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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Insulin and diabetes: the importance of blood glucose monitor

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas which allows the cells of the body to absorb glucose (sugar) from food. They use glucose as fuel or keep in reserve for future use.

The importance of insulin

Insulin produced continuously in non-diabetic, plays a regulatory role in maintaining the blood sugar (glucose level in the blood) to normal values ​​(4 to 6 mmol / l).

When the pancreas is malfunctioning, or when the body can not effectively use the insulin produced, we are in the presence of diabetes characterized by an excess of glucose in the blood ( hyperglycemia ). The long-term hyperglycemia causes severe complications at various levels (heart, blood vessels, nerves, kidneys, eyes).

Types of diabetes

The type 1 diabetes , which usually occurs during childhood or adolescence, results from the destruction of pancreatic cells that produce insulin. Therefore, a person suffering from this disease most often has a total deficiency of insulin and must inject insulin daily. In addition to following a insulin , type 1 diabetics must:

have a balanced diet to get all the nutritional benefits for their health and prevent excessive fluctuations of blood glucose; make the physical activity to prevent complications of the disease in the cardiovascular system; undergo training to learn, among other things, to administer insulin to use a glucometer, calculate insulin doses and to prevent and treat hypoglycemia .

The type 2 diabetes , often associated with abdominal obesity, is explained by the occurrence of insulin resistance . To counteract the resulting hyperglycemia, the body responds by hypersecretion of insulin. This hypersecretion of insulin after a few years, exhausts the pancreas and leads to insufficient insulin secretion . It is important to know that:


  • the adoption of healthy lifestyles is often enough to correct mild to moderate hyperglycemia (reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, balanced diet and exercise);
  • when these interventions on lifestyle have no significant effect on type 2 diabetes can be treated using hypoglycemic agents (drugs taken orally);
  • the insulin injection is reserved for acute cases and those for whom hypoglycaemic are ineffective.


Self-monitoring of blood glucose: This is important!

Measure blood glucose is part of the daily life of a person with diabetes. This self is done using a small portable device called a "Blood glucose monitor ".

The Canadian Diabetes Association suggests that:

  • diabetes type 1 measure their blood glucose at least three times a day ;
  • diabetes type 2 following an oral pharmacological treatment or taking insulin measure their blood glucose at least once daily .


The blood glucose measurement ensures that the treatment effectively regulates blood sugar, and adapted, if necessary, the supply of insulin. It is important to record the results of blood glucose measurements, which may eventually be found by the doctor.

Glucometers, which to choose?

There is a wide range of blood glucose meters on the market, each offering specific options. Your pharmacist can help you choose the correct unit to suit your needs, it is also able to explain the operation of each.

So before you get a glucometer, ask the following questions:


  • I need a glucometer with a widescreen display results for easier reading?
  • What type of player and strip am I able to manipulate (dexterity, arthritis, tremors)?
  • Is what I want to transfer data to a computer ?
  • In anticipation of my travels, what size of meter for me?
  • I need a device with strips of providing results with an accuracy better ?



Insulin: Where to inject? How to conserve?

Different sources (human or the like) and different types (classified according to their speed of action) of insulin exist, the choice rests with the doctor. The main insulin injection sites are:


  • the outer part of the arm;
  • the abdomen, except for an area of ​​2.5 cm around the navel;
  • the front of the thighs;
  • the upper outer portion of the buttocks.



Insulin used daily can be stored at room temperature (between 18 and 25 degrees C) for a maximum period of one month. Reserves, in turn, should be refrigerated (between 2 and 10 degrees C) until use. Insulin should not be subjected to extreme temperatures.


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