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Diabetes: Methods of Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels

All across American, Diabetes Mellitus is a disease that is increasingly effecting a larger percent of the population. In Diabetes, the body does not properly use or process glucose, which is a type of sugar.

There are two main types of diabetes, which are different in the manner in which the body uses and processes the glucose.

With Type I Diabetes, the individual does not produce enough insulin to properly handle the glucose. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps take the glucose and turn it into energy.

Type II Diabetes, which is more common among those who are obese, is characteristic of an insulin resistance, in which insulin is produced by the pancreas, but the body is not able to properly use it.

While the treatment of these two types of diabetes will typically differ, maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise is important for treating both types of diabetes. It will also be important to regularly measure ones blood sugar level and take action when it is too high or too low.

Blood Tests

The most common way to check ones blood sugar level is to preform a blood test. This can be done in ones home by pricking a finger and testing a drop of blood. Children as young as 10 years old are able to preform this test on their own, with a number of blood glucose monitors available that greatly simplify the process.

In most cases, especially on a day to day basis, a direct blood test is the best way to check ones blood glucose level. This is because a blood test gives real time results, offering the exact level of glucose currently in the blood stream.

Usually, most diabetics will preform their own blood test at home, using a blood sugar meter. A blood sugar meter is a simple hand held device, which has a digital screen that shows the current blood glucose level. However, when you visit a doctor, they may also preform a blood test, but will often take an actual blood sample, as opposed to only pricking the finger.

Urine Tests

The other way to monitor ones blood sugar level is to preform a urine test. A urine test does not offer as precise of a blood sugar level and it also does not reflect as current of a result.

For those with Type I Diabetes, it will be likely to preform a blood glucose test 2 4 times a day. Those with Type II Diabetes might be able to test less frequently.

While the urine test is not as accurate for measuring blood glucose levels, they are very important for measuring the level of ketones in the blood. Ketones are a type of acid that can accumulate in the blood and urine if the body uses fat as a source of energy. This is common in those who are diabetic, because the body is not able to process glucose and instead uses fat. A high level of ketones can be very dangerous and results in ketoacidosis, which if not treated can cause diabetic coma. Ketoacidosis is an indication that the diabetes is not being properly controlled.

There are at home test kits that can be used to check ketone levels. These self test kits work similar to a home pregnancy test, by urinating on a test strip. The test strip then changes color, indicating the ketone level. Doctors will also regularly preform urine analysis to check ketone levels, but a doctor usually uses a urine sample.

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