AskNadia: Party Blood Sugar Reading Indicates I have Diabetes

I was at a party and decided to test my blood sugar with a meter that belonged to a family member that has diabetes. I was shocked to see my blood sugar read 200. Since then I bought a blood glucose meter to track my blood sugars. Every time I test my blood sugar, it hovers in the 80’s.

Why would I get a high blood sugar reading on my friend’s meter and not on the one I bought?

HS
San Diego Ca

Dear HS,

If someone at a party peeked your interest in testing your blood sugar with their glucose meter, you must have had some concern about having diabetes.  Most newly diagnosed people living with diabetes have a difficult time over coming the initial discipline of lancing their finger and getting a drop of blood onto a test strip.

Perhaps you have a family history of diabetes? Before you get ahead of yourself and start worrying, lets first understand what these medical terms mean.

What is Pre-diabetes

Pre-diabetes is when your blood sugar is high but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.

What is Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition when you have too much glucose in your body. Our body uses glucose for energy. The pancreas signals a release of insulin when the food you eat is converted to sugar.

Insulin is a hormone that transports the sugar to cells so it can be used for energy. Too much glucose in your system and not enough insulin gives you high blood sugars. If your body does not produce enough insulin for energy then your body uses your fat. Using your fat stores for energy causes an exchange called ketones,  an acid build up.  This condition can be fatal if the acid build up turns into ketoacidosis.

If you are concerned about having diabetes, check to see if you have any of these symptoms:

~ Feeling very tired and unmotivated
~ Can’t seems to quench your thirst
~ Can’t seem to satiate your appetite regardless of your food consumption
~ Your vision changes and things become blurry
~ You hurt yourself and don’t heal quickly
~ You find yourself going to the bathroom frequently
~ Your feet and hands start feeling numb or start tingling

The most accurate method to check for diabetes is to ask your healthcare professional for a blood test.  Depending on the type of diabetes your healthcare professional is testing you for, they may simply check you A1C , give you a glucose tolerance test, a fasting plasma glucose test or a C-petite test.

Four Possible Outcomes

Your test results will either show; no diabetes, pre-diabetes, type 2 or type 1 diabetes.

No Diabetes

If your test result comes back with a no diabetes result and you  have a family history of  diabetes, I would recommend taking the fasting glucose test annually.

Medical professionals that have this checked in your chart may automatically screen you when you go in for an annual check-up.

It is impotent to note that weight is not the one determining factor for testing for diabetes.  I have met many slender types 2’s that were stunned to be diagnosed because they did no have a weight problem.

~ You Have Pre-diabetes

If this is the case, you now have a great opportunity to reverse your pre-diabetes diagnosis with life style changes. Don’t ignore it. There are not many opportunities in our lives when we can change the outcome of a chronic disease.

~You Have Type 2 Diabetes

Sometimes people who get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are relieved because the symptoms experienced were scary.  The blurry vision, unquenchable thirst and frequent urination  was uncontrollable.  The diagnosis at least offered a solution in relieving these symptoms.

Some people will tell you getting diabetes is the best thing that has ever happened to them.  Their new lifestyle changes gives them more energy and over all they feel better than they have in years.

Type 2 Diabetes is Not Reversible or Curable at This Time

Once you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It is not reversible or curable at this time. The reason being, if you eat well and exercise, you can maintain normal blood sugars. If you can achieve this through diet and exercise, kudos to you.

You should also bare in mind just because you are maintaining normal blood sugars does not mean you no longer have diabetes. Some advertisers and marketers erroneously call this reversing or curing diabetes.

Normal blood sugars readings do not mean you no longer have diabetes. It simply means you have good blood sugars and your diabetes is under control.

Diabetes During Pregnancy

Gestational diabetes is diagnosed during pregnancy. This can be a temporary diagnosis, or it can be a life long condition.  Five to ten percent of pregnant mothers with gestational diabetes will continue to have diabetes after childbirth.

~ Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes requires you take insulin because your pancreas makes little to no insulin.  Knowing what to eat and when to adjust your insulin is crucial in maintaining normal blood sugars.

Working with a healthcare professional will give you a personalized plan on how many units of insulin your require to maintain normal blood sugars.

How Your External Environment Can Give You  a High Blood Sugar Reading

One important point you may not have though of, is all the things your hands touch through out the party.  If you were grazing at the buffet and your fingers touched sweet foods, the sugar on your finger could be the culprit for the high blood sugar reading.

If you were  drinking alcohol and walking in a crowded party while someone gently bumps you, the alcohol in your glass can spill onto your fingers. This could be anther reason for a high blood sugar reading.

These two scenarios are possible answers to why you might have a high blood sugar reading while your meter consistently reads a normal blood sugar.

There is a third possibility which has more to do with meter accuracy than having you touching sweet foods that artificially read a drop of blood that is coated with sugar from an external environment.

Sometimes blood glucose meter inaccuracies could account for a big swing in blood sugar readings. In your case, I would recommend getting your blood sugar tested by healthcare professional to determine which category you fall in.

You might also be interested in reading these similar stories:

 

AskNadia: What’s The Science Behind The A1C Test
The Hidden Gift of a Diabetes Diagnosis
C-Peptide Test Sheds Light on Diabetes Diagnosis
History Of Diabetes: From Raw Quinces and Gruel to Insulin
Source:

NIH

Ketones

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Email Nadia at AskNadia@DiabetesHealth.com
Disclaimer:
Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professionals therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.
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About Nadia:
Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview now Diabetes Health magazine.
Nadia holds 15 nominations for her work as a diabetes advocate.
 Her passion for working in the diabetes community stemmed from her personal loss. She has used her experience as a caretaker to forge a career in helping others.

 

 

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