It may or may not surprise you to know that lots of people with diabetes don't really know how to use their glucose meters. By that I mean they were never given a good explanation of when test to test or why. Naturally this refers mostly to folks not on insulin (because taking insulin generally makes testing a do-or-die affair).
But there are a shocking number of Type 2 diabetics out there who were truly were never told how the numbers on their glucose meter can be used to actually impact their health. And if you don't understand it, where's the motivation to keep poking yourself?!
Based on that unalienable truth, I was intrigued to discover this booklet, in draft form, taking shape from the Roche Accu-Chek product team:
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It's called "Testing in Pairs," a concept apparently masterminded by Dr. William Polonsky (man, that guy is everywhere in this disease!). The idea is to encourage PWDs to focus on "before and after" testing: before and after meals, before and after exercise, before and after sleeping, etc., etc. This at least gives the person a sense of cause-and-effect -- and a pattern to the otherwise seemingly "random" affair of testing your own blood throughout the day (not something anyone really enjoys -- so it better darn well have a purpose.)
This booklet is in fact a "learning tool" rather than a typical logbook full of endless empty columns to fill in for days and weeks on end. Instead, the pages here sport a clean and simple two-by-seven table on each little page, which is meant to be used for a full week, concentrating on one activity at a time. So if you wanted to focus on what breakfast does to your BG level, for example, you'd fill in the top of one page with the word "Breakfast," and keep before and after readings of that meal for a full week, including notes on what you ate, of course. At the end of the week, you can look back and get a pretty good idea of which breakfast choices gave you more desirable BG outcomes.
On the inside cover, there's a motivational photo of a woman lifting weights, with the tagline: "I'm not aiming for perfection, I'm aiming for good control." I like that message.
And on the inside flap, some advice for health professionals --
"When you talk to the patient:
* Congratulate his or her effort, not the numbers
* Provide a simple and clear summary of the results
* Provide guidance to help promote a plan of action"
Gotta love that, too. I wish they all worked that way. Especially since I hear every day from people confused about glucose testing:
- I was wondering if you have low blood sugar should you also have a meter to check your levels?— Louisa
- What is the danger of not testing your blood 2x's a day like advised? — PT
- They say to check BG two hours after a meal -- I'm confused, is that from the start of the meal or at the end? — Catey
Ugh! "Testing in Pairs" may not end the knowledge gap here, but I like their thinking, for sure. The Accu-Chek team tells me these booklets should be available from providers very soon. I'll let'cha know when. Promise.
*** UPDATE 4/17/09 ***
The Accu-Chek marketing team has just informed me that the Testing In Pairs page is now live at www.accu-chek.com/testinginpairs -- where you can download this tool for free.