Monitoring blood glucose in patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes may help control the disease and avoid peaks of nocturnal hypoglycaemia.
Learn more about monitoring type 1 and 2 diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease, and as such, it needs lifelong care. But, believe me, it is possible to lead a normal life by having this disease, provided you have adequate control, which can be achieved by monitoring blood glucose. The best resource for this is the measurement through the glymeters, devices that measure the glucose in the body, through a drop of blood: the famous gadgets that sting the finger. "Patients who treat with insulin, with type 1 diabetes, gestational diabetes and some with type 2 diabetes, need to constantly monitor this index to apply the right amount of hormone, "explains endocrinologist Walter Minicucci, a specialist in endocrinology at the Brazilian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism. However, even type 2 diabetics who use oral medication can benefit from this practice. "In these cases, measurement can be done when the patient is ill or under some factor that causes changes in their blood glucose levels," says the specialist.
In addition, there are several advantages to a closer monitoring of your blood glucose. Among them: knowing how well the treatment is working, understanding blood sugar fluctuations more easily, offering a control over foods eaten, preventing possible complications and avoiding nocturnal hypoglycemia. Here's how each of them looks:
Evaluate how the treatment is going
For the doctor it is very important to measure the patient's glucose level and to follow this relationship. "We know that the more controlled the blood glucose levels are, the better the levels of glycated hemoglobin," explains endocrinologist Andressa Heimbecher, a Collaborating physician in the Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome Group of the Hospital das Clínicas of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo ( HC-FMUSP).
Glycated hemoglobin is an examination that shows the average glucose levels of the patient in the last three months. However, it can often present a result that does not accurately represent the patient's glycemic levels. This is because, if the individual has presented many variations in glycemic over a period of time, the markers of the examination may take an average and indicate that the amount of sugar is normal but not always. "It's as if the patient was at an average temperature because he put his hand on the fire and then on the ice several times," says the endocrinologist Minicucci.
Capillary glycemia monitoring is done on time and therefore shows more faithfully what is happening to the patient. With this information, the health professional has more inputs to prescribe medications and even understand how other factors influence the medication he recommends. For example, a corticosteroid can affect blood glucose levels, so by monitoring it is possible to see how it is acting on the patient and at what time.
Helps understand the blood glucose oscillation
Denise Franco, director of ADJ Diabetes Brazil, monitoring blood glucose has an educational character for the patient as well. "With this process, he begins to understand the habits that lead him to have spikes or drops of blood sugar, and so he can change that," says the expert. That way the person with diabetes can be aware of what behaviors help him or her to have more controlled diabetes.
Brings better control of food
One of the factors that most causes oscillation of glycemia is nutrition. "The patient begins to notice that when he eats a pizza at night, for example, he wakes up with high glycemic levels, or when he eats rice with beans, salad and a little meat, his levels are much more stable," explains Minicucci. Thus, the patient begins to understand the effects of food on his health and becomes more autonomous and active in treatment.
Prevents complications of uncontrolled diabetes
Disciplined patients are able to better control their blood glucose levels, understanding what can cause them to fall or rise in a worrying way. Therefore, it is much easier to avoid the complications of uncontrolled diabetes. "These consequences include infarcts, strokes and obstructions in the arteries (which occur in the legs, can cause amputations), involvement of the retina and kidneys (with loss of renal function) and altered sensitivity and nerves (the so-called diabetic neuropathy) , notes Andressa.
However, Minicucci points out that this type of complication occurs in patients whose blood glucose is completely uncontrolled.These problems are often less dangerous in patients who have occasional uncontrollers, which may occur even with those who monitor blood glucose levels and it occurs in the long term, which allows care before they evolve. "It is difficult for a patient who follows the treatment correctly to lose vision or have to undergo hemodialysis."
Prevents nocturnal hypoglycemia
Hypoglycaemia is very common in patients who do not control their diabetes, especially those who take insulin in their treatment. during the night, when the patient is fasted for longer. This picture can be avoided when the patient feeds properly before bedtime and also applies the right amount of insulin. "As soon as the patient begins to see better periods of greater or lesser blood glucose levels, we were able to evaluate at the doctor's office a better way to adjust insulin doses," says Andressa.
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