Self Management means that YOU keep track of YOUR blood glucose and take an active part in the treatment of YOUR diabetes. This is important because so many things you do in your daily life affect your blood glucose.
Treating your Diabetes
Before you developed diabetes your pancreas kept your blood glucose within the normal range by producing the right amount of insulin at the right time. Now, YOU must help your body do what it once did automatically. You will not be alone. Your diabetes care team will help and support you. But YOU are the main person to treat YOUR diabetes.
Learning Self Management
It takes effort to learn about and use the tools of self management. You cannot learn this just by reading about it. Learning by doing is a must. It takes time and practice and requires that you work closely with your doctor and other members of your diabetes care team. They’ll guide you to maintain the best possible blood glucose control. The HSE and ourselves have excellent education courses that empowers you.
You can avail of group education on Type 2 diabetes as a way of learning more about YOUR condition. There are three programmes available. All similar with slight variation in duration and content. We recommend attending one every five years.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic face to face programmes are not taking place, and we at Diabetes Ireland are now, since Autumn 2020 running our Group Education programme online. The programme is called CODE (Community Orientated Diabetes Education). This Group Programme is for people with Type 2 diabetes or Prediabetes and is now available to access online. To find out more and to register for a place see www.diabetes.ie, email [email protected] or phone 01 8428118 to find out more.
Other Group courses are DESMOND (Diabetes Education Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed Diabetes) and DISCOVER DIABETES (Formerly known as XPERT)– ask your GP, Practice Nurse or your Diabetes Team for up to date information regarding online availability of these programmes.
Testing your Blood Glucose Levels at Home
Blood glucose testing may be helpful for the day-to-day management of Type 2 diabetes therefore some people will be advised to check their blood glucose levels at home. This is done using a home blood glucose meter (or glucometer).
A glucometer provides a one-off reading of blood glucose. You place a test strip into the device, then you prick a clean fingertip with a special needle (lancet) to get a drop of blood. You carefully touch the test strip to the blood and wait for a blood glucose reading to appear on the screen. This is a one-off reading, a moment in time.
If you are advised to test your blood glucose levels your doctor or nurse will explain what you need to do, and what your blood glucose results should be. You will be advised of how often and the best times to test by your doctor or nurse.
When testing your blood glucose levels you should:
- Wash your hands before testing as any food on your hands may affect
- Using the lancing device prick the side of your finger to obtain a drop
- Use a different finger each time so one finger doesn’t become sore
- Replace your blood testing meter every two years
- Never share your blood glucose testing equipment.
A general recommendation is to keep your blood glucose targets between 4-8mmol, but your diabetes team should help you set appropriate targets for you.
Blood Glucose Testing Results
The results of your blood glucose tests can help you to understand the affect that food and physical activity have on your blood glucose levels and help you identify changes you need to make. Blood glucose testing will also help you and your diabetes team assess if your diabetes medication is working for you satisfactorily.
How Do I Get a Meter
Your GP or nurse will advise you if you need to test your blood glucose levels at home. If you are advised to test your GP/practice nurse or diabetes nurse will give you a meter and show you how to use it. You will get a prescription for blood testing strips and needles and the cost of these are covered on the long-term illness scheme. There is a limit on the number of blood glucose testing strips that a person with Type 2 diabetes can get on prescription. The allowance of strips is based on the medications that one is prescribed to manage their diabetes. If necessary additional strips can be authorised by your diabetes team. There is no restriction of strips for those who require insulin to manage their diabetes.
A guide to blood glucose testing for those with Type 2 diabetes leaflet is available at the following link
Blood Glucose Diary
Your meter will record your blood glucose reading and store them in the memory of the meter. In addition to this keeping a diary is a good way to keep track of your daily blood glucose readings. Record your blood glucose readings in the diary, along with the date and time of testing. It’s a good idea to make personal notes about things that may have affected your blood glucose levels, how you felt about it and what you did to keep your blood glucose under control. This is all valuable information that you can use to make decisions about your diabetes management. Always take your diary to appointments with your diabetes team.
HbA1c (Longer Lasting Test)
As part of your diabetes check-up you will have a blood test called a HbA1c. This test
will indicate your blood glucose control over the previous 2-3 months. The general
recommendation is to aim for a HbA1c less than 53mmols/mol or as agreed by your
doctor. It is important that you know what this result is and if it is within the recommended level for you. If it is above the recommended level, action should be taken such as eating a healthier diet and/or increasing the amount of physical activity you do. The doctor may also increase your diabetes medication to help improve your HbA1c levels as having a high HbA1c over a long time may increase your risk of developing diabetes complications.
HSE Preferred Blood Glucose Meter
In January 2021 the HSE-Medicines Management Programme (MMP) has identified preferred blood glucose test strips (BGTS) with associated meters for adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. This list was revised in December 2021. A summary of the preferred blood glucose testing strips is available on the following link.
Our Care Centre services in Dublin and Cork are now fully restored providing podiatry services (click here to make an appointment) and access to Diabetic RetinaScreen services each day. Our Counselling services are also available via one to one virtual appointments (click here for more information).