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Why Is My Glucose Meter Giving Different Readings

Just like most diabetics, I have checked my blood glucose levels twice in a short period of time out of curiosity to find that my glucose meter gives different readings. At first I thought I may have had a faulty meter, but for me and my personal needs a 10% margin of error is not a big deal. Since then I have learned a lot about how different meters work, improvements in the technology used in home testing supplies, government controlled standards for accuracy and the general needs of different kinds of diabetic patients through my work and community engagement.


The short answer regarding meter accuracy is that the technology currently used in home diabetes testing supplies are only capable of testing within a 10-20% +/- margin of error. The FDA mandates minimum accuracy standards for testing supplies in the US, currently following the ISO 15197:2013 standard of 95% of tests must be within +/- 20% for results above 75 mg/dl and +/-15% for results below 75 mg/dl. This standard was issued in 2013, and the majority of manufacturers have redesigned their meters for better accuracy, increased consistency and ease of use since then.


The On Call Express line of products performed much better than FDA standards, and performed better than 90% of meters on the market.


Even though a 15% margin of error might seem large on the surface, Robert Ratner, MD, FACP, the American Diabetes Association’s chief scientific and medical officer says “[This level of] accuracy is sufficient for reliable clinical decision making and therapy”. In most cases results taken from an at home blood glucose meter would suggest similar treatment decisions as a result someone would get using laboratory equipment.


How Does a Glucose Meter Work?

To understand why a meter could give differing readings, you first have to understand how they work.  The testing strip contains an enzyme that interacts with the glucose in your blood. The mixture generates electrons, which are then converted to an electrical current. The current is transferred from the strip to the meter, which is programmed to read the electrical current as the final numeric value.


A close up view of the design of the On Call Express Test Strip. Notice the reservoir on one end and the contact area on the other.


The variables involved from the manufacture of the enzyme to the actual testing procedure and the test subject are immense. In earlier generations meters had to be coded, or the manufacturer sent a coding chip with each box of strips to alter the formula to match the slight variations in each batch of strips. Today most strips are coded so the end user is unaware that their meter is calibrating itself to each new batch of strips used.


Hospital labs achieve a higher degree of accuracy by controlling variables more closely. Their equipment is kept in an environment with consistent temperature and humidity, and is programmed for those variables. Nurses and technicians are professionally trained to limit variations in testing. The equipment is built with more costly, and more consistent components. Most importantly, blood samples are separated and only the blood plasma is tested (all home testing kits test whole blood). Finally, laboratory machines test a much larger sample for over a minute; at home testing devices are designed to use the smallest sample possible and deliver the fastest results. Even with all those differences laboratory tests generally still have a +/-4% margin of error. Some lab equipment exhibits a +/-5% to +/-8% margin of error.


The most important thing about blood glucose meter accuracy is that you can use the results to make competent and confident decisions regarding your care. If you feel like your meter is inaccurate enough to cause problems with your dosing or treatment, take it with you during your next doctor visit and test simultaneously with the blood sample being drawn for lab testing (be sure to find out if your meter results are converted to Plasma levels or if they’re being reported as whole blood levels). If your reading would have specified a noticeable difference in your treatment, it might be something to worry about. Millions of people use home testing glucose meters every year however, and the FDA receives between 25,000 and 30,000 reports about malfunctions and user errors relating to glucose meters annually. Their standards take real world scenarios and the data associated with those reports into consideration.

Why is Your Diabetes Meter Inaccurate?

Starting with the strip, the chemical process involved relies on an exact amount of blood entering the reservoir in a prescribed amount of time, at a pre-determined temperature and an educated guess assigned to the composition of the blood itself. Not only will one person’s blood differ from another’s in chemical makeup and red blood cell count, contagions on your skin AND the presence of water or alcohol after cleaning can affect the results.


For the strip to have a chance at giving a perfect result you need to use the same amount of blood and fill the strip in the same time frame every time; your blood and the enzyme in the strip needs to be at consistent temperatures. If you think that using two drops of blood from the same lancing site should be more accurate, you’d actually be wrong. The first drop of blood will have more extracellular fluid content than proceeding drops.


Known Variables to Interfere with Test results

  • Meter not calibrated regularly
  • Storage and handling of test strips
  • Not properly cleansing the test site
  • Testing site damp from alcohol prep or water
  • Not enough blood applied to test strip
  • Altitude, temperature, and humidity
  • Change of Test Site
  • Inconsistent Red Blood Cell levels due to dehydration, anemia  or polycythemia
  • Interfering substances (Vitamin C, acetaminophen, and uric acid)



Diabetic testing supplies are by design not extremely accurate, but quality control during manufacturing and transport can further affect accuracy. Proper storage by the retailer and finally the patient in a climate controlled environment and keeping an eye on the expiration date will help you limit additional inconsistencies.


4 Tips to Maximize The Accuracy of Your Glucose Meter

Properly Store and Handle Strips– There are two components on your strips that are very sensitive, the chemical that reacts with your blood and the conductor that transmits the reading to your meter.

  • Keep your strips away from sunlight and moisture
  • Testing has shown that cooler temperatures help keep the strips longer
  • Make sure to seal your vial after you take a strip out
  • Avoid getting the oil on your fingers on the chip/ connection point, it can affect the electrical current

Wash your hands– Try to limit contamination by washing your hands, and drying them thoroughly before testing. I would recommend waiting five minutes afterward and then testing to give your hands a chance to dry completely.

Be consistent– Try and use the same amount of blood and get the blood from the same part of your finger. Aim to get as many tests in the same room of your home at the same times of day ( this will control temperature and also make your benchmarks and trends more meaningful). Only use results from the same meter for intense comparison.

Repeat your tests– When an engineer requires a greater degree of accuracy than their equipment is capable, they will often repeat the test a number of times and use the average. This will also allow you to identify outliers or faulty strips.


Some Things to Consider Regarding Glucose Meter Accuracy

For most readings the current accuracy standards are more than acceptable for making treatment decisions – the guidelines require a higher degree of accuracy in the range where a smaller deviation in treatment could lead to serious consequences. Some patients will also be more susceptible to treatment variations due to inaccuracy, particularly children or adults with a lower body weight. If you are concerned with your meter’s accuracy, I would recommend running a test scenario for various levels of tolerance to find out what levels of inaccuracy your treatment can withstand. It’s important to understand the relationship between your test results and your self administered treatment.


Even though manufacturers have been successful at introducing incrementally better products, it will take a holistic re design and breakthrough to make a substantial increase in accuracy. While some meters are slightly more accurate in testing (The Accu-Chek and FreeStyle meters consistently maintain high accuracy scores in testing), we ultimately decided that the On Call Express meter offered the best return on investment, with comparable accuracy testing results of even the highest rated meters – and better results than some of the most popular (and most expensive) alternatives at a substantial savings.


According to the test results we accumulated from manufacturers and 3rd parties prior to selecting the meters we would sell;  At the lower threshold where accuracy is most important, only 3 brands had meters that achieved 100% of results within a 10% margin, and those were Accu-Chek, FreeStyle and On Call Express. 71% of the On Call Express results were within 5% (As compared to the One Touch Verio Pro which only had 53% of tests within the 10% margin [Vs. 100% for the On Call Express], and only 21% within the 5% margin). Overall the relatively high accuracy and incredibly good value of the On Call Express won us over.







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Why Can’t I Find On Call Plus Diabetic Supplies

At Best Value Medical we chose the On Call Express line of products as our flagship line. Although we tested several meters for accuracy, user friendliness, and feature set, one of the contributing factors in our choice was that several local companies had previously offered On Call Plus diabetic supplies and it led to a relationship with Acon, the manufacturer.


From time to time we get emails and calls asking if we stock On Call Plus meters or strips; we do have a few On Call Plus Meters on hand, but the truth is Acon began phasing out the On Call Plus line in 2015. The technology is outdated and to stay competitive with other manufacturers, they developed the On Call Express meter to replace the Plus.


As of the beginning of 2017 Acon still had an open contract with a large retailer to supply On Call Plus strips, so lots of people are still using the outdated meter for the time being. Since the new On Call Express line is comparably priced, more accurate and more user friendly, we have decided to focus on upgrading users of older technology to the newer meter.


The On Call Express Meter is more accurate and user friendly.


So for the month of March if you’re using an outdated meter, send it in to us and we will exchange it for an On Call Express meter and some free test strips. If you’re interested in exchanging your current meter for a free meter from us, use our contact form to let us know and we will confirm your request – all you have to do is pay to ship the old meter to us and we will take care of the cost of getting your new meter back to you.

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Paleo Garlic Shrimp Recipe

Diabetic friendly Paleo Garlic Shrimp is a family favorite that is one of the tastiest, yet healthiest, entrees you can make. It will pair well with most vegetable sides.

  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 Minutes



1lb Medium Uncooked Shrimp

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

1/4 Cup Freshed Chopped Parsley

1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper

Salt & Pepper for flavor



  • Peel, de-vein, rinse and dry your shrimp
  • Chop 1/4 cup of fresh parsley leaves
  • Mince 4 cloves of garlic


Cooking Paleo Garlic Shrimp

Pour 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil into a medium-large frying pan. Warm over medium-high heat until the oil is warm, then add all of your garlic, parsley and crushed red pepper to the oil. Heat for approximately 2 minutes while continuously stirring.

Add your shrimp; the cooking method is a combination of frying and sauteeing, cook for a minimum of 6 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring the shrimp every 1-2 minutes. Depending on the size of your shrimp this could take considerably longer, the idea is to cook until the shrimp has a light golden brown color.


Did You Know

Some scientists believe that seafood and especially shellfish are the original paleo diet. Remains of early humans found in South Africa suggest that food sources from the sea provided the fatty acids, proteins and calories needed for early brain development, and specific abundant locations could have helped early communities enjoy relative stability needed for leisure time and the need for more complex communication. – Credit: Curtis Marean, Anthropologist Arizona State University


For the Rest of the Family

Cooking for a diabetic can sometimes be challenging. While a healthy diet is important for everyone, it’s especially important when you’re sensitive to changes in your blood glucose levels – not all guests will require such careful consideration for their diet.


Add a bit of Bada Bing sauce to spice up the meal for diners that aren’t adhering a strict diet.


For this dish, add Bada Bing Shrimp sauce for guests that aren’t following dietary guidelines as closely.


1/4 Cup Mayonnaise

1/8 Cup Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce

1/2 Teaspoon Minced Garlic


Mix your mayonnaise, sweet thai chilli sauce and garlic in a small bowl until the consistency and color is even. While the Paleo garlic shrimp is very tasty as an entree, this sauce pairs well and will add extra flavor for guests that do not require the dietary discipline of a diabetic.

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How Does Diabetes Affect Your Teeth?

It is important to take good care of your teeth when you have diabetes. Did you know that people with diabetes are more likely to have problems with their teeth and gums? The good news is that you can take steps to help keep your teeth healthy.


By reading through the information and tips in this blog, you will be well on your way to understanding more about Diabetes and Oral Health Problems and why Healthy Teeth Matter!


Oral Diseases

Oral diseases such as dental decay (cavities), gingivitis (bleeding gums), and periodontal disease (gum disease) are all contagious diseases. Each of them are caused by a certain germ just like the common cold and flu and can be passed from person to person. The germs that cause dental diseases can be spread from person to person via affectionate contact such as kissing, or sharing of toothbrushes, food, eating utensils or drinks.


Plaque is the main cause of gum disease, but diabetes can also be a culprit because it may weaken your mouth’s germ-fighting powers. High blood glucose levels can make gum disease worse, and at the same time, gum disease can make diabetes harder to control.


Often gum disease is painless. You may not even know you have it until it causes serious damage. Regular dentist visits are the best option for prevention.


While gum disease may not hurt, there are warning signs to watch for.

  • Bleeding gums when you brush or floss. This bleeding is not normal. Even if your gums don’t hurt, get them checked.
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from teeth. Part of the tooth’s root may show, or your teeth may look longer.
  • Pus between the teeth and gums (when you press on the gums)
  • Bad breath
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or moving away from each other
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit when you bite
  • Changes in the fit of partial dentures or bridges


What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums, ligaments, and bone that support your teeth and hold them in the jaw. If left untreated, you may experience tooth loss. The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless microbial film that constantly forms on your teeth. Toxins (or poisons) produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums, causing infection.


Does gum disease impact diabetes and vice versa?

Emerging research also suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is two-way. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control.



Research suggests that people with diabetes are at higher risk for gum disease, ranging from gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease) to periodontitis (serious gum disease). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people living with diabetes are two times as likely to develop gum disease 1. That’s because people with diabetes are generally more susceptible to infections and less able to fight germs that invade the gums.


Dental Decay

 Diabetes puts folks at higher risk of dental decay, also known as cavities. There are 4 components that must be present for cavities to occur- a tooth, bacteria in plaque, food, and time.  Each time that you ingest anything in your mouth, the bacteria in plaque on your teeth produces an acid for 20 minutes that begins to break down tooth surface which allows the process for tooth decay to start. So, it’s not just what you eat but how often you eat that increases your risk of cavities. And remember, frequency of sugar ingestion is just as important as amount of sugar eaten.




The Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health states that good oral health is integral to general health for all Americans. So be sure to take a look at the tips below on how to better fight against the germs that invade the gums.

Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

  1. Get a dental exam at least once a year, and more often if your dentist says you need one. At your exam, your dentist or dental hygienist will:
  • Explain how diabetes affects your teeth and gums.
  • Check for problems, such as cavities or gum disease (see next page to learn the signs of gum disease).
  • Treat any problems you have with your teeth or gums.
  • Teach you how to check for signs of gum disease at home.
  • Provide care, such as a fluoride treatment, to keep your mouth healthy.
  • Tell you how to treat problems, such as dry mouth.
  1. Work with your dentist to create a health plan for your teeth.
  • Ask the best way to take care of your teeth at home.
  • Ask how often to come in for a dental visit.
  • Ask what to do if you start to have problems with your teeth or gums.
  • Ask your dentist to send your exam results to your other doctors after every visit.
  1. Take care of your teeth at home.
  • Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least two times a day, using toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Floss once a day.
  • Visit a dentist if you think you have gum disease.
  • Limit food and drinks that are high in sugar.


References and Acknowledgements:

1 CDC, National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014:

2 Colgate: Diabetes and Oral Health, accessed 1/11/2017 @

National Diabetes Education Program,

Dental Decay Image: Recipe for tooth decay formation [digital image]. Retrieved from

Gum Disease & Diabetes Slide: Maier, Russell, MD. 2014, September. Open Wide: Common Infectious Conditions We Overlook, What’s New In Medicine [Washington Dental Service Foundation]. Retrieved from

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Managing Diabetes Through The Holiday Season

Christmas and Thanksgiving are holidays that most people look forward to spending time with their family, and enjoying heavy meals that disregard their normal diet. As a diabetic you may not have the luxury of totally forgetting about your diet, but there is no reason you cannot enjoy the holiday season as much as anyone. Here are some tips to help you navigate Christmas and Thanksgiving without endangering the balance of your blood glucose levels.


Plan Ahead

Your meal schedule is one of the primary means of controlling blood glucose, and many times a holiday meal does not fit in that schedule. You can arrange a more appropriate meal time with your family, or if that is not an option you can remember to have a small snack at your usual meal time to keep to your schedule and prevent a swing in your blood glucose levels. If your medication alters your blood glucose levels, check with your physician for their advice on when to take it during your holiday schedule. A solid plan and schedule will lower the chances of the holidays affecting your health, and identify free time to plan physical activities with your family. You can avoid overdoing it by planning how you will handle an individual meal; for instance if you know you want to have a desert that is high in carbohydrates, cut back on carbs during the main course.


Get Some Excercise

Lots of families have a tendency to sit around watching football or nap after a big holiday meal, but light physical activity will go a long way to helping you maintain healthy levels on all of your vitals and combat the effects of possible overeating. A short walk with your family will give you time to bond while also enjoying the benefits of exercise; having younger family members offers an opportunity for a game of basketball or tossing a football for some fun and exercise.


Revise Recipes / Substitute Healthier Foods

It is depressing to give up a holiday tradition that you have enjoyed since childhood, but your health is what is important here. Look over your holiday menu and see if there are dishes that could be substituted with a healthier option, and consider altering favorite recipes by switching unhealthy ingredients with healthy ones. In deserts cut back on sugar and substitute with cinammon, vanilla, or natural fruit flavors. You can make a dish much healthier by just altering the way you prepare it; for example a serving of French Fries has 17g of fat, 48g of carbohydrates and 365 calories. A baked potato only has 0.2g of fat, 37g of carbs and 161 calories while retaining much more of a potato’s nutritional value.


A comparison between french fried potatoes and a baked potato shows that method of preparation alone can make a big difference in nutritional value.


Drink in Moderation

It is easy to get carried away with alcohol when enjoying the company of friends and family, but for a diabetic it’s especially important to moderate your alcohol intake. The best option is to not drink at all, but if you do decide to drink be sure to eat beforehand to prevent low blood glucose levels later and to slow the absorption of alcohol into your blood stream. Avoid mixers with high sugar content or drinks that are high in carbohydrates. Switch back and forth between water and your alcoholic drink to stay hydrated and slow alcohol absorption.


Take Care of Yourself

Not everyone will be cooperative about your health, but everyone likes to try a new dish! Bring a food that you like that also fits into your diet and share a healthy option with everyone else. At the very least this will help balance some other unhealthy choices or unhealthy preparation. The greatest gift of all is the gift of good health, and nobody knows better than those of us afflicted with a chronic disease.


Happy Holidays, and I hope you have some luck with these strategies for curbing unhealthy choices over the holiday season!


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What is Diabetes Awareness Month?

It seems like every day on Facebook is dedicated to a new cause, every week has an official food, and every month has an official disease. It wasn’t enough to have a National Ice Cream Day, we now have a National Chocolate Ice Cream Day (it’s June 7th if you’re curious). November 12th is “National Pizza With the Works Except Anchovies Day”. Then there are some months that have become an institution like October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and February’s Black History Month.


November is Diabetes awareness month.

Why have a Diabetes awareness month? The best methods in combating chronic diseases that have no cure is through prevention and early detection. The vast majority of Americans just aren’t educated about Diabetes, despite its growing prevalence and potential to cause harm. By shining a light on the disease and the fact that it affects millions of Americans every day, more people may get their A1C checked this year, or recognize the symptoms in their children and schedule an appointment with a physician before severe symptoms surface.




29 Million Americans are afflicted with Diabetes, and that number is rising. Unless you have diabetes you don’t really understand the consequences. To an onlooker it may seem like inconvenience having to check your blood glucose and take shots every day, but they’re unaware of the damage it does to your body and the scope of the burden of managing diabetes. The total national cost of diagnosed diabetes is 245$ Billion according to the American Diabetes Association, and it is hard for the average person to see how that cost affects them directly if they do not have diabetes. Before you downplay Diabetes Awareness month, remember that Diabetes kills more Americans than AIDs and breast cancer combined.


How to Get Involved

Diabetes Awareness Month is spearheaded by the American Diabetes Association, but hundreds of smaller local groups participate and slightly modify the program to fit their needs and organization.

Share – Share your story with others to educate and give a face to this often invisible disease.

Advocate – Help ensure Diabetes gets the attention it warrants by reaching out to the public, connecting people with groups and resources, and petitioning for funding and education.

Donate – Donate to the American Diabetes Association or other charity to continue fighting against diabetes and help find a cure.

Post – Share this article, or any of the other helpful articles on our blog, on social media and get the word out about how prevalent diabetes is.


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7 Keys to Managing Your Diabetes

Diabetes can lead to many complications including eye disease, nerve damage, heart disease, and several other debilitating conditions. Managing your diabetes is one of the most critical steps in living a longer and healthier life as a diabetic. By following a strict plan you can cut your chances of getting diabetic related eye disease by 75%, cut your chances of getting kidney disease by 50%, cut your chance of getting nerve disease by 65% and lessen the likelihood that any complications you have already developed will get worse. Here are 7 steps that can dramatically increase your overall health while living with diabetes.


Controlling and Planning your diet

The most obvious first step to managing your diabetes starts with your diet. Eat a balanced diet on a regular schedule and decrease your portions. You should try and make half of your meal consist of fruits and vegetables, one quarter should be protein and the remaining quarter a whole grain. Most people know to limit sugar intake, but it’s also important for diabetics to monitor carbohydrates which can cause your blood glucose to spike. The recommended amount of carbs for women is 35-45 grams per meal and 45-60 grams per meal for men. Most people do not get enough fiber in general, and it’s very important for controlling blood sugar. Fiber helps clear cholesterol building in blood and slows digestion which helps us feel satiated without raising blood glucose levels.


A healthy diet has several benefits that you will enjoy unrelated to your diabetes, such as increased energy, improved memory and sleep patterns and an overall better health. It is recommended that a diabetic patient have a dietician on their medical team to specifically tailor dietary recommendations and planning to their needs. Diet is the foundation of a good diabetes management plan. For more information on eating healthy meals, visit Choose My Plate, a nutrition and meal planning website operated by the USDA.

Current nutrition guidelines suggest 50% vegetables & fruits, 25% protein and 25% whole grain.


Regular Excercise

Doctors recommend that you get 150 minutes of light-moderate intensity exercise per week. That comes out to 30 minutes a day 5 days per week. Even though the recommended goals are practical, a recent study conducted by the CDC found that only 1 in 5 adults gets the recommended amount of aerobic and strength training exercise. Regular exercise directly lowers blood sugar levels, helps stabilize those levels, and is an important component of any weight loss plan (you can decrease your chances of getting diabetes, or getting further complications by reducing your weight by just 10 pounds). You do not have to get your exercise in a gym; walking, jogging, biking, aerobics and dancing are all good forms of aerobic exercise.

Adults that exercise regularly enjoy improved mood and energy levels. For more information on exercise recommendations, nutrition and healthy lifestyle you can check out the President’s Council on Fitness.

The American Heart Association Recommendations for exercise.
The American Heart Association Recommendations for exercise.


Regular Testing and Checkups

Your Doctor has likely set up a schedule for testing your blood glucose, but additional information will help your doctor construct your treatment plan and will also help you make better decisions about your healthcare. You should spot check your blood sugar levels in addition to regular testing. Check during breakfast one day, right after lunch one day, during a slow activity period in the evening the next day. This will give you a fuller picture of how your blood glucose levels are reacting to your daily routine, and also to any lifestyle changes you may be making. You should also get your A1C checked regularly to find out if your overall risk for complications is improving or getting worse. Weigh yourself every week and set up a schedule for checking your blood pressure. Check your feet and ankles for cuts, sores and blisters and keep track of how long it takes them to heal completely. Keep all of your data organized in a notebook or spreadsheet; it is useless to measure if you do not record. You should also schedule yearly checkups for:

  • Urine protein test
  • Cholesterol test
  • Foot exam
  • Dental exam
  • Blood screening
  • Dilated eye exam


By keeping track of these stats it will paint a picture of progress, decline or stability over time. You will get a better idea about which treatments and therapies that your body reacts positively to, and your doctor will have more accurate information to assess your health. If you are unsure about where to go for specific testing, you could check CDC’s Health Resources and Services Locator.


Educate Yourself

We know a whole lot more about Diabetes today than we did even 20 years ago. Diabetes is preventable if you know the causes and risks, and you follow a healthy action plan to avoid habits that increase your risk. We also know more about managing diabetes, and we learn more everyday. Read as much as you can on the subject and become familiar with risks, treatments, management strategies, definitions and studies. Knowledge is the road map that will help you navigate your lifestyle as a diabetic.


As you will learn, successful diabetic treatment requires a team of several medical professionals and specialists. The most important member of that team is you, and ultimately you are the person that will make decisions about your healthcare and you will be the person that either follows or ignores Doctor’s recommendations.


There are many resources for information about Diabetes.


Draft a Better Team

Diabetes is a complex, chronic, whole body disease. You need a primary care physician that is either an expert on diabetes, or willing to learn for your sake. If you aren’t confident that your doctor is taking your diabetes as seriously as you are, you should look into finding someone who will.

In addition to your primary care physician, it is highly recommended that a patient with diabetes have several specialists on their team that are all in communication with each other. All of the team members should have input on your healthcare plan, and any time that one of your doctors or nurses objects or has a concern with an aspect of your treatment, a conference with your whole team present should be called to decide on the best course of action. Having multiple doctors and specialists will ensure that you aren’t neglecting an aspect of your treatment, and that each person is held accountable, and doesn’t overlook anything. Your team will consist of several of the following:

  • Doctor
  • Dentist
  • Diabetes Specialist
  • Dietitian / Nutritionist
  • Eye Doctor
  • Foot Doctor
  • Pharmacist
  • Diabetes Educator
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Nurse
  • Friends and Family
  • Other Specialists as Required



Improve Your Dental Health

Diabetes puts you at an increased risk of peridontal disease and tooth decay (diabetics are twice as likely to develop gum disease). Infection and gum disease in turn elevates glucose levels, and the same bacteria that causes gum disease causes heart disease, which is a complication of diabetes. This is a vicious cycle that can be easily controlled by brushing a flossing.

Most people do not realize the connection between diabetes and their dental health. Always tell your dentist that you are diabetic, he may put you on a more vigorous schedule for visits, and at the very least will be able to monitor symptoms that are more prevalent among diabetics. He may also recommend different products for diabetics (most dentists would recommend Listerine for patients with gingivitis, but the increased alcohol content can aggravate dry mouth symptoms).

Just treating gum disease will help control glucose 10%-20%. Scientists and healthcare professionals are finding more correlations between dental health and the rest of your body every day. Prevention is key; since dry mouth is one of the primary diabetic symptoms that lead to problems with dental hygiene, you can improve your dental health tremendously by controlling it.

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Sip water throughout the day / Stay hydrated
  • chew sugar free gum
  • use an electric toothbrush
  • use a saliva substitute

For more information about finding low cost dental care, visit the NIDCR Finding Dental care page.



Take Diabetes Seriously

29.1 Million Americans have diabetes, or 9.3% of the population. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States with 69,071 deaths listing diabetes as the underlying cause in 2010. 234,051 deaths listed diabetes as the underlying or a contributing cause. Still some diabetic patients never visit the doctor and make no changes to their lifestyle. The simple fact is that diabetes is a very serious and prevalent disease, and lots of people that have it do not treat it as such. There is a lot to do to manage diabetes; it’s not easy, but it is worth it. No one will take your diabetes seriously if you don’t take it seriously yourself.









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Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

How Can You Tell if You Might Have Diabetes?

Early signs and symptoms of Diabetes are a result of high levels blood glucose. For type 2 Diabetes symptoms are often mild and unnoticeable.

  • Frequent Urination
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Dry Mouth
  • Dry/Itchy Skin
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred Vision
  • Slow Healing Cuts and Bruises
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet




For type 1 diabetes a common symptom is unplanned weight loss, and increased ketones in the blood and urine. Sweet breath that smells like nail polish remover is a noticeable symptom.
If you suspect you have may have diabetes contact your doctor and get an appointment to schedule a check up and testing. Early detection can help you avoid complications from diabetes that are often very serious and can be fatal. Individuals experiencing very high or low blood glucose levels can have depressed respiration, increased heart rate and nausea. Regular checkups and self monitoring of blood glucose levels will help individuals diagnose diabetes in the early stages. Even healthy individuals that show no signs or symptoms should check their blood glucose levels monthly. You can test at home cheaply with an On Call Express Blood Glucose Meter.







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