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Morristown Medical Center: The Patient Experience
Morristown Medical Center
Blood glucose, or blood sugar, monitoring is the main tool you will use to keep your diabetes in control. It’s critical to keep a log of your results. Many patients may only need to do periodic “finger stick” tests to measure their blood glucose levels, but others will require more frequent observation.
Patients with type 1 diabetes sometimes benefit from a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM)- a device that measures glucose throughout the day, even during sleep. With this type of a device, the patient inserts a tiny sensor under the skin of the abdomen. The sensor, which is changed weekly, measures the amount of glucose in the fluid inside your body, and then transmits this information to a pager-like monitor attached to your belt.
When blood sugar rises or falls to unhealthy levels, an alarm will sound. This decreases the amount of fingerstick testings to roughly four times a day. Both you and your doctor will be able to review this information, which can be seen on a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Visit the American Diabetes Association for online tools to help you keep track of your levels.
Your doctor will advise what your long-term target blood sugar goals should be depending on how long you’ve had diabetes, your age, your overall health, and other lifestyle factors. An A1C test (also called a hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c test) is a common blood test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes and also gauges how well you’re managing diabetes in the long term. It is often suggested that patients with diabetes maintain A1C levels at 7 percent.
Many oral medications are available for patients with type 2 diabetes that either increase the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas (sulfonylureas and meglitinides), reduce the production of glucose in the liver (biguanides), reduce the amount of glucose that in the digestive track (alpha-glucosidase inhibitors), make the body more sensitive to insulin (thiazolidinediones), or increase the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas after a meal (dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors).
There are also non-insulin medications that do not require injection. These medications (GLP-1 agonists) slow glucose absorption in the gut and increase insulin secretion from the pancreas when glucose is too high.
Some patients with type 2 diabetes may eventually require insulin therapy. Patients with type 1 diabetes will always require insulin. Different types of insulin therapies are available and work within body at different response rates.
One option for patients requiring insulin is an insulin pump. An insulin pump is a small, battery-powered device that delivers insulin continuously throughout the day via a small plastic catheter placed under the skin. This technology has the ability to work in conjunction with a CGM. Read more about CGMs here >.
Our team at the Diabetes and Endocrine Institute at Morristown Medical Center will help guide and coach you on how to appropriately test your blood sugar levels, take your medicine, and use your devices. The treatment of diabetes may be seem daunting or overwhelming- we are here to support you and can teach you ways to manage your condition as simply as possible.