September 12, 2013
Is There a Best Way, Part 5
This is almost a repeat of a blog I did back on November 9, 2011, but I hope that I have a few new thoughts of benefit to my readers. For those with type 2 diabetes and on oral medications, affording the extra test strips may be a hindrance, but if you are able to afford them you will be better off if you are having problems managing your diabetes. Therefore, most of this is aimed for people newly diagnosed or recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes whether you are on oral medications or on insulin.
Eating to your meter shortly after diagnosis is very important. We have all read this, but have you really tested this? Eating to your meter can be very beneficial in helping you manage your blood glucose. For those with type 2 diabetes and on oral medications, this is a philosophy you almost must adopt to manage diabetes effectively. Counting carbohydrates is even more important so that you learn how to manage the food intake to get the greatest efficiency from your diabetes medications.
Even being on insulin this is important to make your diabetes management more effective and hopefully reduce the amount of insulin you will need to inject. The medications you are taking will only manage so many carbohydrates effectively and then you start to lose control. This then becomes more important to know what your blood glucose meter is telling you about the quantity of food you consumed. Using your meter also can indicate which foods you need to severely limit and which you can consume or may need to eliminate altogether from your menu.
Most of you will probably need to have a good discussion with your doctor about the number of test strips your medical insurance will over. Most doctors are able to write a letter that will get coverage for extra test strips for up to six months before the insurance will stop covering them, but not Medicare. The important discussion with your doctor is the reason and length of time you want the extra test strips. Extra test strips may not be available if your doctor will not write a letter to your insurance company. Occasionally, you as the patient will need to make a call to your insurance to negotiate for extra test strips. It would be in your best interest of diabetes health to make the plea to your insurance company.
On limited test strips, eating to your meter may be very discouraging because you do not have a lot of information to guide you. That is one reason, I suggest that if you can afford it for a few months, buy extra test trips. The extra testing supplies will give you confidence in your carb counting and portion of food intake. It will also make it easier to determine what foods are best left off the menu.
There are various plans discussed for those on limited test strips so you will need to work with what works best for you. A food log after diagnosis is also an aid that many people just do not understand the need to keep. I can attest to how many times this has told me why my postprandial blood glucose levels were higher than they should have been and what I did not do. The important part is not lying to yourself, but keeping accurate logs. I record my log at the end of each meal and record the carbohydrate count before starting the meal.
Knowledge is power, and therefore knowing what each test is telling you, watch for trends in fasting blood glucose levels and use your meter to learn more from pre-meal testing to tell you about your prior meal. If you can afford extra test strips for a month or two, learn that you do not want your pre-prandial and postprandial readings to increase more than 40 mg/dl if possible. You should also develop an exercise regimen with your doctor's approval to help get your blood glucose numbers to become the best for you.
If you do have trouble with managing your blood glucose levels, give insulin a consideration and study about it before the need arises.
Read a couple of other articles about eating to you meter here and here. Before reading the second article, please locate this conversion chart and page down to glucose. For many of the readings you will need to divide by the conversion factor.