Heart attack, stroke, blindness, amputation, kidney failure. When doctors describe these diabetes complications, it may sound melodramatic -- like an overblown worst-case scenario. The truth is, these things can happen when blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol are out of control.
"A lot of people don't really think it will happen to them," says David C. Ziemer, MD, director of the Diabetes Clinic at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. "For a lot of folks, the wake-up comes when they actually...
If you keep up with patterns in your blood sugar levels, the information can help you and your doctor better manage your diabetes.
To find out more, your doctor might use a machine called a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that can test your blood sugar every 5 minutes throughout the day. It tests through tiny fibers on a patch stuck on your skin. Results are sent wirelessly to a small monitor that you can hold or clip on your belt. Some CGM devices can send your data to your doctor's office through a wireless signal.
The results can help you and your doctor spot spikes after you eat certain foods or work out or while you sleep, says Robert Vigersky, MD. He is the medical director of the Diabetes Institute of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
This gadget doesn't take the place of old-school testing, though. The device's maker says you need at least one finger-stick every 12 hours to set the device and suggests regular testing three to four times a day to make sure the numbers match up.
New, smart insulin pumps that can sync with a CGM are great for people with type 1 diabetes, Vigersky says. "If your sugar goes too low, it will stop an insulin infusion for 2 hours," he says. Smart pumps can help you avoid dangerous dips in your blood sugar.
Apps to Stay on Track
New smartphone, tablet, and computer apps can be good if you don't like writing things down in a journal, says Marisa Moore, a registered dietitian who works with type 2 diabetespatients in Atlanta.
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