What Equipment Do I Need To Test My Blood Glucose At Home
You will need:
- a lancing device
- blood glucose diagnostic test strip
- a notebook, diary or app to record your blood glucose levels.
In New Zealand a blood glucose test meter, together with lancets and diagnostic test strips, are only subsidised for people who are taking insulin, glipizide, gliclazide, glibenclamide or who have diabetes and are pregnant.
These criteria can change, so check with your diabetes nurse or doctor.If you dont qualify for a subsidised blood glucose meter, you can expect to pay between $5070 to get fully set up with testing equipment. If you are buying or applying for a home testing meter, you will also need a finger-pricking device. See these videos about blood glucose meters.
How To Do A Finger
Your healthcare team will show you how to do it the first time, but these are the key steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dont use wet wipes as the glycerine in them can affect the test result. Make sure your hands are warm so its easier to get blood and wont hurt as much.
- Take a test strip and slot it into the meter to turn it on. Some meters will have tests strips built in.
- Remove the cap from your finger prick device and put in a new lancet. Then put the cap back on and set the device by pulling or clicking the plunger.
- Choose which finger to prick but avoid your thumb or index finger . And dont prick the middle, or too close to a nail. Place the device against the side of your finger and press the plunger. Use a different finger each time and a different area.
- Take your meter with the test strip and hold it against the drop of blood. Itll tell you if the test strip is filled, usually by beeping.
- Before you look at your reading, check your finger. Use a tissue to stop bleeding, then use it to take out the lancet and throw it away in your sharps bin.
- You can use the same tissue to take out the test strip and throw that away too. Taking out the strip will usually turn the meter off.
Why Do I Need To Know My Blood Sugar Numbers
Your blood sugar numbers show how well your diabetes is managed. And managing your diabetes means that you have less chance of having serious health problems, such as kidney disease and vision loss.
As you check your blood sugar, you can see what makes your numbers go up and down. For example, you may see that when you are stressed or eat certain foods, your numbers go up. And, you may see that when you take your medicine and are active, your numbers go down. This information lets you know what is working for you and what needs to change.
What Should I Know About Ketones
Ketones appear in your urine when your body uses its own fat for energy instead of sugar. Ketones usually appear when your blood sugar level is more than 300 mg/dl. If ketones build up in your blood, you can develop a very dangerous health condition known as ketoacidosis. Ketones are most likely to occur in people with Type 1 diabetes.
Measuring Blood Sugar And Insulin Levels
There are many ways for doctors to assess your blood sugar and insulin levels and determine insulin resistance. One of the most common methods involves taking an oral “glucose tolerance test.” After fasting, a patient drinks a solution containing 75 grams of sugar glucose. Blood is periodically drawn over a two- to five-hour period to determine how high the glucose levels rise and how quickly they fall. Doctors directly measure changes in glucose and infer insulin function from this data. A glucose response more typical of a diabetic or prediabetic suggests insulin resistance. Some physicians, especially those who specialize in the treatment of Syndrome X, also draw blood to specifically measure insulin levels, but this is not common in general practice. A normal fasting glucose range, taken before breakfast, is 65120 mg/dL . A normal fasting insulin range is 635 micro-international units per milliliter . A normal two-hour postprandial glucose range is generally 65139 mg/dL. A normal two-hour postprandial insulin range is 635 micro-international units per milliliter .Continue reading > >
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Monitoring Your Blood Sugar
Regular blood sugar monitoring is the most important thing you can do to manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Youll be able to see what makes your numbers go up or down, such as eating different foods, taking your medicine, or being physically active. With this information, you can work with your health care team to make decisions about your best diabetes care plan. These decisions can help delay or prevent diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation. Your doctor will tell you when and how often to check your blood sugar levels.
Most blood sugar meters allow you to save your results and you can use an app on your cell phone to track your levels. If you dont have a smart phone, keep a written daily record like the one in the photo. You should bring your meter, phone, or paper record with you each time you visit your health care provider.
Sometimes having high blood sugar can feel like a test you didnt pass. But numbers are just numbers. Think of them instead as information. Did a certain food or activity make your levels go up or down? Armed with that knowledge, you can make adjustments and get closer to your target range more often.
The Importance Of Checking Blood Sugar Levels
Besides helping to keep blood sugar levels under control, checking them according to the diabetes management plan will help you and your child:
- feel more aware and in control of what is happening with your child’s diabetes
- prevent short-term diabetes symptoms and future health problems
- troubleshoot problems and make changes to the diabetes management plan promptly and effectively
- better understand of the impact of food, exercise, and medicines on blood sugar levels
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Blood Sugar Level Chart By Age
Blood sugar levels tend to rise with age due to an increase in insulin resistance and decrease in insulin sensitivity. In one study by the National Health Institute , each extra decade of age was linked to a 2.7 mg/dl increase in fasting glucose, and a 4.5 mg/dl increase in 2-hour post-prandial glucose levels.
Who Is Blood Glucose Testing Suitable For
Many people with diabetes benefit from blood glucose testing if they are provided with education on how to interpret their results and take appropriate action to improve their control.
All people who take insulin should regularly test their blood glucose levels and people on certain tablets, such as sulfonylureas, should also test their blood glucose levels to identify any periods of low blood glucose levels.
People on other medications that do not cause hypoglycemia may not need to test their blood glucose levels, however, many people will wish to check their blood sugar levels in order to help them make decisions to maintain and improve their diabetes control
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How To Reduce The Pain Of Blood Sugar Checks
Nobody gets excited about pricking their fingertip. In fact, studies have shown that it’s one of the main reasons people refrain from regularly checking their blood glucose.6,7 So how can you make this less of a hurdle in your self-care?
Select a less-painful lancing device
Naturally, one factor that can contribute to the pain is your lancing device. That’s why we’ve worked hard to ensure that Accu-Chek lancing devices keep discomfort to a minimum. For example, our lancing devices feature:
- Technology that minimizes side-to-side motion, so there’s less skin tearing
- 11 customizable depth settings to help match your skin type
- Precisely manufactured, beveled, thin-gauge lancets to ensure smoother entry
You can reduce pain by using a fresh lancet for every test. Today’s lancets are so tiny that just a single use can bend or dull the tips. This can make them hurt more as you reuse them.
5 tips for reducing fingertip pain
You can make testing more comfortable and help ensure that you get a good sample on the first try by following these 5 easy steps.
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
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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?
What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels
- 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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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.
What Are The Target Ranges
Blood glucose targets are individualized based on:
- duration of diabetes
- conditions a person may have
- cardiovascular disease or diabetes complications
- hypoglycemia unawareness
- individual patient considerations
The American Diabetes Association suggests the following targets for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes. A1C targets differ based on age and health. Also, more or less stringent glycemic goals may be appropriate for each individual.
- A1C: Less than 7%A1C may also be reported as eAG: Less than 154 mg/dL
- Before a meal : 80130 mg/dL
- 1-2 hours after beginning of the meal *: Less than 180 mg/dL
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Lower Blood Sugar Levels With Diet Plan
Since the body is essentially ruining beta cells that generate insulin, the very first step to lowering blood glucose levels is with diet regimen. Reducing blood sugar degrees only works when there suffice beta cells delegated create insulin. Lowering blood sugar level levels must be done in conjunction with exercises as well as medicine so that a person can better control their diabetes. Reducing blood sugar level degrees by diet regimen requires severe commitment due to the fact that a diabetic will certainly have to surrender a great deal of their favorite foods. Reducing blood glucose degrees through diet is feasible when supporting a strict reduced glycemic diet regimen.
People with diabetic issues ought to always contact their medical professional prior to transforming their diet regimens. Lowering blood glucose degrees should just be done when the body is healthy enough to handle such a task, as well as it can have adverse impacts if done improperly.How To Test Low Blood Sugar At Home
needs a severe dedication to transform eating habits. Reducing blood sugar degrees likewise puts limitations on the variety of carbs eaten in someday.
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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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 Do The Numbers Mean
Now the challenging part: How do you know if you blood sugar numbers are good or bad?
First off, its important to know that everyone will have different blood sugar goals. Your provider should let you know what numbers you need to aim for. Your goal range will depend on multiple factors, including your health and age, the medications you take, and how far your diabetes has progressed.
Second, your numbers will change depending on what and when you eat. Your numbers will rise after eating and will gradually go down after you finish eating. The American Diabetes Association recommends that most people have a blood sugar reading of 80 mg/dL to 130 mg/dL before a meal, and less than 180 mg/dL 1 to 2 hours after a meal. But this is also one of the reasons why most providers use a hemoglobin A1C test on top of your at-home blood glucose tests. A1C is a measure of your average blood glucose over the past 2 to 3 months.
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When Should I Check My Blood Sugar
How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.
Typical times to check your blood sugar include:
- When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.
- Before a meal.
- Two hours after a meal.
- At bedtime.
If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after youre physically active.
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Why Check Blood Sugar Levels
If you take certain medication, like insulin or sulphonylureas, checking your blood sugars is a vital part of living with diabetes. It can help you work out when you need to take more medication, when you need to eat something or for when you want to get up and move around more.
Routine checks can help you know when you might be starting to go too low or too high . Its a way of getting to know your body and how it works. It can help you and your healthcare team spot patterns too. Do you write your results down? You might find that helpful.
But importantly, it will help you stay healthy and prevent serious diabetes complications now and in the future. By complications, we mean serious problems in places like your feet and your eyes. This happens because too much sugar in the blood damages your blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow around your body. This can lead to very serious problems like sight loss and needing an amputation.
The higher your blood sugar levels are and the longer theyre high for, the more at risk you are.