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How Can I Monitor My Blood Sugar

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How To Monitor Your Blood Glucose Levels

The Dexcom G6 Can Read Your Blood Sugar Without Any Blood | CNBC

Watch this film from Diabetes UK or read the instructions below.

Tip

There is less sensation in the sides of your fingers than the tips or the underneath. Try to prick the side of your finger, near the tip.

To monitor your glucose, you will be given a blood glucose monitor. This is designed for you to measure your own blood glucose levels at home, or wherever you happen to be, by checking a drop of your blood. You produce the blood by using a finger pricker.

To monitor your glucose, you will be given a blood glucose monitor. This is designed for you to measure your own blood glucose levels at home, or wherever you happen to be, by checking a drop of your blood. You produce the blood by using a finger pricker.

There are many different brands of meter on the market, but they all work in similar ways:

Step 1 Wash your hands.

Step 2 Set up a finger pricker with a clean needle.

Step 3 Insert one end of a test strip into the meter.

Step 4 Use the finger pricker to prick the side of your finger.

Step 5 When a spot of blood appears where you pricked you finger, place it onto the end of the testing strip that is sticking out of the meter to transfer the blood.

Step 6 After a few seconds, the meter will display your blood glucose level.

Step 7 Clean the blood off your finger.

Step 8 Record the results in your blood glucose diary or diabetes journal, or you may have a phone app that you use.

Step 9 Throw away the test strip.

How Does It Work

You can test blood sugar levels at home using a blood glucose meter, which is a computerized device that measures the amount of glucose in a sample of your blood and displays it on a screen.

To get a sample of your blood, a small needle called a lancet is used to poke the skin to get one drop of blood. The drop is placed on a testing strip that goes into the glucose meter, and the blood glucose reading appears on a screen within a few seconds.

When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, your mom or dad may help you test your blood sugar levels and keep track of the results. As you get older, though, you’ll learn how to use the glucose meter and monitor your blood sugar levels on your own. If you have any questions about using or taking care of your glucose meter, ask a member of your diabetes health care team.

How do you know which blood glucose meter to use? When you and your parents are choosing a glucose meter, you might want to consider:

Newer technologies are making it easier and less painful to keep track of diabetes. Adjustable lancets can make finger poking less painful by changing the depth to which the needle enters the skin, and certain meters can use blood drawn from a forearm or other body parts that are less sensitive than a fingertip for some people. Your diabetes health care team will help you choose the best type of equipment for you.

Page 2

How Much Does Continuous Glucose Monitoring Cost

CGM devices can be expensive. More and more insurance providers cover them today, which may make the cost more affordable. Your health insurance policy may only cover certain CGM devices.

Keep in mind that youll need to replace sensors and possibly transmitters regularly. Check with your insurance provider to see what devices and supplies your plan covers. Many providers and CGM companies have resources to help make CGM more affordable for those who need it.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Learning how to use a CGM device can take time. Its not a diabetes cure or a quick fix. But it has the potential to help you better understand the disease. A CGM device lets you keep a closer eye on glucose trends . By seeing the bigger picture, you can prevent problems or catch them early on to better manage your health. CGMs automated, always-on setup may give you more freedom, flexibility and peace of mind. It could also help you focus on other things without worrying about your blood sugar as much.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/07/2021.

References

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How Does A Continuous Glucose Monitor Work

A CGM works through a tiny sensor inserted under your skin, usually on your belly or arm. The sensor measures your interstitial glucose level, which is the glucose found in the fluid between the cells. The sensor tests glucose every few minutes. A transmitter wirelessly sends the information to a monitor.

The monitor may be part of an insulin pump or a separate device, which you might carry in a pocket or purse. Some CGMs send information directly to a smartphone or tablet. Several models are available and are listed in the American Diabetes Associations product guide.

Where Can I Test My Blood Sugar Besides My Finger

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The finger is the most reliable area for a person to test their blood sugar. However, some monitors may allow for alternate site testing. These alternate sites may include the palm, upper forearm, abdomen, calf, and thigh.

A person should always check the instructions on their blood glucose monitor to check if this is possible before performing alternate site testing.

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Recommended Blood Sugar Targets For Most People With Diabetes*

Your targets may not be the same as the examples in this chart. Your targets are important and should be specific to you.

A1C**
4.0 to 7.05.0 to 10.0

* This information is based on the Diabetes Canada 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada and is a guide.** A1C is a measurement of your average blood sugar control for the last two to three months and approximately 50 per cent of the value comes from the last 30 days.

Special Features Of A Cgm

CGMs are always on and recording glucose levelswhether youre showering, working, exercising, or sleeping. Many CGMs have special features that work with information from your glucose readings:

  • An alarm can sound when your glucose level goes too low or too high.
  • You can note your meals, physical activity, and medicines in a CGM device, too, alongside your glucose levels.
  • You can download data to a computer or smart device to more easily see your glucose trends.

Some models can send information right away to a second persons smartphoneperhaps a parent, partner, or caregiver. For example, if a childs glucose drops dangerously low overnight, the CGM could be set to wake a parent in the next room.

Currently, one CGM model is approved for treatment decisions, the Dexcom G5 Mobile. That means you can make changes to your diabetes care plan based on CGM results alone. With other models, you must first confirm a CGM reading with a finger-stick blood glucose test before you take insulin or treat hypoglycemia.

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How Do I Check

People with diabetes check their blood glucose 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.

What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels

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Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular physical activity can all help. Other tips include:

  • Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
  • Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
  • Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
  • Drink water instead of juice or soda.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks.
  • For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
  • Control your food portions .

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How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies

Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.

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

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Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Level

Last Updated May 2022 | This article was created by familydoctor.org editorial staff and reviewed by Robert “Chuck” Rich, Jr., MD, FAAFP

If you have diabetes, its important to monitor your blood sugar at different times of the day and throughout the year. There are 3 tools that can help you do this and, therefore, manage your diabetes: A blood test done every three months, blood tests taken every day, and a system that constantly monitors your blood glucose.

The 3-month blood test is called an A1C test. This test reflects your blood sugar control over the past 2-3 months. Testing your A1C level every 3 months is the best way for you and your doctor to understand how well your blood sugar levels are controlled. Your doctor will likely be the one who orders an A1C test. However, you can also purchase over-the-counter A1C testing kits that you can use at home. Your A1C goal will be determined by your doctor. However, the goal is generally less than 7% or 8%, depending on your age.

The daily blood test is done with a blood glucose monitor . This is also called a home blood sugar meter, a glucometer, or a glucose meter. This type of testing is often referred to as self-monitoring of blood glucose. Your doctor may prescribe a BGM, especially if your blood sugar fluctuates. They will show you how to use it.

What Causes Blood Sugar To Be High

How often should my blood sugar be measured?

Many things can cause high blood sugar , including being sick, being stressed, eating more than planned, and not giving yourself enough insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term, serious health problems. Symptoms of high blood sugar include:

  • Feeling very tired.
  • Having blurry vision.
  • Needing to urinate more often.

If you get sick, your blood sugar can be hard to manage. You may not be able to eat or drink as much as usual, which can affect blood sugar levels. If youre ill and your blood sugar is 240 mg/dL or above, use an over-the-counter ketone test kit to check your urine for ketones and call your doctor if your ketones are high. High ketones can be an early sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.

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Establish A Routine For How Often And When You Should Test Your Blood Sugar

Work with your doctor to plan your routine. They may suggest checking it while youre fasting, before and after meals, or before bedtime. Each persons situation is different, so its important to decide on an arrangement that will work for you.

When youve set that schedule, make checking your blood part of your daily routine. Build it into your day. Many meters have alarms you can set to help you to remember to test. When testing becomes a part of your day, youll be less likely to forget.

When Should I Check My Blood Glucose Level

When you should check your blood glucose levels and how often you should check varies depending on each individual, the type of diabetes and the tablets and/or insulin being used. Your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator will help you decide how many checks are needed and the levels to aim for. Possible times to check are:

  • Before breakfast
  • Before rigorous exercise
  • When you are feeling unwell

Even though your meter may have a memory, it is important to keep a record of your readings in a diary and to take this with you to all appointments with your diabetes health team. This will provide both you and your diabetes health team with important information in deciding if and how your treatment may need to be adjusted.

Most meters on the market have software which allows you to download your records in different formats such as graphs and charts. Even if you can do this, it is still helpful to keep a diary, not only for your checks but also details of your daily activities, the food you eat and other relevant information. There are some apps that record all of this information in one place. Ask your doctor or diabetes educator how you can use a diary to help you to better manage your diabetes.

Checking four times a day is usually recommended for people with type 1 diabetes. However many people check more often, such as those using an insulin pump .

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How To Stay In Target

Eating healthy, exercising and taking medication, if necessary, will help you keep your blood sugar levels within their target range. Target ranges for blood sugar can vary depending on your age, medical condition and other risk factors.

Targets are different for pregnant women, older adults and children 12 years of age and under.

Why Is It So Important To Check My Blood Levels

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Regular checking and recording of your blood glucose level can reinforce your healthy lifestyle choices as well as inform you of your response to other choices and influences.

Importantly, blood glucose level pattern changes can alert you and your health care team to a possible need for a change in how your diabetes is being managed.

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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.

  • Make sure the meter is clean and ready to use.
  • After removing a test strip, immediately close the test strip container tightly. Test strips can be damaged if they are exposed to moisture.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dry well. Massage your hand to get blood into your finger. Dont use alcohol because it dries the skin too much.
  • Use a lancet to prick your finger. Squeezing from the base of the finger, gently place a small amount of blood onto the test strip. Place the strip in the meter.
  • After a few seconds, the reading will appear. Track and record your results. Add notes about anything that might have made the reading out of your target range, such as food, activity, etc.
  • Properly dispose the lancet and strip in a trash container.
  • Do not share blood sugar monitoring equipment, such as lancets, with anyone, even other family members. For more safety information, please see Infection Prevention during Blood Glucose Monitoring and Insulin Administration.
  • Store test strips in the container provided. Do not expose them to moisture, extreme heat, or cold temperatures.
  • Managing Blood Sugar When Youre Ill

    When you get sick, your blood sugar levels may fluctuate and become unpredictable.

    If you’re sick, it’s very important that you:

    • drink plenty of water or sugar-free fluids
    • check your blood sugar levels more often than usual
    • take 15 grams of carbohydrate every hour if you are not able to follow your usual meal plan
    • replace food with fluids that contain sugar if you can’t eat solid food
    • continue to take your insulin or other diabetes medication

    If you have a cold or flu and want to use a cold remedy or cough syrup, ask your pharmacist to help you make a good choice. Many cold remedies and cough syrups contain sugar, so try to pick sugar-free products.

    As an extra precaution, you should always check with your health-care team about guidelines for insulin adjustment or medication changes during an illness.

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