My Life with Diabetes / Questions & Answers
Here are some frequestly asked question I often get asked regarding my diabetes. Click the question to reveal the answer. Click again to hide it.
 1  - 
What are the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes?

As a registered nurse, my mom was attending a diabetes workshop at a medical conference when she suddenly realized I was having symptoms of Type 1 diabetes. The main things to look for are the following:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite

Additionally, if someone is not diagnosed straight away, there are additional symptoms that can occur from diabetic ketoacidosis:

  • Flushed, hot, dry skin.
  • Loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
  • A strong, fruity breath odor (the same as the ketones on someone's breath when they are doing an all-protein diet like Atkins).
  • Fast and shallow breathing.
  • Restlessness, drowsiness, difficulty waking up, confusion, or coma.

Source: Yahoo! Health

 2  - 
How is it diagnosed?

A health professional diagnoses diabetes using a medical history, physical examination, and blood tests to measure glucose. The diagnosis needs to be confirmed by a blood glucose test done on another day. Some people are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes because they have diabetic ketoacidosis.

The most important thing to know right away was how to check my blood glucose level. Following is the information provided by the American Diabetes Association on how to do so.

 3  - 
How do I check blood glucose?

(as written by the ADA)

Blood glucose checking is one of the best tools for keeping diabetes in control. Frequent testing and good record-keeping give you, your child, and the health care team the most accurate possible picture of his/her diabetes control.

How often your child checks could change from day to day. Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about when and how often to check on a normal day. Because different people require different treatment options, the Association does not recommend a specific number of tests per day. Your doctor or educator can work with you and your child to determine the best treatment plan. (People who take insulin generally require a minimum of three or four tests per day, though this can vary widely and it may be neccessary to test more often.)

Check more often when your child is sick and when his/her diabetes treatment or daily habits change. For example, if she joins a sports team, she may have to check a little more often during the first weeks of practice. The extra check can tell you if food and insulin need to be adjusted to balance a higher level of exercise.

One of the purposes of blood glucose testing is checking out how often blood glucose levels are in the target range. Your child's target range is probably slightly different than other children with diabetes you may know. It is customized to his/her needs. His/her target range will likely change as she grows and sometimes if her diabetes treatment changes. You, your child, and the doctor should agree on the best target range for your child.

Blood glucose checking is just as important to children with Type 2 diabetes. Certain Type 2 medications can cause hypoglycemia, which checking can show. Plus, regular blood glucose checking can alert you early that your child may need a change in treatment. Talk to the doctor or diabetes educator for more information on blood glucose checking and Type 2 diabetes.

 4  - 
How do I check my child's glucose?

1. Wash and dry your hands.

2. Prepare the glucose meter. Each meter works a little differently. Read the instructions carefully. At first, you and your child (depending on age) should practice with the meter under the supervision of the doctor or diabetes educator.

3. Choose your spot. Don't check on the same finger all the time. Choose a different finger every time you check. Prick the side of the fingertip, not right on top. The side hurts less and is less likely to bruise.

4. Prepare the lancet and finger-pricking device. Like meters, each finger-pricking device is different. Read the instructions and follow them carefully.

5. Place the finger-pricking device against your child's finger and push the button.

6. Squeeze out a drop of blood. Some people have more trouble getting the blood out than others. If it's hard to get a drop of blood out, try having the child hang its hand down and gently shake or squeeze the finger. If it is often troublesome to get a drop of blood, ask the doctor to recommend a different lancet or finger-pricking device.

7. Place the blood on the test strip and put the test strip in the meter according to manufacturer directions.

8. Wait for the results.

9. Record the results in the logbook (or ask your child to do it).

 5  - 
Accuracy in checking

Studies show that even long-time users of glucose meters can make errors that lead to misleading or incorrect blood glucose results. To maintain accuracy, you and your child should periodically complete a blood glucose check in the presence of a diabetes educator. A diabetes educator can observe your technique and offer pointers to improve your skills.

To make sure the meter is accurate, calibrate it carefully according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you suspect there is a problem with the meter, ask your doctor about comparing results. In the doctor's office, two samples of your child's blood are taken at the same time. You or your child should check one sample on the meter, as usual. The other sample is checked using the doctor's equipment (or sent to a lab for testing). If the result from the meter is more than 20% different from the doctor's result, it's time to check the meter or your (or your child's) testing skills.

 6  - 
My Recordkeeping

Keeping track of my food intake, insulin levels and blood glucose levels is the most important thing I can do to manage my diabetes. Even stress has a factor into how I feel and where my levels are. It is very important to have a blood glucose meter I trust and to have my log book to track. After years of trying different products, here is what I recommend:

Meter: Accu-Chek http://www.accu-chek.com/us/

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