How to Use Diabetes Test Strips: How They Work and How They Could Save You
Diabetes test strips let you safely test yourself at home to monitor your blood sugar levels. The test strips are made from plastic. The end of the strip (which is generally white in color) is coated with enzymes, either glucose or dehydrogenise. Generally you will have two machines, one will be the size of your palm and this is where the strips will go and the other is a smaller machine (about the size of your middle finger) and contains a small changeable needle (for hygiene). To test your blood sugar levels you need to load the smaller of the two machines and prick one of your fingers. This process is fairly painless and then touch the end of the test strip (which has been inserted into the monitor) until you hear a “beep” noise which lets you know that the end of the strip has enough blood for a reading. Once it is ready to show you the results the machine will make another “beep” noise and then will display your blood sugar level. To have an “ok” reading, it needs to be between 5.0 and 7.0, anything higher or lower than those two numbers means you will need to test yourself every day and take the readings into your local doctor. You can purchase these machines and strips from any pharmacy very cheaply. If you do have diabetes then you can get them for free from your doctors who will also want to keep an eye on your levels.
If you want to test yourself for diabetes only occasionally then picking up some urine test strips will be better and less hassle for you. These work on the principle of color-change. On the back on the container which they come in is a color chart which you compare the end of the strip to, to find out if you have diabetes or not. Using these is really simple. The end of the strip is white like the strips used in the machines. You take a urine sample and place the end of the strip so that its covered and leave it there for about 60 – 120 seconds and then take it out and the color of the tip of it will start to change which you can compare the color on the end of the strip to the color chart on the back of the bottle. This type of strip is better for those who don’t like blood or needles as all you need is a simple urine sample and these strips. Again you will need to keep a note of the readings if they are higher or lower that the middle 3 colors on the chart for a week and take the results to your doctors for advice on what to do next.
If you do have diabetes, don’t be scared – the first option that the doctors will want you to do will be to go on a diet to try and lose weight. But, if that fails, depending on which type (type 1 or 2), they will either put you on some insulin tablets or liquid insulin which you have to inject yourself with before or after each meal.
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