Since I don't take insulin, do I have to do all of that urine and blood sugar testing?

Absolutely. Even though you don't generally have a problem with low blood sugar, you do have one with high blood sugar. As you know, it's the high blood sugar that causes the damage. You have to know when it's high, so you can do something to bring it down exercise, change your diet, etc. When we first learned about home blood sugar testing, we thought it wouldn't be necessary for non insulin dependent diabetics. Urine tests, we thought, would do the job for them. We've since changed our minds.

Home blood sugar testing is equally important for noninsulin takers. Most are older when they're diagnosed, and remember, the older you get, the higher goes your renal threshold.

You might take a urine test when your blood sugar is, say, 215, and the test will tell you that your blood sugar is normal when in reality it's dangerously high.

For example, we talked to the daugher of a diabetic woman who, according to her daughter, "loves to eat, especially at big family gatherings." The mother would take her urine test, it would show that she wasn't spilling sugar, so presuming her blood sugar to be normal, she'd sit down happily and, as her daughter put it, "have a feast."

The woman wound up in the hospital with dangerous ketoacidosis. She'd been running extremely high blood sugar, but it had never shown up in her urine test because of her high renal threshold.
This woman is now testing her blood sugar regularly at home. She doesn't have many feasts these days, but she's going to be around for a lot more regular meals than she would have been had she continued to dwell in a diabetic's fool's paradise with her urine tests.

Another insidious aspect about being casual with your self care and testing is that if you run around too long with elevated blood sugar, diabetes complications can start slowly and quietly developing. You may never even know what is going on until the damage is done. We're not fear mongers and we don't like to threaten you with the problems diabetics are heir to, but in our experience, non insulin dependent diabetics don't get the point about the seriousness of diabetes the way insulin takers do.

Remember that, even if you don't take insulin, you have to be as careful as any other diabetic. Actually non-insulintakers are the most likely candidates for arrival at the hospital with diabetes related complications or, as diabetes nurse specialist Diana Guthrie warns, "to have to have part of a leg removed," because they're the ones most likely to ignore their diabetes until it screams for attention.


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