Can You Check Your Blood Sugar At Home Without A Meter
The advances in health technology have made it much easier for people to get real-time insights into their blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. But testing and monitoring your glucose levels itself isn’t new. The first diagnostic test for diabetes was created as far back as 1841. It analyzed glucose levels by analyzing urine using acid hydrolysis, a test that breaks down larger molecules such as glucose into smaller ones.
Over the following centuries, scientists refined this urine analysis method further by using different compounds. But it wasnât until the 1970s that glucose blood tests such as the hemoglobin A1c, or HbA1c, became available.
Eventually, at-home finger-prick tests became available for use by the general public. Nowadays, technology has made it even easier to get 24/7 glucose level analysis without needing to prick fingers every time. You can now use tools like the continuous glucose monitor to track glucose in real-time.
Read on to learn how glucose testing and self-monitoring has made it easy for people to maintain normal blood glucose levels.
Is Clear Urine A Sign Of Diabetes
When a diabetes patient has clear urine occasionally, it means the person is well hydrated or too hydrated. A diabetes patient often experiences excessive thirst, which makes them drink lots of water. The kidney reabsorbs more water and puts out concentrated urine, the ADH falls, then comes out in clear and dilute urine. This condition is called Diabetes Inspidus.
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Things That Can Affect A Fasting Blood Sugar Test
A fasting blood sugar level is usually ordered by a physician either to check for a new diagnosis of diabetes or to monitor a person who is known to have diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is the bodys main source of energy. A fasting blood sugar level is a measurement of how much glucose is in a persons blood after 12 hours without eating or drinking anything other than water, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Thats why this simple blood test is usually done in the morning, before breakfast. If your fasting blood sugar is high, it is likely a sign of diabetes.
In order to understand what can affect a fasting blood sugar level, its helpful to know a bit more about how the body processes glucose.
The body gets most of its glucose supply from metabolizing the carbohydrates in food, per Kaiser Permanente. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps move glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells, lowering blood sugar levels in the process. But people with diabetes have systems that either dont make enough insulin or cant use the insulin that they do have effectively. This leads to high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia.
Fasting Blood Sugar Test Results
Here are the possible outcomes of a fasting blood sugar test, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Normal fasting blood sugar: less than 100 milligrams per deciliter
- Impaired fasting glucose : between 100 and 125 mg/dL
- Diabetes: greater than 126 mg/dL
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How Often Should I Test My Blood Sugar Level
Your family doctor will recommend how often you should test. Testing times are based on the kind of medicine you take and on how well your blood sugar levels are controlled. Youll probably need to check your blood sugar more often at first. Youll also check it more often when you feel sick or stressed, when you change your medicine, or if youre pregnant.
Other Meters Being Developed
Besides the above four CGMs, other meters are being developed that do not require blood samples. One such CGM is called GlucoTrack by Integrity Applications, which measures blood glucose via your earlobe. However, it hasnt yet been FDA approved.
Other types of technologies may be seen soon to help improve diabetes management without the need for finger pricks. However, standalone smartwatches, contact lenses, and other buzzworthy devices havent yet proven to accurately measure blood glucose.
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What Happens During A Blood Glucose Test
A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out.
For some types of glucose blood tests, you will drink a sugary liquid and wait for an hour before your blood sample is taken:
- A glucose challenge test is used to test for gestational diabetes in pregnancy. If your blood glucose level is higher than normal, you may have gestational diabetes. You’ll need an oral glucose tolerance test to get a diagnosis.
- An oral glucose tolerance test is used to diagnose gestational diabetes, and type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in people who aren’t pregnant. A blood sample will be taken before you have a sugary drink and then again, every hour for the next 2 or 3 hours.
How To Use A Blood Sugar Meter
There are different kinds of meters, but most of them work the same way. Ask your health care team to show you the benefits of each. In addition to you, have someone else learn how to use your meter in case youre sick and cant check your blood sugar yourself.
Below are tips for how to use a blood sugar meter.
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Hangry No More: Heres How To Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced Throughout The Day
You can avoid premeal grouchiness and post-meal crashes by keeping your blood sugar levels steady.
Mercey Livingston is a health and wellness writer and certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Shes written about fitness and wellness for Well+Good, Womens Health, Business Insider, and Prevention.com among others. When not writing, she enjoys reading and trying out workout classes all over New York City.
People often think of blood sugar solely in the context of diabetes or pregnancy, but its important for everyone to pay attention to it. Avoiding high blood sugar and low blood sugar can help you feel your best and keep up steady energy throughout the day.
Balancing your blood sugar helps to keep your energy even, keeps you more focused, balances out your hormones, prevents excessive hunger, helps with weight loss and overall maintains optimal health and wellbeing, says Amy Shapiro, a registered dietician and founder of Real Nutrition NYC.
Your blood sugar could be all over the place if you feel hungry all the time, even if youre eating frequently. Ideally, when you eat you feel steady energy for several hours and dont get hangry easily. When your blood sugar is balanced you find you think less about food and more about all the things that you can do, says Shapiro.
Insert The Glucose Strip Into The Glucometer
You have to double check if your glucose strip is compatible with your glucometer. It helps to buy them as a set. Take note of where you bought your glucometer so you know where to run to when you need to restock on glucose strips.
Once youve confirmed that your glucose strips are compatible with your monitor, insert it into the slot indicated for the strip, which is usually found at the bottom of the device. The device will turn on, automatically.
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Is There Anything Else I Should Know About A Blood Glucose Test
If you have diabetes, you may need to do blood sugar testing at home every day to help manage your blood glucose levels. There are two ways to do this:
- Blood glucose meters require you to prick your finger with a small device called a lancet. You apply a drop of blood to a test strip and insert it into a small, electronic glucose meter, which measures the glucose is in your blood.
- Continuous glucose monitors use a tiny sensor that you insert under your skin. Every few minutes, the sensor measures glucose levels in fluids between your cells. If your glucose is too high or too low, you use a blood glucose meter to check your blood levels before making changes to raise or lower your glucose level.
Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar Level
Hypoglycemia is a condition in which your blood sugar levels are too low. It can occur if you dont eat for a while or have diabetes and take too much insulin.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can include:
- Having a fast heartbeat
If you have diabetes and think you might be experiencing hypoglycemia, its essential to check your blood sugar levels immediately. Furthermore, if theyre low, eat or drink something that will raise your blood sugar levels quickly, such as fruit juice, hard candy, crackers with peanut butter, or milk.
If an individual has diabetes, they need to keep their blood sugar levels. One can do this by managing their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
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HealthifyMe addresses the underlying issue. By examining your medical history, evaluating your medications, and analysing diagnostic test results, we get to the bottom of the problem and give you more insight into your situation.
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Are There Devices That Can Help Manage Diabetes
There are many new tools that can help people with diabetes manage this disease just as they manage other facets of their lives. For instance, increasingly sophisticated software programs are available that allow you to track and analyze trends in blood sugar levels over a period of time. These programs allow you to download and store data from a blood glucose meter directly onto a computer or cell phone and then view charts that show what percentage of time your glucose levels were within normal ranges. You will also be able to see what percentage of time they were above or below normal. These programs do more than just help you understand when glucose levels change and when they stay stable. They also let your doctor review the same data in order to make recommendations that help you stay well.
Another way you can help manage diabetes is by using a continuous glucose monitoring system . A CGMS is an FDA-approved device that records blood sugar levels throughout the day and night. This technology allows you to use the results of glucose monitoring to make informed decisions about nutrition, activity level, and medication.
Other tools include smaller, disposable glucose monitors that can be worn directly on the skin and concealed under clothing. And there are combination tools that let you monitor blood glucose and administer insulin therapy with one piece of equipment.
Dangers Of Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is when your blood sugar levels are below normal. Because glucose is the bodyâs primary energy source, hypoglycemia is extremely dangerous and can be fatal if itâs not addressed.
If you detect any of the signs of hypoglycemia, you should first consume 15 grams of easily digestible carbohydrates. It can be in the form of juice, sugar, or glucose tablets.
Focus on consuming simple sugars with low fiber instead of fiber-rich complex carbohydrates. Then recheck your blood sugars 15 minutes later to see if you have normalized.
If you have, eat a small snack containing mostly protein to stabilize your glucose levels. If your levels are still low, repeat with another 15 grams of easily digestible carbohydrates and retest accordingly.
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When Its Okayand Not Okayto Check From Alternate Sites
Alternate site testing should only be used when your blood sugar is stable. For example:3
- Immediately before a meal
Always check from your fingertip, however, when blood sugar may be changing:3
- Following a meal, when blood sugar is rising quickly
- Whenever you think your blood sugar might be low or falling
How The Test Is Done
You can buy a testing kit from a pharmacy without a prescription. Your provider can help you choose the right kit, set up the meter, and teach you how to use it.
Most kits have:
- Small needles that fit into a spring-loaded plastic device
- A logbook for recording your numbers that can be downloaded and viewed at home or at your providers office
To do the test, prick your finger with the needle and place a drop of blood on a special strip. This strip measures how much glucose is in your blood. Some monitors use blood from areas of the body other than the fingers, reducing discomfort. The meter shows your blood sugar results as a number on a digital display. If your vision is poor, talking glucose meters are available so that you dont have to read the numbers.
Be aware that no meter or strip is accurate 100% of the time. If your blood sugar value is unexpectedly high or low, measure again with a new strip. Do not use strips if the container has been left open or if the strip has gotten wet.
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Why You Should Check Your Blood Sugar
Testing blood glucose can help you manage diabetes by showing you:
- How well your diabetes treatment plan is working
- How exercise and food affect your blood sugar levels
- How things like stress and illness affect your levels
- How well your diabetes medication is working
- When your blood sugar levels are too high or too low
How Do I Measure My Blood Sugar Level
Follow your doctors advice and the instructions that come with the BGM or CGM. Different meters work differently, so be sure to check with your doctor for advice specifically for you. With a BGM, youll usually follow the steps below:
- Wash your hands and dry them well before doing the test.
- Use an alcohol pad to clean the area that youre going to prick. For most glucose meters, you will prick your fingertip. However, with some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh, or the fleshy part of your hand. Ask your doctor what area you should use with your meter.
- Prick yourself with a sterile lancet to get a drop of blood.
- Place the drop of blood on the test strip.
- Follow the instructions for inserting the test strip into your glucose meter.
- The meter will give you a number for your blood sugar level.
If you have a CGM, youll follow the insertion directions that come with the monitor. Once its warmed up, the transmitter wirelessly sends the data to your computer or smartphone.
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What Youre Testing When You Test Your Blood Sugar
When your body does not make or properly use insulinthe hormone that processes food into fuel for your bodythe glucose from food builds up in your bloodstream. Higher blood sugar means you do not have enough insulin pulling glucose out of your bloodstream to create fuel for your body.
Thats why its so important to check your blood sugar so you know if and how much more medication you need to give your body the proper fuel it requires to function and feel good. For people with Type 1 diabetes, this impacts how much insulin you need to take. For people with other types of diabetes, it can impact a variety of medication doses, like metformin or insulin.
Key is knowing what your blood sugar number is blood sugar tests arent a judgement, but just a piece of data that lets you know how your body is doing. If your blood sugar stays too high for too long, youll likely feel sick and tired, and could be damaging your body over time. If it stays too low, you may feel confused and shaky, and if you have a severe low blood sugar, you could pass out or have a seizure.
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