Approximately 20.8 million people in the United States, or 7% of the population, have diabetes. Furthermore, it is estimated that only 14.6 million of these people have been diagnosed with the condition, and the other 6.2 million are unaware that they have diabetes. Unfortunately, many people diagnosed with diabetes do not test their blood glucose levels on a daily basis—which puts them at higher risk for additional health problems related to the disease.
If you are one of the many individuals diagnosed with diabetes, you and your health care provider can effectively manage your condition through a diabetes care plan tailored to your needs. It is important that you understand how to manage your diabetes to prevent the complications associated with the disease, such as:
To reduce or prevent health problems associated with diabetes, it is important to control your blood glucose levels and follow your diabetes care plan. Your diabetes care plan includes healthy meal planning, regular exercise, and, if needed, taking medications—such as insulin if you have type 1 diabetes or oral medications and/or insulin for type 2 diabetes.
Why Is Consistent Blood Glucose Monitoring Important?
It is important to test your blood glucose at various times of the day, especially before and after meals. Testing before and after meals shows how the food you eat, your level of activity, and your medicine affect your blood glucose. Testing your blood glucose level after meals also is important because some foods, such as those high in carbohydrates, can cause a sudden rise in glucose. Knowing these values gives you and your health care provider valuable information to make adjustments, if necessary, to your care plan. Your health care provider will help you determine the desired range for your blood glucose levels for both before and after meals.
Recent studies have shown that testing your blood glucose after meals, also called postprandial testing, is important because high blood glucose levels after meals may increase the risk of developing long-term complications of diabetes. For example, these studies also suggest that there may be a link between high postprandial (after-meal) glucose levels and heart problems in patients with diabetes.
By regularly testing your blood glucose levels and keeping them within the normal range, you can significantly reduce the incidence, progression, and severity of long-term complications associated with diabetes.
Postprandial testing should be performed 1 to 2 hours after the beginning of a meal. It is important to test after meals because glucose levels can fluctuate greatly, depending on the amount of carbohydrate consumed. Postprandial testing will allow each individual to identify how much carbohydrate is appropriate for him or her at mealtime. It is important to remember that fingertip testing is recommended within 2 hours after a meal, because alternate-site testing can give inaccurate results when blood glucose levels are fluctuating.
Choosing a Blood Glucose Monitor That Makes Self-monitoring Easier and Hassle-free
New technological advances in manufacturing have resulted in blood glucose monitors that are small, portable, and efficient—which allows you to be more consistent about monitoring your blood glucose. These features make it easier to incorporate testing into your daily schedule, thus making routine self-monitoring an easier part of your day.
Roche Diagnostics, the manufacturer of the well-known line of ACCU-CHEK blood glucose monitors, offers 2 blood glucose systems that help make mealtime testing simple and accurate. The recently introduced ACCU-CHEK Aviva blood glucose system with innovative features is designed to help patients test right the first time and make every strip count. The new and improved ACCU-CHEK Compact Plus system offers all-in-one convenience and the least painful testing. The pain associated with testing blood glucose is the key reason why many diabetics do not routinely check their blood glucose levels. The ACCU-CHEK Aviva system includes the ACCU-CHEK Multiclix lancet device, and the ACCU-CHEK Compact Plus system includes the ACCU-CHEK Softclix Plus lancet device. Both lancet devices have been rated the least painful, when compared with other leading lancet devices. Both of these devices are specially designed to reduce the pain associated with testing. They have the unique feature of a patented cam-driven technology that controls the path of the lancet in and out of the skin tissue and allows for a clean stick. The camdriven technology of these lancet devices minimizes sideto- side movement and helps prevent unnecessary skin tearing, thereby making testing less painful.
The ACCU-CHEK Aviva and the ACCU-CHEK Compact Plus blood glucose monitoring systems have 2 unique features that allow you to flag your test results as well as set reminders for you to test. You can easily flag a result with the simple press of a button after your result appears. Flagging allows your health care provider to easily see patterns in your blood glucose levels over a particular period of time and to monitor your postprandial glucose results. The other key feature is the ability to set reminders to alert you about when to test—for example, around mealtime. When you use this feature on the ACCU-CHEK Aviva and the ACCU-CHEK Compact Plus systems, a beep will sound at the set time to help you remember to test.
Key Points for Blood Glucose Testing After a Meal
With diabetes, it is important to continually monitor blood glucose levels throughout the day. Effective monitoring is the best way to identify how meals affect your blood glucose levels and may help to reduce the incidence, severity, and progression of diabetic complications. Monitoring your blood glucose level around mealtime with the ACCU-CHEK Aviva system or the ACCUCHEK Compact Plus system could provide you and your health care provider with clinically significant information on how your medication and intake of food affect your blood glucose levels. It also allows your health care provider to evaluate your meal plan and make therapy adjustments, if needed.
Although the thought of checking your blood glucose levels several times throughout the day may seem overwhelming, the use of a monitor like the ACCUCHEK Aviva system or the ACCU-CHEK Compact Plus system can make this task easier because of the flagging and test reminder features. The ACCU-CHEK Multiclix and the ACCU-CHEK Softclix Plus lancet devices also make frequent testing less painful. These advances help make it easier for you to take control of your diabetes before diabetes takes control of you. Take charge of your diabetes by knowing the best times to test your blood glucose. Make those results work in favor of your health.
For more information on the ACCU-CHEK Aviva system or the ACCU-CHEK Compact Plus system, visit the ACCU-CHEK Web site at www.accu-chek.com.
Ms. Terrie is a clinical pharmacy writer based in the northern Virginia area.