How do you monitor yourself when taking insulin?

People who have been diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes need to take insulin regularly to keep the blood sugar (glucose) level in control.  The goal of diabetes medication and insulin therapy is to maintain a normal blood sugar level and helping you stay healthy.

You are Not Alone!

Your healthcare team helps you manage your diabetes. Your diabetes doctor (Endocrinologist), diabetes nurse practitioner, dietician and exercise trainer – all these professionals are the members of your healthcare team.  For some people with diabetes, the team may include their primary doctor, an eye doctor and a dentist, depending upon the severity level of the disease and which organ is getting affected. But the most important member of your healthcare team is – You. Because you know how you feel. Every other member of your diabetes team is dependent on you for the information. The information that you provide helps your doctor in understanding how well is your diabetes controlled and decide how to proceed with the further treatment. Hence it is really important that you talk to them honestly and provide genuine information about how you feel.     

Self-Monitoring Blood Sugar

It is really important that you pay close attention to your body and how it reacts after taking insulin medication. People with diabetes have to regularly monitor their blood sugar levels with a glucose meter or glucometer. Insulin administration and blood sugar monitoring can be done by individuals through self-monitoring or assisted monitoring. Assisted monitoring may not always be possible. Hence it is important that individuals with diabetes complications learn to monitor themselves properly and gather information accurately.

SMBG vs. CGM  

Patients with diabetes can keep close watch on their blood sugar through a Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG) or Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system. SMBG provides information about blood glucose levels at a particular instance of time and is limited by the number of finger pricks a patient is willing to do per day. Self-monitoring of blood glucose provides a single reading for each fingerstick sample taken. On the other hand, Continuous Glucose Monitoring provides hundreds of glucose readings per day without having to prick your fingers and provides visual displays of glucose trends. These monitoring tools help in evaluating the effectiveness of current insulin doses, as well as the effect of diet and exercise on glucose levels. With this glucose trend information, your healthcare team is in a better position to identify glycemic patterns, adjust insulin and make an informed decision about your diabetes treatment.

Self-monitoring of blood glucose is very crucial for patients who take insulin because there will be day-to-day variations in blood sugar levels.  There are a lot of factors that cause this variation like insulin absorption rates, kind of food, exercise, stress level and hormonal changes, etc. In fact, whatever activities that you do throughout the day will have an effect on the glucose levels directly or indirectly. 

Maintain a Consistent Routine

The goal of insulin is to maintain a steady blood sugar level. It is recommended that you administer the insulin at a particular time every day, which may have been prescribed to you. Try to keep your sleeping hours consistent. It will help you monitor how insulin works in your body over a certain period of time.

 This cannot be emphasized enough! Your workout routine, types of foods, your meal timings- everything affects your blood glucose levels. You can predict your glucose levels by keeping track of your daily activities and maintaining a log. A proper and regular self-monitoring will not only help you in making the right decision about adequate insulin intake, but also avoid the possibility of having very high or very low blood glucose levels.

Monitoring and Managing Diabetes

Self-monitoring varies from person to person and is determined by diabetes type and prescribed treatment. Insulin absorption rate and for how long it remains active in the body also varies from one person to another. Your lifestyle and your daily activities will greatly affect how your body uses insulin.  Monitoring yourself will also avoid any chances of hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar) or hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar). High blood sugar over a period of time can severely harm organs like eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart. Similarly, too low blood sugar can cause tingling and numbness, blurred vision, seizures, confusion and headaches.   

Conclusion

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you monitor yourself regularly and if you notice any signs of high or low blood sugar, inform your endocrinologist immediately.  Monitoring blood sugar will let your doctor know whether your current treatment is effective in controlling your diabetes. If you have any questions between your doctor’s visits, write them down. Your healthcare team is the best source of information for all your questions and concerns related to your diabetes.

Managing diabetes is not an easy task. And what makes things more difficult is the rising cost of Insulin and other testing supplies. Fortunately, there are Insulin prescription referral companies like Insulact, which are helping individuals by providing low-cost and affordable insulin across the United States of America. You can avail Insulact’s cost-effective monthly subscription programs for diabetes management.    

 At this point in time, there is no diabetes cure, but it can be treated and controlled.  Hence, monitoring and controlling your blood sugar is the key to live a normal life.