Friday, 20 April 2012

Everything You Need To Know About Insulin Pens

Everything You Need To Know About Insulin Pens 

 Insulin pen, or simply pen, is an insulin delivery system that allows the injection of insulin into the bloodstream of a diabetic. It comprises of an insulin cartridge, a pen needle, and a dial to measure the insulin dose. Its appearance is similar to that of a pen, only it is larger. Some of these parts are either disposable or non-replaceable. The insulin cartridge for one may need a replacement from time to time and the insulin needles are entirely disposable.

 Insulin pens are used extensively in most countries, excluding the United States where vials, injections and syringes are the preferred tools for insulin injection. They come in various sizes ranging from 1.5 ml to 3.0 ml. Types of Insulin Pens There are several manufacturers of insulin pens which make it possible for users to have a variety of options. There are the pre-filled pens that are usually recommended for type 2 diabetics. These pens have pre-mixed insulin dosage, making it easier for users to determine how much insulin is to be used. These pens are disposable and require replacements once the insulin cartridge becomes empty. The drawback of this type is that it does not accommodate any adjustments to exercise and diet. The other type of pen is the durable pen. It makes use of replaceable insulin cartridges which are discarded only after their contents are fully used up. Once a new cartridge is in place, the pen is ready for use again. A new addition to the existing insulin pens, pens that have built-in memory allow users to store the time, date, and the amount of dosage. This makes it easier for users to tract their usage of insulin. Advantages of insulin pens There are three advantages to using insulin pens – ease of use, accuracy, and portability. Usage Site for injection – The first step to using an insulin pen is to select the site where you want to inject your insulin dosage. 

There are a few in the body that make for good injection sites, including the abdominal area, thighs, buttocks, the area of the back just above the waist, legs, and upper arm. When choosing a site for injection, always stay an inch away from the previous site and two inches away from the navel or any scars. Also, be careful not to use sites that are swollen, bruised or tender. 

To use your insulin pen, first clean the site for injection with an alcohol pad or a cotton ball dabbed with alcohol. Then, take off the cover of the pen and check how much insulin is left. If the insulin looks a bit cloudy, you can mix it gently by rolling the pen in your hands. Clean the end of the insulin pen afterwards. The next step is to insert the disposable needle in its place. Once this is properly set in place, you can clear out any air pockets inside the pen by holding the pen up in the air while pushing the end of the pen until a drop of insulin is ejected. You may need to repeat this process for a couple of times until you see a drop of insulin at the tip of the needle. Set the amount of insulin you want to use. 

Pinch and hold the site where you would want to inject the insulin. Insert the needle all the way down into your skin and continue pinching the skin for a few seconds more. Pull the pen out and gently massage the area of injection. Put the insulin pen cover back in its place. Products For Diabetic Children Diabetes strikes at any age. But one type of diabetes is particularly notorious towards very young patients. It's called juvenile diabetes. Although juvenile diabetes is not exclusive among children, it's relatively high prevalence in the younger population make it a root of concern for parents whose children were diagnosed with this chronic, insulin-dependent condition. There are many things that a child with juvenile diabetes needs. Some of them are discussed below: Blood glucose meter or glucometer – The first and one that should be at the top of your list of priorities is the glucometer. This is a portable device that measures the glucose levels in the blood of the patient. You don’t normally have to pay a high price to get this device since manufacturers sell these at a very low price. 

Also, many insurance companies provide coverage for this device. When considering a particular brand or model, it is best to first check the price and availability of compatible test strips. This is because these strips usually have a huge cut on the expenses incurred on monitoring blood glucose levels. Test strips are usually priced at $1 per piece, but it is not uncommon to find 50 cent per piece strips. Insulin pen – An insulin pen is a portable insulin delivery system that looks very much like a regular pen. This injects controlled doses of insulin into the bloodstream without the need for a health care personnel's assistance. There are two types of insulin pens: the pre-filled pen and the durable pen. The former is a disposable pen that contains pre-mixed insulin and the latter is a pen that only needs cartridge replacements. 

There is, however, a new type of insulin pen that has built-in memory. This can contain up to a hundred values which should make recording of time, date and insulin dosage easier for the user. Emergency glucose tablet – This diabetic product for children is one way of controlling insulin reaction. Whereas adults use candy and other sweets, diabetic children are administered with emergency glucose tablets that deliver precise amounts of glucose into the bloodstream to normalize blood glucose levels. Although a lot of people see these as candy substitutes, these do not look candy at all so parents and teachers will not have any problem with missing glucose tablets. Insulin pump – Otherwise known as continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion therapy, an insulin pump is a medical device that is used to administer insulin to treat symptoms of diabetes mellitus. This device comprises of a pump, a disposable reservoir that is attached inside the pump, and a disposable infusion set. 

Taking the price out of the equation, an insulin pump is a good alternative to daily injections of insulin using injections products since it makes a person do away with multiple insulin injections. When used alongside a carb counting device and a blood glucose monitoring device, this can make for an intensive insulin therapy. Injection products – Many children run away from injection products like syringes and needles. This should not be the case, however. 

Parents should help condition their children's thinking towards injection products. Lancets and lancet devices – These are devices used to draw blood samples for blood glucose testing. The priority in choosing these products is to find those that could give the least discomfort to their users.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

How Artificial Sweeteners Benefit Diabetics

How Artificial Sweeteners Benefit Diabetics

Sugar is often considered a bane in the diet of diabetics simply because this can cause blood glucose levels to rise. But, since sugar is a natural component of the typical diet, and many people want their cake and eat them too, people just can’t do without it. The good thing is sugar substitutes were invented. Weight management –

The main point of debate regarding the use of sugar substitutes is weight management. People with problematic weights and of course those who were diagnosed with diabetes can benefit most from the absence of extra hundred calories contributed by sugars in their daily diets. It should be noted that an average American consumes about 20 teaspoons of sugar every day. With this much sugar, it is easy to disrupt blood glucose levels in the body as well as to pack up more pounds than necessary. Both scenarios spell trouble for diabetics.

So even with the alleged drawbacks of using sugar substitutes such as their carcinogenic properties or long-term effects like chronic fatigue, many people still find sugar substitutes as the best alternatives to table sugar when it comes to managing weight. The use of sugar substitutes for this purpose makes perfect sense. The majority of these diabetic products have little to no calorie. This, of course, means little to virtually no nutritive value as well. If you don’t mind empty calories, you'll probably have no problem with using sugar substitutes at all.

Easier control on blood sugar levels –All things equal, sugar substitutes have no effect on blood glucose levels. Sugar alternatives provide the same or almost the same flavor of sweetness that is found in table sugar, but since these are not sugar by nature, they do not have the same consequences sugar has in the body of diabetics. In addition, some artificial sweeteners are metabolized very slowly in the body. Thus, even if these
can affect blood glucose levels, the effects take some time to become apparent, thus, blood glucose levels remain more or less the same. More food choices – The problem posed by sugar intake also limits the amount and variety of foods that can be eaten by a diabetic. But, with the introduction of artificial sweeteners into the diet, it is easier to eat various types of foods without endangering the health of the patient.

It is a different thing though when too much starch, wheat, corn syrup, and other high-carb foods are consumed. This is because once these foods enter the body, they will be broken down into sugars. Also, keep in mind that the use of sugar substitutes does not make you immune to fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Sugar-free cookies, for example, may not have sugar but these still contain chocolate, flour, and milk which may combine to raise blood sugar level. But, there is no such thing as free lunch. Constant use of artificial sweeteners by a diabetic, and in fact, even by a perfectly healthy person, can lead to a host of unwanted side effects. These include chronic fatigue and persistent headache.

It was also noted to lead to cancer and obesity. Diabetics do not always have to pass up on sweet things. Artificial sweeteners may not hit the bull's eye when it comes to drawing physicians to their sides, but they, nevertheless, present good alternatives to table sugar.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

How Too Choose A Blood Glucose Meter

Blood glucose meter or glucometer is a tool in your diabetic kit that you couldn’t live without. The majority of diabetics rely on this portable medical device to provide them accurate readings of their blood glucose levels on a daily, even constant, basis. But, with so many choices out there, it is easier to pick the wrong glucometer than to get the right one.

Here are several things you should look for in a glucometer:
Comfort and convenience – Blood glucose monitoring is more than a routine blood check-up that will require you to check on your glucose levels once every few days. It is a constant routine that may even compel you to draw blood samples from your fingertips every hour or so, often subjecting you to little discomforts that may become annoying and very inconvenient as testing continues. Doctors always advise that although convenience should not be at the top of your list of priorities when choosing a good glucometer, it should be given emphasis.

The lesser blood the meter needs, the lesser discomfort you can expect. There are glucometers nowadays that do not force their users to use lancing devices or other methods of piercing the skin to draw blood samples. Some of these diabetic products are non-invasive and only require lesser samples than their less modern counterparts. Portability – Not too small, not too big. This is the rule of thumb when choosing a blood glucose meter. You would want a device that is small enough so you can bring with it you outdoors and large enough to house a mid-sized monitor that will easily let you read your blood glucose values. Alternative sites – Fingertips are very sensitive areas and with constant drawing of blood samples, the fingertips become overused, so to speak.

There are a lot of glucometers today that let patients to draw blood in other less sensitive areas like the forearm, palm, upper arm and thigh. Also, some products allow patients to rotate testing sites. Insurance coverage – Glucometers are typically covered by insurance companies, allowing patients to obtain these free of charge or at a minimal charge. But, long term use may still cut a considerable portion of your finances since there are insurance companies that only cover the glucometer but not the other tools that should be used with it. Also there are companies that only provide coverage for particular types or brands of glucometers. It is always wise to check with your providers first before getting yourself this device.
Cost – Glucometers are not a one-time purchase. You may not need to buy a new glucometer for a few months or so, but the real expense of using this device comes from buying the disposable test strips whose price range from 50 cents to $1 per piece. Remember that you may need to use three or more strips per day so buying these strips can sum up to thousands of dollars per year.

When choosing a blood glucose meter, always calculate your expenses in terms of the test strips. Functionality more than sophistication – There are glucometers that have built-in memory, download options, and other perks. Although you may only need to toss a few dollars to get these extra features, you might be spending for something that you don’t really need. Consider these your last priorities.
Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring: Is It A Good Alternative To Glucometers?

Continuous glucose monitoring systems or CGM provide a more convenient alternative to typical glucose monitoring devices that compel diabetes patients to prick their skin a couple of times every day. These use a circuit of devices that is connected to a sensor inserted under the skin to continuously gather records of blood glucose values. CGM basically records fluctuations in blood glucose levels on a constant basis to determine whether changes in the diet, medication, treatment, or physical activity are needed. CGM has three components: a sensor, a transmitter, and a pager-like wireless monitor. The sensor is inserted under the skin, usually in the upper arm, near the thighs, and under the abdomen, to measure glucose levels of the tissue fluids.

People who are using insulin injections, insulin pens, and insulin pumps have no problem finding these sites as these are basically the same. It should be noted that sensors should be placed two inches away from the navel and should not be placed over bruised, swollen, and tender skin. Placing the sensor is usually quick and relatively painless. A transmitter is hooked to the sensor and sends information every ten seconds or so via radio waves to a pager-sized monitor, which then displays blood glucose values. The transmitter of a CGM is rechargeable and should be recharged every few days. This is water resistant and does not need to be removed during bathing, exercising and swimming.

CGM comes with an alarm system. This alerts the patient whenever blood glucose levels go below or above the set threshold. CGM is replaced every three to seven days, depending on the brand and manufacturer. After which, all the data recorded in its built-in memory are downloaded to a computer. This information will be analyzed and charts and graphs will be produced to represent the trends in the fluctuations of blood glucose levels. Although the results recorded by the CGM are accurate, these should still be checked with a blood glucose monitors or glucometers from time to time for calibration. Advantages of using CGM While CGM does not guarantee very accurate readings and is fairly expensive, many patients still opt to use this device because it allows constant monitoring of blood glucose levels without having to prick the skin to draw blood samples.

Once the monitor is attached to the patient, continuous readings can be obtained. Another advantage of using a continuous glucose monitoring system is that fluctuations as well as trends in glucose levels are identified more constantly. Also, this system can possibly record changes in blood glucose that are easy to be overlooked when using glucometers and other tests. For example, CGM can detect dangerous changes in blood glucose levels overnight, in between meals, in the morning, during and after exercise, after every meal, and during a 7-hour time span. Information gathered around these hours can provide health care providers with critical information that will help them decide whether there is a need for a change in treatment, medication and lifestyle. Disadvantages

 The CGM system is not yet perfected. Thus, inconsistencies with the records are very common. In order to resolve this problem, users often calibrate their CGMs with blood glucose meters.
CGM is not a replacement to glucometers. Although it can display blood glucose values continuously, glucometers still provide more accurate readings.