Monitoring equipment for testing your blood glucose level

Specialized equipment is available for you to test your blood glucose level wherever you are. Testing is usually done by inserting a blood testing strip into a blood glucose meter and applying a blood sample (obtained using a lancet) to the testing strip to obtain a reading. Your health professional can help you decide what type of equipment is best for you. You can also get information from books, the internet, or a national diabetes organization. Testing strips and lancets are obtained by prescription. You can buy meters from a pharmacy or your health professional may give you a starter kit.

Blood glucose meters

Battery-operated devices called glucose meters analyze the amount of glucose in the blood sample on your testing strip and then display the result on a screen. With most meters, you insert a testing strip into the meter before applying your blood to a specific area on the strip. The meters use one of two different methods to analyze the results but both are highly accurate and give results ranging from 10 to 600 mg/dl. Some meters also have additional features – for example, one type includes its own lancing device for collecting a blood sample.

Lancing devices and blood glucose strips

Most lancing devices consist of a hand-held tube into which you put a needle (lancet). A dial enables you to choose how deeply the needle enters your site. Lancets are used with a lancing device to prick your skin. They are designed to be used once to avoid infection and to make sure the needle is as sharp as possible. Blood testing strips usually come in packs of 25 or 50. Always check the expiry date of your blood testing strips before use.

Choosing a meter

Considering the following factors will help you to choose a glucose meter.

Size Some meters are smaller and more compact than others. If you have problems with dexterity, you may find a larger meter helpful.

Result display Meters with large displays may be easier to read if you have vision problems. Some meters just give you your test result, others give the date and time.

Averages Many meters provide you with an average of your readings, for example, over the previous 7, 14, or 28 days.

Computer download facility Some meters have a facility that allows you to download your results and analyze them on a computer.

Size of blood sample The amount of blood you need to put on your strip can vary from 0.3 to 10 microliters.

Memory Meters vary greatly in the number of results they can store. Some can store 10; others can store up to 450. A large memory is useful if you aren’t always able to write down your results.

Timing After you have applied blood, meters can take anything from 5 to 45 seconds to give you a result.

Testing sites All meters can analyze blood from your fingertips. Some can also analyze blood from your forearm, the palm of your hand, or your abdomen.

Additional features Some devices combine a blood glucose meter with other features, such as a lancing device.

Mens Health – Prostate gland, enlarged

If the prostate becomes enlarges, urination is difficult or impossible, and there is a risk of urinary and kidney damage. All the following treatments can help.

• Take 4 teaspoons (20 ml) of flaxseed oil a day (must be fresh and stored in the refrigerator).
• Take 160 mg saw palmetto extract capsule twice daily, to reduce night time urination, and improve urinary flow rate.
• Take ½ – ¾ teaspoon tincture of nettle root in 3 tablespoons (45 ml) water, three times a day. This may increase urinary volume and the maximum flow rate of urine.
• Take 160 mg pumpkin seed oil capsule three times a day, with meals. When taken with the saw palmetto and nettle remedies above, this seems to effectively reduce symptoms.
• Take panax ginseng as recommended on the container.
• Take two 10,000 mg cranberry capsules, or drink lots of unsweetened cranberry juice.

There are formulae available in health food stores that contain all the most important supplements needed to treat problems of the prostate gland. The formula you choose should ideally contain zinc (picolinate) and essential fatty acids among the other ingredients.

Prostatis
Prostatis is an infection that causes a burning sensation when passing urine, pain and tenderness In the area of the prostate, pelvic area and lower back, fever, and exhaustion. The suggestions in this section must only be followed after an examination by a doctor has ruled out anything more serious.

Essential Oils – Chamomile, cypress, eucalyptus, lavender, myrrh.

Prostatis Bath and Massage Blend

• 3 tablespoons grape seed oil
• 15 drops cypress essential oil
• 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
• 10 drops lavender essential oil
• 10 drops myrrh essential oil

To make and use

Mix all the oils together in a small bottle and shake to blend. If there’s time, leave for four days before using, so the oils have time to synergize or combine well.

Float one teaspoon of the blend onto warm water in a small bowl, and use for a massage of the abdomen and lower back.

Pour two teaspoons of the blend onto a bath or foot bath, agitate to dispense, and soak in the bath for 30 minutes, massaging any floating oil droplets into the skin.

Pour a little of the blend into the palm of the hand and massage over the body after showering. Paying special attention to the lower back, and sacrum area.

“Jock itch”

This is a fungal infection of the groin area often caused by wearing underwear and/or pants that are too tight, and which are made of synthetic material. The perspiration can’t evaporate, and the area becomes a perfect breeding ground for the fungus. The condition is typified by small red itchy spot that can become very sore.

Essential Oils – Tea tree, lavender

Treatment

Wash the area carefully twice a day with two drops of lavender oil in a small bowl of water. Dry gently but thoroughly. Add five drops of each essential oil to four teaspoons (20 ml) of olive oil. Massage into itchy area two or three times a day.

Gout

Gout is caused by an excessive build-up of uric acid in the body that turns into crystals around joints, most commonly the base of the big toe. Attacks are accompanied by extremely painful swelling, and inflammation.

Internal remedies are of paramount importance in the treatment of gout. The absolute number one remedy for gout is to eat cherries – canned, frozen, or fresh. If you keep including them in your diet the gout won’t occur. Another remedy is the following tea. It’s easiest to make a few days supply at one time, (12 cups / 3 liters would be a four-day supply).

Use one teaspoon of the dried (two teaspoon fresh) herb to 1 cup (250 ml) of water, or 12 teaspoons of dried (24 teaspoons fresh) herb to 12 cups (3 liters) of water.

Mens Health – Heart Health

Men aren’t usually as in tune with their bodies as are women. In the past it was considered “not manly” to worry about physical problems – men were supposed to tough it out and not complain. However, attention to the particular problems that men encounter has become accepted and important, and there are many clinics specifically set up to help with men’s problems.

Ask Yourself

• Did anyone in my family die of a heart attack?
• Is my blood pressure high?
• Can I reduce the stress at work or home?
• Am I smoking or drinking too much?
• Am I physically fit?
• Do I need to exercise more?
• Am I overweight?
• Do I eat too much junk and not enough fish, grain, fruit, and vegetables?

If the answer is “Yes” to any or many of the above questions, you need to make a change.

The following treatment should be used as a starter, and your health professional should be informed of any natural or alternative treatment that you are using. Always consult a professional if symptoms persist or become aggravated.

Heart Health

The biggest problems that men have to address are diet and stress, and their dire consequences. Heart attacks strike men during their middle years, and many could have been avoided if the warning signs had been heeded. There is so much help out there these days – the Heart Association is only a phone call away. The following recipes will improve the circulation, reduce stress, and aid in lowering blood pressure.

Essential Oil to Stimulate Circulation – Black pepper, clary sage, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, hyssop, marjoram, rose, rosemary

Essential Oils to Reduce Stress – Basil, bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, cypress, frankincense, marjoram, sandalwood

Heart’s Ease Blend

• ½ cup (80 ml) grape seed oil
• 20 drops geranium essential oil
• 20 drops clary sage essential oil
• 10 drops bergamot essential oil
• 10 drops rosemary oil
• 5 drops marjoram oil

To make and use

Mix all the oils together in a small bottle and shake to blend. If there’s time, leave for four days before using so the oils have time to synergize or combine well.

Float one teaspoon of the blend onto warm water in a small bowl, and use for massage. Pour two teaspoons of the blend into a bath or footbath, agitate to disperse, and soak in the bath for 20-30 minutes, massaging any floating oil droplets into the skin.

Pour a little of the blend into the palm of the hand, and massage over the body after showering, while the skin is still damp.

Alternatively, just blend the essential oils together to use as an air spray or in an oil burner.

Migraines and Stroke Risk in Men

A new study shows chronic headache is a predictor of stroke in men. Interestingly, the study did not find a connection between headaches and stroke risk in women.

There have been many studies linking migraines and the risk of stroke. Most studies link the risk of stroke and migraines among premenopausal women. Doctors from the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland, conducted a study to determine the connection between migraines and stroke risk.

The study included 35,056 Finnish men and women between ages 25 and 64. The men and women were part of a cardiovascular risk survey that was conducted in 1972, 1977, 1982 and 1987. The participants were asked about headaches, smoking, diabetes, blood pressure, weight, height, cholesterol level, and oral contraceptive use. During the study, 2,167 of the participants suffered a stroke.

Researchers say women in the study reported having headaches twice as often as men. When investigators compared who had headaches and a stroke, they found there was an association with men, but not with women in the study. The association was stronger in the first year of follow-up and decreased as years passed among men. With the women, there was an association between headache and stroke risk but it was not statistically significant.

Authors of the study conclude chronic headache is an independent predictor of stroke among men. Since the association was stronger during a short follow-up, researchers say migraines could be a marker of the process that leads to an acute stroke.

SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2003;163:1058-1062

Headache Management

This is a class of chronic headache sufferers. They are learning how to prevent migraines.

Sherry Gaunt, migraine sufferer:
“They are so bad that you hurt and you say ‘Make it stop.'”

Sherry hopes to make it stop with what she learns at this headache management class in Fontana, California.

Sally Schultzman, Ph.D., preventive medicine dept., Kaiser-Permanente, Fontana, CA:
“People who suffer with chronic headaches often feel like they are the only people who suffer with that.”

Participants learn how to reduce stress and watch what they eat. For example, if they are sensitive to nitrates or nitrites they might want to stay away from leafy vegetables.

Sally Schultzman:
“Salads have a lot of naturally occurring nitrates in them, and nitrates are something a plant will get according to the growing season.”

Reading labels on food packages can also be the best medicine to prevent a headache. Students keep a diary of when their headaches occur and what triggers them.

Karen Stark, headache sufferer:
“When I found out on weekends, when I didn’t get up early enough to have my coffee at the same time I usually had during the week, the caffeine absence would kick in and immediately give me a headache.”

Whether their headaches are caused by food or stress, those who come here leave this two-hour class knowing that the source of their pain is not just in their head.

Sally Schultzman:
“They are not nuts. They are not crazy. They are not being written off. There are things that they can do.”

Researchers find that many times the frequency, severity and duration of headaches can be controlled without drugs, by making simple lifestyle changes.

Family Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

Getting family members involved after a person with bipolar disorder has an acute episode can reduce the chances of a relapse, report researchers in this month’s Archives of General Psychiatry.

Most people with bipolar disorder are treated with drug therapy after an acute episode, and most do find relief from symptoms. However, drug therapy is less effective over the long term, with up to 60 percent of patients suffering a relapse within two years and 50 percent experiencing intermittent symptoms. Finding ways to supplement drug therapy, therefore, has become a top goal of researchers.

In this study, investigators from the University of North Carolina and Chapel Hill compared bipolar patients who were enrolled in a program called family-focused therapy with those who took part in a less intensive crisis management program. All had recently had an acute episode and were on standard drugs for the disorder. The family-focused therapy consisted of 21 sessions involving education about the disorder, communication training, and training in problem-solving skills. Patients took part in the sessions along with all of their available family members. The crisis management program consisted of two sessions of family education and crisis intervention sessions when needed. Both groups underwent the treatments for nine months and were followed for two years.

Results showed those who received the family-focused therapy had fewer relapses and longer times between relapses than those in the crisis management group, 35 percent vs. 54 percent, and 73.5 weeks vs. 53.2 weeks, respectively.

The authors conclude, “Psychosocial interventions are by no means substitutes for pharmacotherapy, but they may augment mood stabilizers in protecting patients from symptoms deterioration as well as enhance compliance with maintenance treatments.”

SOURCE: Archives of General Psychiatry, 2003;60:904-912