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Thursday, October 16, 2014

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    Check your blood sugar every day. Because the potentially harmful effects of diabetes are triggered by elevated blood sugar levels, it's important for diabetics to check their blood sugar levels fairly regularly. Today, this is usually done with a small, portable machine that measures your blood sugar from a tiny drop of your blood. The exact answers to when, where, and how you should check your blood sugar can depend on your age, the type of diabetes you have, and your condition. Thus, you'll want to talk to your doctor before beginning to monitor your blood sugar levels. The advice below is for general cases and is not meant to replace the advice of a doctor.
    • Type 1 diabetics are often instructed to check their blood sugar three or more times a day. This is often done before or after certain meals, before or after exercise, before bed, and even during the night. If you are sick or are taking a new medication, you may need to monitor your blood sugar even more closely.[14]
    • Type 2 diabetic, on the other hand, usually don't have to check their blood sugar quite as often - they may be instructed to check their levels once or more per day. In cases where Type 2 diabetes can be managed with non-insulin medications or diet and exercise alone, your doctor may not even require you to check your blood sugar every day.[15]
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    Take an A1C test several times per year. Just as it is important for people with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar from day to day, it's also important to have a "bird's eye" perspective of long-term trends in blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should generally have special test called A1C tests at regular intervals - your doctor may direct you to have such tests every month or every two to three months. These tests monitor the average blood sugar level over the last few months rather than giving an instantaneous "snapshot" and thus can provide valuable information about whether or not a treatment plan is working well.
    • A1C tests work by analyzing a molecule in your blood called hemoglobin. When glucose enters your blood, some of it binds to these hemoglobin molecules. Because hemoglobin molecules usually live for about 3 months, analyzing the percentage of hemoglobin molecules that are bound to glucose can paint a picture of how high blood sugar levels were over the past few months.[16]
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    Test for ketones in your urine if you have ketoacidosis symptoms. If your body lacks insulin and can't break down the glucose in the blood, its organs and tissues will quickly become starved for energy. This can lead to a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis in which the body begins to break down its fat stores to fuel its important processes. Though this will keep your body functioning, this process produces toxic compounds called ketones which, if allowed to build up, can be potentially life-threatening.[17] If you have two consecutive blood sugar readings over 250 mg/dL or exhibit the symptoms listed below, test for ketoacidosis immediately (this can be done with a simple over-the-counter urine strip test). If your test reveals you have a high amount of ketones in your urine, call your doctor immediately and seek emergency treatment. The symptoms of ketoacidosis are:[18]
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Sweet-smelling, "fruity" breath odor
    • Unexplained weight loss.
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    Receive foot and eye tests regularly. Because Type 2 diabetes can progress so gradually that it's difficult to detect, it's important to be on the lookout for possible complications from the disease so that they can be addressed before becoming serious. Diabetes can cause nerve damage and change circulation to certain parts of the body, especially the feet and eyes. Over time, this can result in loss of the feet or blindness. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics are at risk for these complications. However, because Type 2 diabetes can progress gradually without being noticed, it's extra-important to schedule regular foot and eye exams to prevent either condition from developing.

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