result on your meter’s screen. Any blood glucose meter supports checking on your fingertips. Some meters support checking on alternate sites. If you think you have a low blood sugar, are about to drive, are feeling unwell, or during or after exercise–always check on your fingertips since blood sugar numbers when checking from your arm or another site may lag behind those using your finger. Alternate testing sites can lag up to 30 minutes behind. Here is a video from the Mayo Clinic demonstrating how to check your blood sugar: It helps to rotate your fingertip sites so areas on your fingers don’t get too sore. Changing your lancet regularly helps decrease pain when pricking your finger. Try pricking your finger off center. Pricking right in the middle of your finger or too much to the side generally hurts more. It helps to shake your hand at your side before checking to help coax the blood out. Continue reading >>

Glucose Tolerance Test

Glucose Tolerance Test

A glucose tolerance test can show when the body can't manage blood sugar (glucose) levels well but not yet to the stage of diabetes. What is a glucose tolerance test? A glucose tolerance test checks how well the body processes blood sugar (glucose). It involves comparing the levels of glucose in the blood before and after drinking a sugary drink. The results of this test can help doctors to detect type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance). It is also used to help diagnose diabetes in pregnancy. How does a glucose tolerance test work? In most people a simple blood test is enough to detect diabetes. However, some people have 'borderline' results on routine blood tests and then a glucose tolerance test may help. Also, a glucose tolerance test can show when the body can't manage blood sugar (glucose) levels well but not yet to the stage of diabetes. This is known as pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance) and is a condition that can lead to diabetes. In healthy people, glucose levels in the blood always rise after a meal but they soon return to normal as the glucose is used up or stored. A glucose tolerance test helps to distinguish between this normal pattern and the patterns seen in diabetes and pre-diabetes. Prior to a glucose tolerance test you are asked not to eat for a certain length of time before the test. Then you drink a sugary drink. Normally, the body should quickly move glucose from the blood into the body's cells. This would reduce the amount of glucose found in the blood samples taken. If there is a problem moving glucose into the cells, glucose remains in the bloodstream. This shows as a higher level of glucose in the blood samples. When the results of the blood samples come back, doctors compare the level of glucose found in your blood Continue reading >>

A Diabetes Test You Can Do Yourself

A Diabetes Test You Can Do Yourself

Are you urinating more often, feeling very thirsty, hungry, or tired? Maybe you’re losing weight. You may have type 2 diabetes. To find out, you can make an appointment with your doctor and have your blood tested for the condition. Or you can go to the drug store, buy a blood glucose meter, and give yourself a diabetes test. An estimated 40 percent of adults with type 2 diabetes don’t know they have it, which means they aren’t getting treatment that could protect them from very serious health problems down the road, such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, and kidney failure. The best option is to go to a doctor if you’re having symptoms of diabetes. But if you’re reluctant to do that, for whatever reason, the next best thing is to buy an over-the-counter diabetes test kit. "If you have a family history of diabetes, are obese, or have high blood pressure, you should test yourself for diabetes, if your doctor hasn’t already done so," says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports' chief medical adviser. "By being a proactive person, you might save yourself a lot of grief in the future.” Blood glucose meters can be purchased without a prescription. Models in our Ratings of more than two dozen devices cost $10 to $75. They usually come with 10 lancets, but you might have to buy a pack of test strips separately, which can cost $18 and up; check the package to see what it includes. If the meter doesn’t come with strips, make sure you buy a pack made for that model or you’ll get inaccurate results. Most models come with batteries. Here’s what you need to do next: Fast overnight. Don’t have anything to eat or drink (except water) for at least 8 hours, then test yourself first thing in the morning, before breakfast. Follow directions. Read the manual to ma Continue reading >>

Why Meters Can't Tell Us Our Blood Sugar Levels

Why Meters Can't Tell Us Our Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes advocate and author Riva Greenberg has been on a "meter accuracy kick" lately — researching the heck out of this controversial topic. Very timely considering I've been seeing loads of expensive TV ads for Accu-Chek's new Nano meter, claiming that it's "23% more accurate" (!) Riva recently published a piece at the Huffington Post on why meter accuracy is both less, and more, critical than you might think. Truth is, she tells us, meter accuracy is only one part of a much larger story. A Guest Post by Riva Greenberg After being lucky enough to receive an iBGStar meter from Sanofi the day before its launch, I ran a few comparison tests between it and the Bayer Contour USB, which I'd been using the past two years, and discovered that the iBGStar consistently gave me a reading 20-25 points higher. So I took out all my meters. There were several, (Sanofi studies show most people use 4 meters on average) and I even ordered two new free meters from FreeStyle. I checked my blood sugar several times on my collection of 7 meters (some think I was a little obsessed) and saw it was rare when two meters gave me the same number! Given that I feel like my meter is my lifeline, I wanted to find out how meters work and why different meters give different results. I talked with a number of Chief Medical Officers, MDs and Medical Safety Officers at several meter manufacturers and I'm going to tell you what I learned in layman's terms. To better understand the science behind meter and strip technology, you can google "meter accuracy" for white papers and posts that would delight even the geekiest engineer. To better know how accurate your own meter is (in percentage terms), you can "check the package insert that comes with the strips and look online at prescribing information," sa Continue reading >>

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