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Outlook For Diabetes
By Jude Roberts

(Page 1 of 3)

Although there is still no cure for diabetes, treatment options are now better than ever, whether a person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, all thanks to the marriage of modern medicine to modern technology. Areas such as self-monitoring blood glucose levels and administering insulin have seen the most significant improvements. Self-monitoring is a key component of successful diabetes management, and refers to the blood glucose/sugar test that a person does themself. The test has always been done by pricking a finger and applying a drop of blood to a strip, with the strip then inserted into a portable machine for interpretation of the levels of blood sugars and/or ketones. The newest blood glucose meters allow for testing from alternative sites other than the fingertips, such as from the upper arm, forearm, base of the thumb, and from the thigh. These sites tend to be less sensitive than the fingertips, and are a desirable alternative especially when testing children. However, as promising as these new monitors seem to be, they may have some drawbacks. Thereís a possibility of the blood test not being as accurate when samples are gathered from alternative sites as opposed to samples taken from the fingertips. The reason for the difference is because the concentration levels of glucose may be quite different in other areas of the body than from the fingertips. Concentrations of glucose levels tend to change rapidly after meals, insulin or exercise, and alternative sites for glucose monitoring may show any changes more slowly than when blood is drawn from the fingertips. If you are using an alternative glucose monitoring device, be sure to still check glucose levels from the fingertips if you think your blood sugar is low, if you are still unsure of what your symptoms are when you become hypoglycemic (low blood sugar level), or if the results do not agree with the way you feel.

Although itís been around for over 25 years, continual advancements and improvements have made the insulin pump a great option for children and adults who must give themselves daily insulin injections. The pump is usually worn discreetly on a belt/waistband, in a pocket, or under clothing, and there are a variety of clips, cases and fashion accessories to help make the pump easy to wear. No larger than a pager, the insulin pump contains a cartridge filled with fast-acting insulin, and can be programmed by the pumpís internal computer by the person wearing it, accessible by a screen and several buttons. Once programmed, a precise motor pushes insulin from the cartridge through a tube and into the body. The tubing that connects the pump to the body comes in various lengths (from 24Ē to 42Ē) and is quite durable. To get the insulin under the skin, an infusion set is worn, which uses a metal insertion needle (about the size of an insulin syringe needle) to insert a tiny, flexible plastic tube into the fat just beneath the skin. The infusion set is usually placed into the abdomen, buttocks or hip area. After insertion, the metal needle is removed and the infusion set is then taped securely in place. A new infusion set is inserted every 2 to 3 days, depending on individual usage. When the infusion set is inserted properly, it usually wonít be felt or noticed the entire time itís worn. Most infusion sets have a quick disconnect mechanism, allowing the user to temporarily unhook the pump and tubing for bathing, swimming, contact sports or intimacy, and afterward, the pump can be reconnected with a simple click.


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