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Take Control of Diabetes by Avoiding these 5 Common Mistakes
(ARA) -

If you are one of the 17 million people in the United States who has diabetes, you know that careful monitoring of your blood sugar and ongoing treatment are critical to your health. By keeping your blood sugar as close to normal as possible, you can lower the risk of the long-term problems that can occur in patients with diabetes.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid as you strive for continued good health.

1. Flying solo

Perhaps the most important factor in successfully living with diabetes is developing a health care team, the core of which should consist of your doctor, a certified diabetic educator and a nutritionist. People with type 1 diabetes will want to add an endocrinologist as part of their core team as well. Make sure you know why you test your blood sugar and what the results mean. Your team will help you set up a testing routine; don’t decide to alter it without consulting them.

2. Straying off the straight and narrow

To get accurate results, you must follow specific routines. First code your meter with every new box of test strips. Be sure to use control solutions. This is the only way to know that your test strips are accurate. One test per box is usually sufficient unless you left the remaining strips exposed for a prolonged period of time. If you get an abnormally high or low test reading (a number that does not match your symptoms), check that your meter is coded properly; then do a control test before adjusting medications. Don’t reuse lancets; this will lead to calluses, infections and increased pain. Once again, don’t hesitate to ask a team member to go over proper procedures as often as necessary.

3. Testing with the dinosaurs

To make self-monitoring of blood sugar easier and less painful, you need to understand how to choose and use your equipment. Make sure the equipment you are using fits your needs. For example, some meters have unnecessary bells and whistles which may not be right for everyone, and indeed, could actually make the meter more complicated to use. When picking meters, remember less blood means less pain. If your meter is more then five years old or uses more then 5 micro liters of blood for each test, consider upgrading to a new one -- today’s meters give a reliable reading using under 3 micro liters of blood. Another popular testing advance is new technology that does not require finger sticks, but lets you test from alternate sites on your body. “Your fingertips contain a lot of nerves, so testing your blood sugar level can be painful,” says Gary Janson, president of American Medical Supplies, a company specializing in home delivery of diabetes supplies. “This new technology allows people to check their blood sugar with virtually zero pain.”

4. Moving your mouth more then your hips

Obesity is one of the factors that can lead to and exacerbate diabetes. Get a doctor’s or nutritionist’s advice on a healthy diet and plan ahead so you can stick to it. Working exercise into your routine is not just for weight reduction, it will help lower your blood sugar. Find an activity such as walking or biking that fits your interests and lifestyle and make it part of your day, every day. As the main member of your team, do your homework. The Internet is a great place to keep current. Start up your favorite search engine, type in “diabetes,” and you’ll find a wealth of information. One booklet on this topic is Test Smart by LifeScan, available from www.AmericanDiabetic.com.

5. Paying too much for testing supplies

Finally, look for the best deal on testing supplies. The cost of testing supplies can exceed $1,200 a year for someone who tests their blood sugar three times a day. While Medicare and most third party insurers cover some of the cost, patients can incur substantial out-of-pocket expenses while waiting for insurance reimbursement. To help patients avoid this expense, companies such as American Medical Supplies specialize in taking the hassle out of ordering and paying for supplies by billing insurance providers and Medicare directly, with no upfront cost to the patient.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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