When Should I Measure My Blood Glucose
Throughout the rest of your pregnancy, you will need to measure your blood glucose levels at various points through the day, to check that they are within the limits you have been given at each of those times:
When you get up You need to measure your blood glucose levels each morning when you get up, before you have anything to eat or drink. This blood glucose level is called your fasting blood glucose level because you will have an empty stomach. You must not have eaten or drunk anything apart from water overnight, for at least eight hours.
Your team should have discussed this with you and agreed the ideal morning blood glucose level for you to aim for.
Before or after every meal You will probably be asked to measure your blood glucose level around the time of a meal. Some services measure before eating while others measure one or two hours after a meal .
Again, you will have discussed and agreed an ideal blood glucose level after meals with your diabetes team. These levels will be higher than your fasting blood glucose levels, as you will just have eaten.
If you are taking insulin to help to control your blood glucose levels, you may need to do a separate test before you go to bed, or even during the night, although this is unusual.
“When we did go out for a special meal or two, and I’d have a little bit of cheesecake or something, it really affected my sugar levels. But that would’ve been just twice in the whole pregnancy.” Gemma, mum of one
Gaining Insights From Routine Blood Glucose Testing
Day-to-day blood sugar checks can give you a good idea of how you’re doing at this moment, and they can be reviewed overall to see trends. They can help answer questions such as:
- Are your medications working as they should?
- How does the type or amount of food you eat affect your blood sugar?
- How does activity or stress affect your blood sugar?
When Should You Test Your Blood Sugar
It depends on which type of diabetes you have:
- Type 1 diabetes. Itâs up to your doctor. They could suggest you test anywhere between four and 10 times a day. For example, you could test before meals and snacks, before and after exercise, before bed, and even during the night. You may also need to check more often if youâre sick, making changes to your daily routine, or starting a new medication.
- Type 2 diabetes. It depends on what you take to treat your diabetes:
- Insulin. The doctor may tell you to test a few times a day, depending on the type and amount of insulin you use. Youâll probably test before meals and at bedtime if you’re taking multiple daily injections. You may need to test only twice daily, before breakfast and dinner, if you only use a long-acting insulin.
- Medications. If you use drugs to manage diabetes, your doctor will tell you how often to check your blood sugar.
- Lifestyle changes. If youâre relying on diet and exercise, you may not need to test your blood sugar daily.
What Is Hba1c Do I Need To Monitor My Hba1c Too
While a glucometer or CGM gives you the at-the-moment sugar level, HbA1c tells you the average blood sugar level over three months. This is typically measured every 3 – 6 months at your regular check-up with your doctor.
Why is it important to check your HbA1c regularly?
The HbA1c gives an indication of how well controlled your diabetes is. As your blood sugar level can fluctuate minute to minute, the HbA1c gives you and your doctor an idea of what your blood sugar level is on average. This allows you and your doctor to monitor the control of your diabetes at each review , and make adjustments to your treatment plan.
Lowering your HbA1c can bring long term benefits. Two large-scale studies the UK Prospective Diabetes Study and the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial demonstrated that improving HbA1c by 1% for people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes cuts the risk of microvascular complications by 25%.Microvascular complications include:
Research has also shown that people with type 2 diabetes who reduce their HbA1c level by 1% are:
19% less likely to suffer cataracts
16% less likely to suffer heart failure
43% less likely to suffer amputation or death due to peripheral vascular disease
What should my HbA1c level be?
How It Is Done
A home blood sugar test involves pricking your finger, palm, or forearm with a small needle to collect a drop of blood and placing the blood on a special test strip, which you insert into the blood glucose meter before you begin the test. The blood glucose meter displays the results of a blood sugar test within a minute after testing.
The instructions for testing are slightly different for each model of home blood glucose meter. For accurate results, follow the instructions for your meter carefully. When testing blood sugar using a home blood glucose meter:
Safely dispose of your lancets after using them. Do not throw them into the household trash. A used lancet might accidentally stick someone. Place used lancets into a plastic container, such as an empty detergent bottle. Seal the container when it is about three-quarters full. Check with your local trash disposal agency about the proper disposal of lancets. Some agencies have specific instructions for the disposal of medical waste. Sometimes your doctor’s office will dispose of them for you.
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When Should I Check My Blood Sugar More Frequently
- If your diabetes medicine changes
- If you begin taking other kinds of medicines
- If you change your diet
- If your exercise routine or activity level changes
- If your stress level increases
- If youre sick. When you are sick, even without eating, your sugar levels may run high, so testing is important.
Follow your doctors testing recommendations during this time. Continue testing more often until you have maintained your blood sugar goal values for at least 1 week. Or continue testing until your doctor advises you that more frequent testing is no longer necessary.
What Is The Future Of Blood Sugar Testing
Even though you can monitor blood sugar level with glucometers and CGMs, the future might provide additional ways to manage your diabetes.
- Multiple waves: Researchers have been studying and experimenting with new technologies. For example, some adults with type 2 diabetes in Europe have access to a device that can measure blood sugar using ultrasonic, electromagnet, and thermal waves.
- Radio waves: Other advances on the horizon involve using radio waves to measure blood sugar .
- Tears: Additionally, some researchers are working on a sensor to monitor blood sugar under the lower eyelid . It works by measuring the sugar level of tear fluid.
- Contacts and lasers: Other future technologies might possibly include using a smart contact lens to measure blood sugar, as well as laser technology.
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Common Problems To Avoid
It’s important to regularly maintain your glucose meter to avoid potential problems. Follow these tips to ensure good functioning:
- Make sure you keep batteries in stock that fit your glucometer.
- Make sure your test strips are not expired, as expired test strips can provide an inaccurate result.
- After taking a test strip out, close the lid tightly. Too much light or moisture can damage the strip.
- Clean your device at regular intervals and run quality-control checks when prompted.
- Wash hands well before testing since food residues can affect the number.
- Let the alcohol dry since it can cause false lows.
Make A Note Of Your Readings
It may sound obvious, but you must record your readings. Note them down in a diary, a notebook or in your phone calendar. Some meters have software that lets you do this. You could try a diabetes app too.
You and your healthcare team can then look back over your results to see if you need to adjust your treatment.
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Getting Tested By Your Doctor
Why Should I Check My Blood Sugar Levels
Keeping an eye on blood sugar levels has many benefits. For example, testing before and after meals helps you see how eating certain foods affects those levels. Knowing this can help you adjust your food choices and medicine doses.
Exercise also can change your blood sugar levels, so test them regularly when you’re active. This way you can tell whether your dose of diabetes medicine should be adjusted as you step up your physical activity.
And because being sick can mess up how much diabetes medicine your body needs, know your blood sugar levels when you’re feeling ill. This can help you and your doctor to decide if you should use less or more medicine, depending on your diabetes management plan.
If you manage your diabetes on your own most of the time, checking blood sugar levels also helps reassure your parents that you’re taking care of yourself.
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What Time Of Day Should I Test
Recommendations for the best time of day to test your blood sugar depend on your medicine, mealtimes, and blood sugar control. Your doctor may provide a chart that outlines when to check your blood sugar and what level you should target. Your doctor may also suggest different goals, depending on your situation.
The chart may look something like this:
|Time to Test|
|Adjust diet or medicine|
*Depends on the size of the meal and the amount of insulin in your medicine
Tips For Checking Your Blood Sugar With Less Pain
Fingertips have more nerve endings, so this part of the finger tends to be the most sensitive.
If you use a finger prick to check your blood sugar level, a few techniques can make the process less painful whether youre using a glucometer or a continuous glucose monitor.
Blood sugar testing is crucial to diabetes management because high or low blood sugar can cause severe complications. If too much blood sugar accumulates in your bloodstream, you can experience major complications such as:
- nerve damage
- difficulty speaking
Blood sugar can fluctuate throughout the day especially after meals, after exercising, and during stressful events. So its important to carefully monitor your blood sugar and keep it within a healthy range.
A blood sugar level less than 140 milligrams per deciliter , but greater than 70 mg/dL is typically considered in the target range.
You should check your blood sugar regularly, even if you arent experiencing symptoms of a high or low glucose level. Some people with high and low blood sugar dont have any symptoms.
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How Do I Check
People with diabetes check their blood sugar levels by poking their fingertips and using a blood glucose meter or a continuous glucose monitor to measure the blood glucose level at that moment. Read on to find out how to use a blood glucose meter. To find out more about CGMs, start by talking to your doctor.
When Should Testing Occur
A doctor might recommend testing at three different times, and often over the course of several days:
- Morning fasting reading: This provides information about blood glucose levels before a person eats or drinks anything. Taking blood glucose readings before eating provides a baseline number. This number offers clues about glucose processes during the day.
- Before a meal: Blood glucose before a meal tends to be low, so a high blood glucose reading at this time suggests difficulties managing blood sugar.
- After a meal: Post-meal testing gives a good idea about how the body reacts to food, and if sugar can reach the cells efficiently. Blood glucose readings after a meal can help diagnose gestational diabetes, which happens during pregnancy. Most doctors recommend testing about 2 hours after a meal.
The doctor will personalize the glucose monitoring schedule for the individual.
- Fasting : 80â130 milligrams per deciliter
- Before meals: 70â130 mg/dl
- Two hours after starting meals: Below 180 mg/dl
- At bedtime: Under 120 mg/dl
- HbA1c: 7.0 percent or lower
Before beginning home testing, it is important that people get clear, target figures from their doctor.
Target numbers may vary from person to person and may change over time, depending on an individualâs health, age, weight, and other factors.
For people who do not have diabetes, blood sugar levels should be within the following ranges:
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About 40% Who Have The Disease Don’t Know It
Are you urinating more often, feeling very thirsty, hungry, or tired? Maybe youre losing weight. You may have type 2 diabetes. To find out, you can make an appointment with your doctor and have your blood tested for the condition. Or you can go to the drug store, buy a blood glucose meter, and give yourself a diabetes test.
An estimated 40 percent of adults with type 2 diabetes dont know they have it, which means they arent getting treatment that could protect them from very serious health problems down the road, such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, and kidney failure. The best option is to go to a doctor if youre having symptoms of diabetes. But if youre reluctant to do that, for whatever reason, the next best thing is to buy an over-the-counter diabetes test kit.
“If you have a family history of diabetes, are obese, or have high blood pressure, you should test yourself for diabetes, if your doctor hasnt already done so,” says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser. “By being a proactive person, you might save yourself a lot of grief in the future.
After you place the droplet of blood onto the test strip and insert it into the meter, youll see the results in just a few seconds. Youll need to repeat this process at least once more to make sure your reading is accurate. Heres what the numbers mean:
Blood Sugar Basics: What Is Blood Sugar
The term blood sugar refers to the sugar, or glucose, that is floating around in your bloodstream at any given time. Blood sugar, or blood glucose is the main source of sugar found in your blood, and comes from the food you eat. I
f you are monitoring your blood sugar, it is important to keep these numbers in check according to the American Diabetes Association .
Your blood sugar needs to be in the right range for you to be healthy. At least some glucose is necessary for your muscle, liver, and some other cells to use as fuel so they can function.
At least some sugar is necessary for your cells and organs to function properly. When our blood sugar levels get too low, it is called hypoglycemia. Without enough glucose as fuel, we lose the ability to function normally. This can make us feel weak, dizzy, and sweaty. And it can even lead to loss of consciousness.
On the other hand, blood sugar levels that get too high are also harmful, this is called hyperglycemia. Our blood sugar levels can get too high when we dont have enough insulin, or when our insulin isnt working well. This is the case for people who have prediabetes or diabetes. If it isnt treated, high blood sugar can lead to serious problems that can be deadly
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that keeping blood sugar levels in the target range is vital. It can help us prevent serious health concerns like heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease, for example.
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Different Levels And What They Mean
The ranges of safe levels of blood glucose depend on factors such as what time of day it is and when you last ate. Safe levels of blood sugar are high enough to supply your organs with the sugar they need, but low enough to prevent symptoms of hyperglycemia or complications of diabetes which follow the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases guides. Dangerous levels of blood glucose are outside of this range.
The target levels can also vary if you have diabetes. For example, if you are diabetic and are monitoring your blood sugar, you might get a reading of 65 mg/dl. That is considered to be mild hypoglycemia, and you would be wise to eat 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and retest your blood sugar in 15 minutes.
If you were not diabetic, you probably would not know that your sugar was low because you would not test and because you would not symptoms, and you would not act.
That is fine because your body is capable, under normal circumstances, of raising your blood glucose to healthy levels when needed, even if you have not eaten. It is important to keep them in control to help prevent issues like heart disease or nerve damage.
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