July DSMA Blog Carnival


Blood glucose.  It’s front and center when it comes to diabetes.  It is how we get diagnosed and it is what we are trying to manage.  An important tool we use to manage our blood glucose is our meter and its strips.  But what happens if our meters aren’t giving reliable information?  Let’s explore that this month as we discuss a topic from the June 26th chat Fill in the Blank.  Weigh in on the following statement:

Test strip accuracy is important to me because______.

…because if they are not accurate then we are screwed!

Testing my blood sugars gives me a window into my health. It gives me an empirical/numerical value in which I can judge, and over time the blood sugar values can ultimately tell me how healthy I have been. Now certainly a high blood sugar every once in a while is nothing to stress about but it is still something I take note of and try to figure out what I did to make it high so I can log it into my mental diabetes database. I essentially like to keep track of a rough A1C day to day (CGM is wonderful for this). So of course having accurate testing devices is super important for me to have an accurate picture of my health.

One of the main things that frightens me is the knowledge that at some point in my life I could go blind or lose some fingers/toes or, hell, even lose a limb all because of diabetes. This really scares me. And because of this fear I try to always have complete control of my blood sugars. Its actually weird that high blood sugars upset me more then low blood sugars which are immediately dangerous. So having accurate test strips and glucose meters are crucial for me to know that I won’t have serious health complications due to diabetes or can at least prolong the diabetic health complications until I am way old and have health problems any way.

Since my diagnosis I have been using diabetes as a tool to live a more healthy life. Its my way of “looking on the bright side” of having diabetes. Pre-diagmonsis: I was very unhealthy. Never working out, eating too much crap, smoking cigarettes, and drinking too much too often; pretty much just being a stereotypical college guy. Post-diagnosis: I work out every other day, I heavily limit my sugar/carb intake, I don’t smoke, I rarely drink (and even more rarely over indulge); basically a complete 360 from where I was. And because I believe that my blood sugar testing equipment is accurate (or as accurate as possible) I know that the effort into being more healthy and controlling my blood sugars is not in vain.

So a simple answer to the original question: Test strip accuracy is important to me because I want to stay healthy.

“This post is my July entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2013/july-dsma-blog-carnival-3/

June DSMA Blog Carnival


This post is my June entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2013/june-dsma-blog-carnival-3/.  I participated in the May blog carnival so this will be my second attempt/second go at a DSMA Blog Carnival and hopefully you will enjoy this one as much as you liked my last one.

The prompt for June is:

Regardless of which type of diabetes you have – T1 T2 or T3 – you probably use one or more diabetes devices on a daily basis.   For this post, when we refer to devices we mean blood glucose meters, insulin pens or pumps, and all other diabetes medications.  This month we’re going to revisit the May 15th chat on Diabetes Devices and really think about what we use.  We’d like to know:

How do you select the diabetes devices you use?  To others looking into new or replacement devices, what would be your best advice to someone shopping around?

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I use the OneTouch Ultra 2 blood glucose meter and a OneTouch lancing device. They were the devices my doctor prescribed to me when I was first diagnosed, so I have not/did not shop around for any other glucose meters. I am unaware if there are other “better” ones out there, or if the one I have is top of the line, or if  there is even a big difference between glucose meters. That being said, I have zero complaints with the meter. It is very accurate (from what I can tell) and you do not need much blood for the test strips which is definitely a plus.The supplies might be a little pricey but I figure most all diabetes supplies are expensive.

Two other essential devices are my insulin pens. I have a pen of Humalog and a pen of Lantus and obviously as a type 1 diabetic, my insulin “devices” are very important to me. For those who don’t know, the Humalog is the insulin I use before meals to counteract the food I eat, and the Lantus I take once every day and it is my long acting (basal) insulin that keeps my blood sugar in check for 24 hour periods. Although within the next couple of days/weeks I will be getting the t:slim insulin pump so I will no longer be needing my pens except for emergencies if the pump breaks down or something. Now, I did shop around for other pumps (looked at brochures and watched videos) but the t:slim really stood out as the pump for me. The sales lady made it a point to address how the t:slim was designed by diabetics where as other pumps were designed by engineers with diabetics in mind. I think using a product that is for diabetics by diabetics speaks volumes about that product and how people with diabetes can benefit from it. I look forward to beginning my life as a pump user.

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Another device that I use and think very highly of is my Dexcom G4 CGM. For anyone who does not know, CGM stand for Continuous Glucose Monitoring. I wear a sensor in my abdomen which transmits my blood sugar levels every 5 min to the device shown above which plots it on a graph. It also tells me if my blood sugar is rising or falling too rapidly so I can react to it faster. I find this device almost invaluable and urge every person with diabetes to look into getting a CGM. The CGM has made me very much aware of my blood sugar trend and just how much food/insulin affects my blood sugar. And more importantly it made me aware that I was dipping low during the night and have since adjusted my basal insulin dose accordingly. I did a little research on other CGM’s but I felt Dexcom has the best system out and will have the best system in the years to come. Some of the brands of CGM take blood sugar readings every 20 minutes and have a start up time of 10 hours, while the g4 checks every 5 minutes and has a start up period of 2 hours. Those were big selling points for me. Although a potential negative I have found with wearing a CGM is that I feel naked and vulnerable if I have to go a long period of time with out it (which is not very often thank god).