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Accurate Blood Sugar Readings Are at Your Fingertips


In Alexander's research, forearm testing was most likely to be inaccurate during the two hours after eating a meal, and there was no consistency as to whether the forearm reading was lower or higher than the finger prick reading. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

So, should you throw away your forearm blood testing device? Absolutely not! Both Alexander and Koschinsky agree that they can be used as long as it's not a potential emergency situation. So, you might want to stick to a finger prick device if you're about to drive a long distance or if you feel you are developing low blood sugar, which is a potentially dangerous condition called hypoglycemia. Alexander also says you might also want to use a finger prick device during the two hours after a meal.

Furthermore, Claresa S. Levetan, MD, director of diabetes education at MedStar Health/Washington (D.C.) Hospital Center says that encouraging people with diabetes to take regular readings, which is more likely to happen with a less painful forearm device than a painful finger prick one, is more important than ensuring that every reading is 100% accurate. She explains that the real goal of testing blood sugar is to look at general trends, not detect potentially emergency situations like hypoglycemia.

"If you suspect that you're dramatically low, none of the meters are very good at reading the very low end," she says. So, someone who suspects they have hypoglycemia should eat some food containing sugar to be on the safe side.

No matter what device you choose, the most important thing is to use it properly. Ask your doctor or nurse to show you each step exactly. According to Levetan, "most studies have shown that people who are doing home glucose monitoring don't do everything properly."

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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