Most of the food we eat is converted to Glucose (sugar) in the blood. The body produces insulin which stores this Glucose. The amount of Glucose circulating in the blood should be kept down this way, by storing it away. Diabetes is a condition where either the body stops producing insulin (in which case, we replace it with manufactured insulin) or the body becomes resistant to the effects of the body’s own insulin (in which case we give tablets to help store the glucose away).
Avoiding sugary foods also helps keep the Blood Glucose level down to the normal range between 4 and 7.
If a diabetic is sick, the Blood Glucose level can rise, so it is important to keep on track with the tablets. If they aren’t eating, it is better to slightly reduce the tablets (or insulin injections, if you are on them).
Driving the Blood Glucose level too low, by not eating enough, can cause a ‘hypo’ which can cause you to faint. In this case, a sugar cube is a useful thing to have around!
Testing the urine with Diastix is one way of measuring the Blood Glucose; the amount of sugar in the urine (brown test result) usually mirrors the level of Blood Glucose. This is suitable for most Diabetics not taking Insulin.
For those diabetics taking insulin, testing the blood by finger prick is much more accurate. Generally, a Blood Glucose of over 15 is dangerous as it should be under 7.
If you're readings are reasonably predictable, there is no need to test 2-3 times per day. You can come and show Nurse Khristyne your log book for more strips when you need them, or write them down on your repeat request.
The PCT health authority has recommended we change monitors to GlucoRx for cost effectiveness; GlucoRx strips cost £10 per box. You ought to be able to buy a meter for £15, as a one off cost to you. If you have any difficulties, the chemist or Nurse Khrystine will be able to help.
If you are diabetic and a driver, you must inform your insurance company and the DVLA.
Diet is important. Foods with high Glycaemic index (GI) release the sugar too quickly and so will drive up your blood sugar too fast. But what goes up must come down! You are then left with a blood sugar that spikes up and down all the time.
For more information on diabetes, click here.