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Glucometer as health aide
Old 01-12-2015, 05:22 PM   #1
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Glucometer as health aide

I think I posted a few days ago that 20 years ago I was diagnosed as "pre-diabetic". I didn't really know what to do with that, other than worry. Then I did some reading and learned about handheld, consumer glucometers that have pretty decent accuracy. I found it hard to use them very much, because the finger sticks hurt. But recently I discovered a new type of lance device, called the Genteel. This may sound like a commercial for this device, and I guess in a way it is, but I dropped $115 on one and now I am able to get much more use out of my glucometer, because it no longer hurts. So I have been exploring more deeply how different foods affect my blood sugar, and also how exercise affects it. My BS rarely rises above 100 now, I think because I understand more about diet and exercise and the interactions between these two things. One thing is clear-for some people at least, the idea that just eat a reasonable amount of good food is likely false. The amount and type of carbohydrate in my meals makes a huge difference, as does the type, amount and timing of exercise. Yesterday, I had bacon and eggs for breakfast, tested 60' later and had a 92 glucose.(serum adjusted) Then I ate 1/4 of a small granny smith apple, waited 30' and tested. Sugar 104. Then I rowed 5km moderate effort on My Concept2, tested immediately and got an 84. By bedtime I have been testing from 70s to low 80s, so my greatest vulnerability to higher readings would seem to be morning, so my Rx for that is low carb breakfast followed by at least 1/2 hour of rowing, likely more. I have noticed that an equal length walk is not nearly as powerful a sugar lowering intervention as rowing. Walking, like to Trader Joe, or a coffee shop is better than sitting and reading the paper, but poor compared to rowing- at least for me.

The rowing is not hard for me to groove, especially since I have much less residual soreness in my hip than before. Extreme low carb is however not super easy. I am never tempted to binge, but I do love my little daily rewards. Still, I would like to see an A1C below 5, and that is not going to happen for me without extreme low carb or insulin- and I know where I stand on this question. ( I won't take oral meds other than metformin)

The issue is my willpower, and for me this is not the easiest thing in the world! But my sibs, my late father and several cousins and nieces and nephews all are or were diabetic, so I am highly motivated. My Dad did not have the advantage of a glucometer, but he believed in exercise so he did well in spite of being subjected to the usual horrible medical advice on treatment of diabetes. Until he died in his late 80s, not a day passed that he didn't do some meaningful walking or other exercise.

Ha
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:18 PM   #2
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Thanks, Ha, for telling us your story.

A few articles I have read have advised people in danger of getting diabetes and/or Alzheimers to get a blood sugar meter and use it figure out what foods are safe for them, and what foods aren't. I imagine the processed food industry is not anxious for people to start measuring their blood sugar level.
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:08 PM   #3
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I'm also pre-diabetic and use a glucose meter (Bayer Contour Next) to occasionally check my glucose levels. What are you're fasting glucose levels like? I find that my fasting levels, first thing in the morning, tend to be on the high side then it drops as the day goes on. I really haven't done any testing yet to see what the impact different foods might have. Since my cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure are all good my doctor monitors my glucose but doesn't seem overly concerned yet. I have lost about 15 pounds and do a lot of cardio/weights and have seen the numbers drop. You referred to your glucose level as 'serum adjusted'. What does that mean?
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:12 PM   #4
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Sounds like you are taking some intelligent steps to tackle the subtle details Ha. Keep up the good work!

I think it's important for us all to find ways to manage our afflictions and to use intelligent measurement techniques.
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by zinger1457 View Post
I'm also pre-diabetic and use a glucose meter (Bayer Contour Next) to occasionally check my glucose levels. What are you're fasting glucose levels like? I find that my fasting levels, first thing in the morning, tend to be on the high side then it drops as the day goes on. I really haven't done any testing yet to see what the impact different foods might have. Since my cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure are all good my doctor monitors my glucose but doesn't seem overly concerned yet. I have lost about 15 pounds and do a lot of cardio/weights and have seen the numbers drop. You referred to your glucose level as 'serum adjusted'. What does that mean?
Most of the older meters gave readings on whole blood glucose. All home meters measure glucose in whole blood (we usually don't have home centrifuges), but most or all of the newer ones adjust to serum values, which is what we get measured at the doctors office. When I first started measuring I applied an arithmetic adjustment, but now that is no longer necessary.

Plasma Glucose Meters and Whole Blood Meters | Joslin Diabetes Center

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Old 01-12-2015, 07:51 PM   #6
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Is there an advantage to readings in the 70-80's, versus just making sure you don't spike much past 100? I though the 100+ range was where the damage occurs?

Since I get a blood test every 6 months for cholesterol/statins (and I do question if I should be taking statins anyway, but that's another story), I find my fasting reading is in the 90's. But that is fasting, so I wasn't sure how I reacted to food. A local clinic was doing tests, so I had a regular lunch (moderate amount of carbs), and went in an hour later and reading was still mid 90's. Not enough data points, but it seems I'm OK. I should test a few more times. No diabetes history in the family.

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Old 01-12-2015, 07:58 PM   #7
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My levels have gone way too high lately.... and I am starting to take readings again....

I always have 'bad' readings in the morning... in the 130 to 150 range... One of the things that just does not compute is how it gets there... as an example... I ate a few nights ago.... had a 116 reading after dinner.... the next morning, without eating or drinking anything but water had a 153....


Looks like something interesting... wonder if insurance will cover some of the costs....
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Old 01-12-2015, 08:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
My levels have gone way too high lately.... and I am starting to take readings again....

I always have 'bad' readings in the morning... in the 130 to 150 range... One of the things that just does not compute is how it gets there... as an example... I ate a few nights ago.... had a 116 reading after dinner.... the next morning, without eating or drinking anything but water had a 153....


Looks like something interesting... wonder if insurance will cover some of the costs....
I think that comes from your liver, likely under cortisol stimulation. Your Doc may want to look into this. Readings in a doctors office of >126 fasting on at least 2 occasions are considered diagnostic of diabetes.


http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-c...s/con-20031902

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Old 01-12-2015, 11:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
My levels have gone way too high lately.... and I am starting to take readings again....

I always have 'bad' readings in the morning... in the 130 to 150 range... One of the things that just does not compute is how it gets there... as an example... I ate a few nights ago.... had a 116 reading after dinner.... the next morning, without eating or drinking anything but water had a 153....


Looks like something interesting... wonder if insurance will cover some of the costs....
What you're describing is called the "dawn phenomenon". When you wake up in the morning, your liver dumps some glucose into your bloodstream to provide energy to start your day. If your pancreas has lost enough beta cells over the years that it can't produce enough insulin to clear this glucose, you will have an elevated blood sugar reading. These elevated fasting readings are very common in Type 2 diabetics.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:25 PM   #10
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Is there an advantage to readings in the 70-80's, versus just making sure you don't spike much past 100? I though the 100+ range was where the damage occurs?
My understanding is the damage is caused by much higher readings than just 100+. Studies have indicated that if a diabetic can keep his A1c down to 6.0 (which is an average blood sugar of 126) his risk of diabetic complications is greatly reduced.
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Old 01-13-2015, 08:51 AM   #11
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Thanks for this info. I have no risk factors (no diabetes in family, I'm normal weight and am at the gym almost daily) but my fasting glucose is sometimes over 100. It was 92 at the last test. I do like candy, though! I'm careful about quantities and take good care of my teeth, but I don't think it takes many calories' worth of almost-pure sugar to cause a spike. If my next reading is over 100 I may get one of these devices and see how my body reacts under various conditions.
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:32 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
Sounds like you are taking some intelligent steps to tackle the subtle details Ha. Keep up the good work!

I think it's important for us all to find ways to manage our afflictions and to use intelligent measurement techniques.
+1

I'm proud of you Ha.

I'll keep that gadget in mind if I decide to monitor my sugar more closely. For now, I have it checked (and cholesterol) every six months by my doc.

A little over a year ago I was dangerously close to being labeled a diabetic. Since it runs in my family as well, I got serious and changed my lifestyle. I'm pleased to say due to a combination of diet, exercise and weight loss, my fasting sugar level (blood always taken in the morning) has dropped 31 points since November, 2013. My A1C level is now normal.
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:28 AM   #13
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+1

I'm proud of you Ha.

I'll keep that gadget in mind if I decide to monitor my sugar more closely. For now, I have it checked (and cholesterol) every six months by my doc.

A little over a year ago I was dangerously close to being labeled a diabetic. Since it runs in my family as well, I got serious and changed my lifestyle. I'm pleased to say due to a combination of diet, exercise and weight loss, my fasting sugar level (blood always taken in the morning) has dropped 31 points since November, 2013. My A1C level is now normal.
Thanks bbbamI, and I am equally proud of you.. That is a great result that you report.

Ha
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:10 PM   #14
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My understanding is the damage is caused by much higher readings than just 100+. Studies have indicated that if a diabetic can keep his A1c down to 6.0 (which is an average blood sugar of 126) his risk of diabetic complications is greatly reduced.
Reduced, but not eliminated. From what I've read, a sub 5.0 reading is where damage is eliminated. My last A1C reading was 5.1 - that took a lot of work to get there, and I'm still aiming to get below 5.
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Old 01-16-2015, 04:01 PM   #15
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I am thinking about checking my blood sugar periodically to see what raises it. I have never tested it before. Is there a particular brand of meter that is good or are they all about the same?
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Old 01-16-2015, 06:11 PM   #16
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I am thinking about checking my blood sugar periodically to see what raises it. I have never tested it before. Is there a particular brand of meter that is good or are they all about the same?
Not sure which one is the best are but I have a Bayer Contour Next and it seems to work well, can download your results to a PC. The meters are cheap to buy, it's usually the test strips that cost money so check that out before buying, and you need to use the test strips made for your device. The test strips do seem to have a relatively short expiration date so only buy what you'll need. I only test periodically and have probably tossed out more test strips then I've used over the past couple years.
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Old 01-16-2015, 06:15 PM   #17
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Not sure which one is the best are but I have a Bayer Contour Next and it seems to work well, can download your results to a PC. The meters are cheap to buy, it's usually the test strips that cost money so check that out before buying, and you need to use the test strips made for your device. The test strips do seem to have a relatively short expiration date so only buy what you'll need. I only test periodically and probably tossed out more test strips then I've used over the past couple years.

Plus one on this... I usually buy the strips on Amazon which is cheaper... You can buy a generic meter from Wal-Mart or a pharmacy and their strips are cheaper....
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:13 PM   #18
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My understanding is the damage is caused by much higher readings than just 100+. Studies have indicated that if a diabetic can keep his A1c down to 6.0 (which is an average blood sugar of 126) his risk of diabetic complications is greatly reduced.
+1.

the A1C test is a better indicator of diabetes control than glucose readings. It measures the average glucose in the blood stream over two months. Daily fluctuation in fasting glucose is normal.

I am a type 2 diabetic with 194 fasting glucose and 7.8 A1C at diagnoses 16 months ago with no family history of diabetes. I was on metformin for 6 months but through weight reduction, exercise and stress reduction since retirement my A1c is now at 5.3 with no medication. My doctor would like to keep it at 6 or below.

I use the OneTouch UltraMini meter every two weeks to check my fasting glucose and it's been averaging 95 over the last couple of months.
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:33 PM   #19
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+1.

the A1C test is a better indicator of diabetes control than glucose readings. It measures the average glucose in the blood stream over two months. Daily fluctuation in fasting glucose is normal.

I am a type 2 diabetic with 194 fasting glucose and 7.8 A1C at diagnoses 16 months ago with no family history of diabetes. I was on metformin for 6 months but through weight reduction, exercise and stress reduction since retirement my A1c is now at 5.3 with no medication. My doctor would like to keep it at 6 or below.

I use the OneTouch UltraMini meter every two weeks to check my fasting glucose and it's been averaging 95 over the last couple of months.
Congratulations on your great progress!!
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Old 01-17-2015, 12:19 PM   #20
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I was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes in 2005 and have been checking my glucose level every 3 days or so ever since. I get my A1C checked a couple of times each year and take metformin daily. I watch my diet and I exercise over an hour/day about 5X week.

Even though I have this disease, and will always have it, I have never felt so healthy in my life. I attribute this to my attention mostly to sane diet and regular exercise/ activity. Life is good to me.
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