According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), in 2020 about 463 million people of the world suffer from diabetes. With over 77 million diabetes patients, India is soon headed towards becoming the diabetes capital of the world. The majority of diabetes cases in India are of Type 2 diabetes and Type 1 diabetes. The health and financial cost of diabetes are very high. Apart from impaired glucose tolerance, diabetes also causes a number of conditions such as coronary artery disease, narrowing of arteries, nerve damage, chronic kidney disease, damage to the retina of the eye, heart attack etc. This makes it very important for people who are diabetic to follow a healthy lifestyle, follow a well-planned course of treatment, and monitor blood sugar levels regularly.
Importance of regular monitoring
Diabetes can be managed with a healthy diet, exercise schedule, and medication. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is, however, the most important tool one can use to manage both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Not only does a knowledge of the blood sugar levels help your doctors come up with an effective treatment plan, it also helps to establish the efficacy of medications and lifestyle modifications before further damage is done to the body.
It is important to remember that diabetic hypoglycaemia is a common side effect of diabetes medications. Even with proper doses of medicine, a diabetic patient may suddenly experience low blood glucose levels leading to hypoglycaemia. This makes it all the more important to undertake routine testing and to have a plan ready to manage hypoglycaemic episodes.
Home testing with glucometers
Previously managing diabetes with regular testing involved cumbersome visits to the hospital, medical centre, or lab. With improvement in home testing mechanisms, however, such regular visits are now unnecessary. Glucometer machines are now available with medical device stockists such as Smart Medical Buyer and can be bought easily. Most of these come with a set of small, sharp needles called lancets which help in pricking a finger, measuring strips on which a drop of two of blood is dropped and a meter with a large display that delivers the results in 10 – 15 seconds. Newer glucometer devices contain technology that can connect to an app in your smartphone and store the history of your readings and present them in a graphical format.
Prevention of diabetes
Prevention of diabetes among high risk individuals is one of the top priorities of the medical community. The government of India too has been working on community programmes to this end. This means people with high risk factors such as a family history of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, higher age group, prediabetes etc. also need to be monitored on a regular basis. Home monitoring machines are very helpful in these cases.
Getting an A1C test
It is important to remember that while regular home testing is important, it is equally crucial to get your blood drawn by a medical centre and get you’re A1C test done at least twice a year. The A1C presents the average blood sugar levels over a period of time (about 3 months). Most doctors recommend keeping the A1C level under 7% for diagnosed diabetics.