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Checking your sugars


A little research information that you should know is that we actually have data to show that patients who regularly check their blood sugars do better than those who do not. These patients are more aware of their own patterns, how food and exercise affects their sugars and are overall better able to deal with their diabetes.{{more}} While it seems like a burden, by checking your sugars you actually put yourself in the driver’s seat and become more knowledgeable about what your body is doing, instead of guessing or being totally in the dark. The more you know, the more chances you have of making a positive impact on your health.

Now I admit, checking your sugars can become quite a pain, literally. Remember, I had to check my blood sugars quite frequently (6-8 times a day) for several months during my pregnancy, so I know that fingers can get sore. There are a few things that you can do about this:

1) Speak with your doctor about the optimal frequency for checking and try to come to an arrangement. For instance, there are patients in whom I really needed to get many sugars during the day to see what their pattern would be, but I did not want to ask them to do this everyday. So I asked them to check their blood sugars before and after each meal for three days a week, every week. I got my information, and they did not have to do this everyday.

2) Rotate fingers. We have a tendency to use the same two or three fingers every time but you can try others even if it feels odd. It will help a great deal.

3) Speak to your doctor about getting a glucose meter that allows you to use other sites on the body. For example, many Freestyle meters allow you to use arms, thighs, legs and the backs of your hands in addition to finger sites. And the blood sample you need is very small. This may of course depend on what is being stocked in the pharmacies, but it does not hurt to ask.

4) Use the shallowest depth on your lancet that will still give you a good enough stick. Often the depth of the drive of the needle can be adjusted on your lancet device, so experiment a bit. Sometimes all you need is a very shallow stick to get the blood you need.

Last piece of advice: for all of you who are having frequent lows, or any history of passing out from lows. PLEASE check your blood sugars before driving. Your life, and those of others, may depend on this one act that takes all of 3 minutes to do. And if you feel strange while driving, PULL OVER as soon as you can. Nothing is as important as getting to your destination safely.

Chin up! I admit this is one of the areas of diabetes care that sometimes needs the most gumption, but you have it in you. This is necessary for your care. Your doctor needs to see these numbers and so do you.

Until next week, take care, Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227