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Self-monitoring of your diabetes

Diabetes is part of your everyday life. Appropriate self-monitoring can help you manage your daily blood glucose, and better adapt your lifestyle and treatment to suit your needs.1 The more often you check your blood glucose, the better you will understand it and the easier it will be for you to manage your diabetes. It doesn’t matter if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or if you are taking insulin or not, self-monitoring can help you and your doctor manage your therapy.2 By managing your diabetes, you reduce the risk of developing complications. That means potentially less eye, kidney and nerve damage, foot problems, and even stroke. Fewer complications means more time for you to enjoy your everyday life. Adding structure to your self-monitoring Self-monitoring allows you to track the levels of (high or low) blood glucose in your body, how particular foods affect you, and what happens after physical activity or taking medication. You might find self-monitoring even more helpful if you do this in a structured way – by monitoring at the right times and in the right situations. Structured self-monitoring can help you see a pattern that you and your doctor can use as part of your ongoing diabetes management.1 Your Accu-Chek® Testing in Pairs tool Accu-Chek Testing in Pairs is a simple tool to help you monitor changes in your blood glucose before and after a specific meal, exercise, or other event. Target for good diabetes control By self-monitoring your blood glucose you can measure how your body handles different types of food, exercise, medication, stress and illness. Your blood glucose result may prompt you to eat a snack, take more insulin or go for a walk. Self-monitoring can also alert you to a blood glucose level that is too high or too low, which requires special treatment. Controlling your blood glucose level is a very important part of managing diabetes. Regularly testing your blood glucose helps measure the effectiveness of your meal plan, physical activity and medications. *The information in this page is only of a general nature and is not meant to be medical advice, and should not be substituted for professional medical advice or used to alter medical therapy. Please always consult your healthcare professional for medical advice.

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Diabetes Basics

Understanding the basics of diabetes is the first step in gaining control of your health. Let’s look at what causes diabetes, some of the common symptoms, the benefits of healthy living, and what to do if you’ve just been diagnosed. What is diabetes? Diabetes is a medical condition in which the blood glucose levels remain persistently higher than normal. It is becoming more common in Singapore. This may be due in part to ageing population, unhealthy diets and lack of exercise. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows your body cells to use blood glucose for energy. Food is converted into glucose before it is absorbed into our bloodstream. The pancreas then releases insulin to move the glucose from the bloodstream into the body cells for use or storage. People with diabetes are unable to fully use the glucose in their bloodstream due to lack of insulin in the body or insulin is ineffective.1 3 main types of diabetes With type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make insulin at all. With type 2 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, or the insulin doesn’t work correctly. Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition, when a woman’s insulin is less effective during pregnancy. Common symptoms of diabetes The onset of type 1 diabetes usually happens fast, and symptoms may be intense. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are usually mild (or even not there at all), and appear over time. Common symptoms of diabetes include:2 frequent thirst despite drinking lots of water constant hunger constant tiredness itchy skin especially around the genital area passing excessive urine during day and night weight loss despite good appetite poor healing of cuts and wounds​ If you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes and show any of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare professional for advice. How does low blood glucose happen? Hypoglycaemia, which is also called “low blood glucose,” occurs when the level of glucose in a person’s blood is too low. Low blood glucose can happen in people with diabetes​ who are on certain diabetes medicines, including insulin and some types of pills. When can people with diabetes have low blood glucose? Injecting too much insulin or taking an oral diabetes medication that causes your body to secrete insulin Not eating enough food  Exercising vigorously without eating a snack or adjusting the dose of insulin beforehand Waiting too long between meals Drinking excessive alcohol, although even moderate alcohol intake can increase the risk of hypoglycaemia in people with type 1 diabetes. The symptoms of low blood glucose can be different from person to person, and can change over time. During the early stages of low blood glucose, a person may: Sweat or tremble Encounter fast heartbeat Experience lightheadedness or dizziness Feel hungry/Feel anxious If the above symptoms are untreated, they can become more severe, which may include: Trouble walking or feeling weak Trouble seeing clearly Being confused, or acting in a strange way Passing out or having a seizure If you have low blood glucose, you may try eating or drinking quick sources of sugar, such as half cup of juice or regular soda (not sugar-free), 5-6 hard candies (not sugar-free) or 1 tablespoonful of honey. Foods that have fat, such as chocolate, cake or cheese, may not be as effective in raising your blood glucose. You and a family member should carry a quick source of sugar at all times. Please always consult your healthcare provider making any dietary adjustments as described above. After adjusting their blood glucose level, most people can get back to their usual routine. Recheck your blood glucose after 15 minutes. Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse may recommend that you check your blood glucose level more frequently during the next 2 to 3 days as well. If you still have low blood glucose after treatment, a family member or friend should take you to a hospital or call 9-9-5 for an ambulance.3 Newly diagnosed? Here’s what to do now. It’s never easy to be handed a diabetes diagnosis. You may wonder, “Why is this happening?” and may fear the unknown. It’s common to blame yourself and worry about what others will think of you. What’s most important is that you acknowledge all of your emotions as they come and go, resolve to deal with them, and understand that you are not alone. The first step in taking control of your health after a diagnosis is making an appointment with your primary healthcare provider (or endocrinologist, or diabetes nurse, etc.), and finding out everything you can about your diabetes. To start, you should find out: If you are type 1 or type 2 How to monitor your own blood glucose How to operate a blood glucose meter How to understand your blood glucose results How to manage your diabetes What kind of exercise is right for you What changes to make to your diet Other health issues you have that affect your diabetes treatment Who else you can see for information Create an entire treatment plan with your doctor, and make a follow-up appointment. Eating and drinking Thinking about the food you eat and making healthier choices is one of the most important ways you can manage your blood glucose. Talk to your dietitian to help you better understand in eating healthy. Why monitoring your own blood glucose is important Monitoring your blood glucose levels shows you, and your healthcare team, how food, exercise, or other factors like stress are affecting your blood glucose. If you monitor in a structured manner, you’ll begin to see patterns – highs and lows – and with consultation of your healthcare professional you will be able to make changes to your daily routine that may improve your condition over time. Maintaining optimum blood glucose control may help reduce the chances of developing complications from diabetes. This information is of a general nature and should not be substituted for medical advice or used to alter medical therapy. Please consult your healthcare professional for medical advice. *The information in this page is only of a general nature and is not meant to be medical advice, and should not be substituted for professional medical advice or used to alter medical therapy. Please always consult your healthcare professional for medical advice.

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