San Francisco Bay Area resident Patrick Totty writes about his experiences living with type 2 diabetesSee all posts »
Improved Test Strip Mileage!
Pricking our fingers to get blood glucose readings involves two necessary evils: sticking needles into sensitive finger tips to draw blood and having to pay month in and month out for test strips.
Those are the two big reasons why millions of type 2s don’t test more than once a day. Avoiding pain, however minor, is normal human behavior. What’s tolerable once a day can be much less so if done twice, three times, or four times daily.
As far as test strip cost, even a good health plan that can knock costs down because of its great buying power isn’t going to get the per-strip cost much below 25 cents. If you are a type 2 who’s meticulous about tracking your blood glucose levels throughout the day, say four times, that’s still $1 a day for strips.
Not a huge expense, but one you can very easily cast a wary eye at if you’re trying to scale back living costs.
So, without upping your test strip expenses or enduring a few more daily pinpricks, is there a way to make your blood glucose readings more informative?
Diabetes writer David Edelman has a great idea in an article he recently published, "Eating With Diabetes; 9 Essential Strategies for Great Results".
His first strategy is for people who check only once daily to make a very simple adjustment: Change the time of day that you make your one measurement. Instead of always measuring before breakfast, start rotating your measurements through the day.
For example, on Monday, you would check before breakfast, but on Tuesday, you would move your measurement time to two hours after breakfast. On Wednesday, you’d check before dinner, and on Thursday two hours after dinner.
You’d return Friday to checking your pre-breakfast fasting figure and then repeat the process. You continue working your tests around the clock this way without increasing your pain or expenses.
Edelman’s reasoning is simple. People who measure once daily, such as their fasting figure in the morning before breakfast, usually achieve a predictable range (mine is 130 to 150). Since that reading is a dependable benchmark, it frees them to shift their once-a-day test to a new time until they see a fairly reliable pattern emerge at those times.
Obviously testing just once a day means it will take longer for a type 2 to learn his or her basic pattern. But Edelman’s approach is sensible and answers concerns about costs and discomfort.