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Self-monitoring of your diabetes

Diabetes is part of your everyday life. Appropriate self-monitoring can help you manage your daily blood glucose, and better adapt your lifestyle and treatment to suit your needs.1 The more often you check your blood glucose, the better you will understand it and the easier it will be for you to manage your diabetes. It doesn’t matter if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or if you are taking insulin or not, self-monitoring can help you and your doctor manage your therapy.2 By managing your diabetes, you reduce the risk of developing complications. That means less eye, kidney and nerve...

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How to Talk to Your Healthcare Team

Whether you’ve been living with diabetes for years or you’re newly diagnosed, communicating with your healthcare team is one of the best things you can do. If you’re nervous about opening up to your doctor or pharmacist, there are some good reasons to conquer these fears. Less communication leads to measurable increases in your stress, anxiety, and possible depression. It also leads, inevitably, to less successful diabetes management.1 Since communicating with your healthcare providers is proven to be good for your health, here are some guidelines for starting the conversation and keeping it going. Know who’s on your healthcare team. If you don’t already know the people involved in your healthcare, get to know them. Your healthcare team could include: Primary care provider (eg Family doctor, GP) Pharmacist Nurse or credentialed diabetes educator Dietician Endocrinologist Eye doctor Therapist Podiatrist You may not need to see everyone on this list, but it is a good idea to know who to turn to when you have specific questions. You have a say in your healthcare. The most important member of your healthcare team is you! Other than doing what it takes to manage diabetes day-to-day, this also means that you have a say in your treatment. In fact, your healthcare professional should explain your diagnosis and all of your treatment options to you so that you can make an informed decision with regard to your health. How much do you want to know? Sometimes the medical details can be overwhelming or intimidating. If you would rather not know these details right away, feel free to tell your doctor or pharmacist. Just make sure you find a comfortable balance between what you want to know and what you need to know in order to successfully manage your diabetes. If knowing every clinical detail puts your mind at ease and makes you feel more in control, tell your doctor this, too. Know what to discuss and ask about. You will likely have general questions you’d like to ask your healthcare professional when you see them—new symptoms, any changes to your treatment, etc. It’s best to get those out of the way first. Make sure you also ask questions about sensitive topics or any other issue that is important to you. And if you’ve decided to add alternative medicines or treatments to your regimen, be open and honest with your team. These conversations are for a good cause: your health! Do you know about your medical tests? It’s important to take the medical tests your healthcare professional requests, but make sure you ask questions about them too. Some questions to ask: Is there anything you need to do before the test? What will the test measure? Are there risks to taking the test? How will you be informed about the results? Know what to do before and after your appointment. If you know there are issues you need to discuss with your healthcare provider, organize your thoughts ahead of time. Jotting them down and bringing the list of questions to the appointment can keep the meeting on track and make you feel confident that you’re getting the information you need. Problems talking to your healthcare provider? Yes, doctors are busy, but there is no reason for you to delay or forego getting the information you need about your health. If you can’t seem to get a clear answer from your doctor on an issue, try saying, “I don’t understand [this topic]. Can you take a few minutes to explain it to me?” If your healthcare professional can’t make the time for a conversation, offer to make an appointment for a phone call to discuss your concerns. An “advocate”, a friend, or family member that understands more about diabetes can also help by going to medical appointments with you. Never give up on getting the knowledge you need. Talk about these at every appointment. New symptoms Changes to your treatment Sensitive topics The issues most important to you Taking medical tests and getting the results Anything you don’t understand about your health

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Diabetes Basics

Understanding the basics of diabetes is the first step in gaining control of your health. Let’s look at what causes diabetes, some of the common symptoms, the benefits of healthy living, and what to do if you’ve just been diagnosed. What is diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic disease. Your blood glucose levels are controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas. When you eat, food gets broken down and glucose enters your bloodstream. Insulin takes the glucose out of your bloodstream and allows it to enter your cells where it is broken down and turned into energy. If you have diabetes, either you don’t have enough insulin or the insulin you do have doesn’t work to get the glucose out of your blood and into your cells. This is how your blood glucose ends up going higher than it should (hyperglycaemia).1 3 main types of diabetes With type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make insulin at all. With type 2 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, or the insulin doesn’t work correctly. Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition, when a woman’s insulin is less effective during pregnancy. Common symptoms of diabetes The onset of type 1 diabetes usually happens fast, and symptoms may be intense. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are usually mild (or even not there at all), and appear over time. Common symptoms of either type include:2 Frequent urination Excessive thirst Increased hunger Unexplained weight loss (type 1) Feeling tired and lethargic Lack of interest and concentration A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet Blurred vision Frequent infections Headaches/feeling dizzy Slow-healing wounds Vomiting and stomach pain, often mistaken as the flu (However, it is very common to get the flu before being diagnosed, as diabetes is an auto-immune disease.) If you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes and show any of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare professional for advice. How does low blood glucose happen? Low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia) generally occurs when your blood glucose level drops to 3.9 mmol/L or below. It happens when there is too much insulin or diabetes medication in your body, if you need to eat, if you are extremely active, or if you drink too much alcohol. Everyone reacts differently to low blood glucose, but common symptoms include:3 Shakiness, weakness, or chills Irritability or confusion Hunger Dizziness or nausea Blurred vision or headaches Slurred speech Seizures or unconsciousness If you have low blood glucose, treat it according to your healthcare provider’s instructions. In general, though, try to eat 15 grams of fast acting carbohydrates (eg 6-7 Jellybeans or half a glass of regular soft drink (not diet) or fruit juice), recheck your blood glucose after 15 minutes, and if you’re still low, repeat. Once your blood glucose has risen above 4 mmol/L eat a snack with longer acting carbohydrates such as a slice of bread or a glass of milk. Newly diagnosed? Here’s what to do now. It’s never easy to be handed a diabetes diagnosis. You may wonder, “Why is this happening?” and may fear the unknown. It’s common to blame yourself and worry about what others will think of you. What’s most important is that you acknowledge all of your emotions as they come and go, resolve to deal with them, and understand that you are not alone. The first step in taking control of your health after a diagnosis is making an appointment with your primary healthcare provider (or endocrinologist, or diabetes nurse, etc.), and finding out everything you can about your diabetes. To start, you should find out: If you are type 1 or type 2 How to monitor your own blood glucose How to operate a blood glucose meter How to understand your blood glucose results How to manage your diabetes What kind of exercise is right for you What changes to make to your diet Other health issues you have that affect your diabetes treatment Who else you can see for information Create an entire treatment plan with your doctor, and make a follow-up appointment. Eating and drinking Thinking about the food you eat and making healthier choices is one of the most important ways you can manage your blood glucose. Eating healthy fats (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, or omega-3) and getting enough protein and fiber are the keys to a healthy diabetes diet. Don’t forget to factor in your drinks when managing your blood glucose. Water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or low-calorie drinks are best. Avoid fruit juice or sugary sodas (unless you’re treating a bout of low blood glucose). Why monitoring your own blood glucose is important Monitoring your blood glucose levels shows you, and your healthcare team, how food, exercise, or other factors like stress are affecting your blood glucose. If you monitor in a structured manner, you’ll begin to see patterns – highs and lows – and with consultation of your healthcare professional you will be able to make changes to your daily routine that may improve your condition over time. Maintaining optimum blood glucose control may help reduce the chances of developing complications from diabetes. This information is of a general nature and should not be substituted for medical advice or used to alter medical therapy. Please consult your healthcare professional for medical advice.

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Self-monitoring of your diabetes

Diabetes is part of your everyday life. Appropriate self-monitoring can help you manage your daily blood glucose, and better adapt your lifestyle and treatment to suit your needs.1 The more often you check your blood glucose, the better you will understand it and the easier it will be for you to manage your diabetes. It doesn’t matter if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or if you are taking insulin or not, self-monitoring can help you and your doctor manage your therapy.2 By managing your diabetes, you reduce the risk of developing complications. That means less eye, kidney and nerve damage, foot problems, and even stroke. Fewer complications means more time for you to enjoy your everyday life. Adding structure to your self-monitoring Self-monitoring allows you to track the levels of (high or low) blood glucose in your body, how particular foods affect you, and what happens after physical activity or taking medication. You might find self-monitoring even more helpful if you do this in a structured way – by monitoring at the right times and in the right situations. Structured self-monitoring can help you see a pattern that you and your doctor can use as part of your ongoing diabetes management.1 Your Accu-Chek® 360° View 3-day profile tool To have a clear idea of how your blood glucose changes throughout the day and why, you should try and self-monitor seven times a day, for three days in a row by using the Accu-Chek 360° View profile tool. Testing before you eat will tell you about the effect your medication has on your blood glucose, while testing 2 hours after you eat tells you about the effect of your meal. While using the Accu-Chek 360° View profiling tool you should test before and after breakfast, before and after lunch, before and after dinner, and once before you go to bed. You can then compare each day and use it to better manage your diabetes.     Download a PDF version of the Accu-Chek 3-day profile tool. By self-monitoring your blood glucose you can measure how your body handles different types of food, exercise, medication, stress and illness. Your blood glucose result may prompt you to eat a snack, take more insulin or go for a walk. Self-monitoring can also alert you to a blood glucose level that is too high or too low, which requires special treatment. Controlling your blood glucose level is a very important part of managing diabetes. Regularly testing your blood glucose helps measure the effectiveness of your meal plan, physical activity and medications. Watch the training series and see how the results of self-monitoring can help guide you and your healthcare team to adjust the many parts of your therapy. Videos: Episode 1: Introduction to Structured Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose Levels Episode 2:Getting Started with Structured Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose Levels Episode 3: Identifying Patterns: Structured Self-Monitoring Episode 4: Understanding Diabetes Medications: Structured Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose Levels Episode 5: Putting it all together: Structured Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose Levels Episode 6: Reviewing your results: Structured Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose Levels

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Fine-tuning insulin pump therapy to match your lifestyle

Today’s insulin pumps have made considerable progress from when they were first made available. With settings for long, leisurely meals and bursts of physical activity, you can give your body the insulin you need when you need it. Think you're ready? Talk to your healthcare professional or diabetes specialist about putting these advanced features to work for you. Precise hourly basal rates. We talk about a continuous dose of insulin, but really, you can work with your healthcare professional and set your background dose to change throughout the day and night. For example, you can increase your early morning basal rate to counteract a pre-dawn hormone surge or reduce the rate in the afternoon when you may need less insulin. You can also set up different profiles for work days and days off, when your level of activity is likely to shift.1 Temporary basal rates. When you're especially active, you may need less insulin. Feeling ill? You may need more. Setting temporary basal rates allow you to raise or lower your insulin for a set period of time to match exactly what you have planned—or what you haven't. For example, during a long walk, you could drop your insulin to just 20% or 50% of your normal rate for a few hours so your blood glucose doesn't drop too low. Extended or square-wave bolus. Rather than a standard bolus dose of insulin that's delivered all at once based on the food you're about to eat, an extended bolus spreads the extra mealtime insulin over a longer period of time. Celebrating a family wedding? Planning a city food tour with friends? A 4- or 5-hour extended bolus may be a better choice for a lengthy meal. Combining a standard and extended bolus: the multiwave or dual-wave bolus. This option delivers a rapid bolus followed by a slower, steady release of insulin. This can be the perfect match for a high-fat, high-protein meal, when carbs may take longer to work their way through your body.1 Knowing how to tailor various basal and bolus options to your personal needs is one of the great advantages of using an insulin pump—and a great way to maintain optimum control of your blood glucose while giving you the freedom to enjoy whatever life sends your way. Basal rates can change throughout the day Set to mirror your body's natural insulin needs, the basal rate is likely to rise and fall throughout a 24-hour period. Bolus options Standard, extended and multiwave bolus dosing allows you to more precisely match insulin delivery to your body's needs.

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4 good reasons to consider an insulin pump

Like many questions, to “pump or not to pump” has multiple correct answers. It’s an important tool in diabetes management and if you're thinking about making a switch to an insulin pump, we recommend discussing these points with your diabetes healthcare team. Blood glucose control. Because an insulin pump can more closely mimic the way a healthy pancreas delivers insulin, using an insulin pump can help to improve blood glucose control and reduce episodes of low blood glucose.1 With an insulin pump, insulin dosing can be more closely matched to activity and lifestyle needs throughout the day, and can be especially helpful if you're ill. However, if you want to get them most out of using an insulin pump, it will take dedication — monitoring blood glucose, counting carbohydrates and calculating mealtime insulin doses are essential for effective diabetes management. Precise mealtime insulin. Many insulin pumps now feature on-board insulin advisors that calculate insulin doses based on current blood glucose, carbs to be eaten and insulin already delivered to your body. This more accurate dosing can also lead to improved blood glucose control.2 To make things easy, the Accu-Chek Combo insulin pump system allows you to calculate a bolus dose on the meter and then deliver the bolus dose remotely, without even touching the pump. (Insert page link to Accu-Chek combo insulin pump system) Fewer jabs than needles. This is an important consideration. Some people find that they prefer to insert an infusion set every 2 or 3 days instead of injecting multiple times each day. Today's infusion sets use ultra-fine needles and offer a range of designs to fit virtually anyone, including young children and those with slender, athletic builds. Freedom. Some may wonder if having a medical device physically connected to their body might seem restrictive. In reality, some people are surprised to find out that the insulin pump gives them a greater sense of freedom and flexibility, as they can eat when they like and slow down insulin delivery when they're more active.  So what's best for you? Ultimately, that's up to you and your diabetes healthcare team. If you think that pumping sounds appealing, talk to your healthcare professional to determine whether you're a good candidate for insulin pump therapy. How an insulin pump mimics a healthy pancreas Pump therapy closely imitates a healthy pancreas by delivering a flexible "basal" dose of insulin throughout the day, plus an additional "bolus" of insulin at mealtimes, based on carbohydrates eaten. More discretion. Greater control. At about the size of a mobile phone, an insulin pump may give you greater control over meals, activity and sleeping late.

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Two good reasons to take diabetes seriously

Two good reasons to take diabetes seriously.

Managing diabetes can be complex, but it shouldn’t mean missing out on the good things in life, like dipping your feet in the surf on a sunny day. Keeping blood glucose levels within range can help prevent complications such as those that affect your feet.1 Take the time to talk to your healthcare professional about blood glucose monitoring and stay two steps ahead. Diabetes and your feet High blood sugar (glucose) can damage nerves, especially in the legs and feet. To prevent this damage occurring and leading to more serious problems, it is essential to manage blood glucose levels appropriately. Structured blood glucose monitoring helps people with diabetes to understand what’s happening on a daily basis. Learn more about self-monitoring here. Looking after your feet Your feet support you every day. Look after your feet now to help prevent complications later. ü  CHECK both your feet every day for things such as blisters, sores and hard skin ü  CLEAN your feet with soap and water ü  DRY your feet well, especially between your toes ü  MOISTURISE your feet daily to avoid dry skin ü  KEEP your toenails at a sensible length ü  WEAR clean socks that aren’t too tight around your legs ü  CHOOSE well-fitting shoes that are comfortable to wear and protect your feet from cuts and abrasions ü   SEE your doctor for a thorough foot examination at least once a year2   Learn more about foot care from Diabetes Australia here.   

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