Diabetes has become a major problem for the industrialised world. In 1985 around 30 million people world-wide had diabetes. 10 years later almost 135 million people had diabetes. The latest WHO estimate for the year 2000 is that 177 million people world-wide have diabetes with a change that this number will increase to at least 300 million by the year 2025. Diabetes-related death have been underestimated for a long time. No it is believed that ~4 million death a year can be correlated to diabetes. The costs for the health care system are enormous and it is estimated that 2-15% of the total annual health care budget are spent
It is therefore, crucial for every diabetic patient to self-monitor the glucose level in the blood. Sometimes this procedure is called ‘SMBG’ or ‘self-monitoring of blood glucose’.
Nowadays it is relatively easy to test for glucose. Hygenie is very important and before you do the reading you should wash your hand thoroughly first. It is recommended that hand are disinfected with alcohol. Then, take a sterile lancet and prick your finger tip. Place a small drop of blood on a test strip which is then placed in a glucose meter. You have to follow the instruction of the glucose meter carefully, as the procedure might change if you use different brands. The reading of the actual glucose content can be performed in different ways. Many new models and meter types are available. Where some meters read the amount of electricity that ‘travels’ through the blood sample others may measure the reflection of light as this depends on the glucose level present in the blood. Within minutes the patient knows exactly what the glucose level is and can then decide to take further action if necessary.
Modern glucose meters can record glucose concentration in the blood over a broad range – from as low as 0 mg/dL to 600 mg/dL. It is important that you check with you manufacture instruction as different models may have different readings. Furthermore, pay attention what ‘type’ of glucose you are monitoring, as meters can measure ‘whole blood glucose’ level or just plasma glucose
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