With quarantine and physical distancing, your everyday may now be filled with new challenges, especially if you have a chronic condition. How can you monitor your condition correctly if you have to stay home? Read this article to find out what you can do.
DIABETES AND BLOOD GLUCOSE
If you are living with diabetes, it is important to develop an action plan in case you become sick or you need to put yourself in strict quarantine. Here are some important things to consider in your action plan:
- Ensure you have enough medication for the next 14 days and enough refills for the next month.
- Being in quarantine can change your regular schedule and level of activity. Keep glucose tablets on hand if you are at risk of experiencing low blood sugar and glucagon in case of emergencies.
- Make sure your glucometer is in working order and check your blood sugar regularly, as recommended by your healthcare professional.
You don’t know which glucometer to choose? Your pharmacist can help you over the phone and deliver one to you once you have made your choice.
Here are some things to keep in mind before you make your choice:
- Device and display size: There are different size devices on the market. If you have impaired vision, it’s also a good idea to check the display, font size, and screen brightness.
- Ease of use: Is the device simple to use? Is it easy to find past readings?
- Syncing with electronic devices (tablet, cellphone): It is now possible to sync your blood sugar readings with an electronic device. This can be an attractive option as it allows you to always have your readings within reach, for example at medical appointments.
- Device memory: If you opt for a glucose meter that does not sync with electronic devices, make sure the memory can contain enough readings for your needs.
- Batteries: Are they easy to find and replace?
HYPERTENSION AND SELF-MONITORING
High blood pressure (hypertension) is known as a silent disease, which means it generally doesn’t cause any symptoms until a cardiac event such as a heart attack or stroke occurs.
When they’re not experiencing any symptoms, it can be difficult for people with high blood pressure to understand or feel the benefits of their treatment. However, it is important to manage hypertension correctly as this has a direct effect on the risk of a cardiac event. See how you can do it at home.
WHEN TO MONITOR YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE?
It is recommended you take your blood pressure after any change in your treatment (for example, an increase in dosage or a new medication) or from 1 to 3 times a week, if you are stable.
Measure your blood pressure twice in the morning and twice in the evening (wait two minutes between readings) before taking your hypertension medication.
HOW TO USE A BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR?
To take a reliable reading, it is important to follow a few rules when measuring your blood pressure:
- Position of the cuff: Secure the cuff directly on the skin of your arm, about 2 cm above the elbow.
- Moment of calm: Take a least 5 minutes to rest before taking your pressure.
- Position of the body: Sit down on a chair with your back supported, legs uncrossed, and feet touching the floor. The arm on which you position the cuff should be supported, ideally at heart level, for example on a table.
- Substances to avoid up to 30 minutes before self-monitoring: coffee, tea, cigarettes, or beverages containing caffeine.
If you are taking multiple medication, managing them can be more complicated during this pandemic Fortunately, your pharmacy can offer solutions and options to help you.
SYNCHRONIZING REFILL DATES
It is often possible to coordinate your refill dates so that all your medication becomes due at the same time. Your pharmacist will adjust the various quantities so that you can then begin refilling them all at the same time.
You can even synchronize prescriptions for the whole family, so that they ca all be refilled at the same time, reducing the number of visits to the pharmacy or delivery. Please inquire if this service is available in your pharmacy first.
You can also ask the pharmacy staff to renew your medication automatically at the frequency that suits you (for example, monthly). The pharmacy staff will call you a few days ahead of time to let you know that it’s time to renew your medication and let you know when they will be ready for pick-up. They’ll check whether any changes have been made to your treatment since your last refill and will make any adjustments required.
The preauthorized refill service gives your pharmacist a chance to better analyze your file and find solutions in case of any problems (such as back-ordered stock, no refills). It will also provide you an opportunity to discuss your medications with the pharmacist and address all your concerns.
In select pharmacies, you can also access your pharmacy record online, which offers several convenient options:
- Access to your list of medication
- Request for refills
- Set-up of refill reminders
- Linking family member accounts so that you can manage them all in one place.
- Inquire if this service is available in your pharmacy, Information sheets and pictures of your medication
- History of past refill requests
To access your online account, you will have to make a request by phone to your pharmacist after answering security questions. This is important in order to confirm your identity and protect the privacy of your information. There is no charge to this service.
EXTENDING A PRESCRIPTION WHEN YOU ARE OUT OF REFILLS
It’s important not to interrupt certain treatments, so if ever you can’t get an appointment with your doctor before your prescription expires, your pharmacist may be able to help. Following an assessement of your situation, your pharmacist may be able to renew your prescription to ensure your treatment isn’t interrupted.