What To Eat To Lower Your Blood Sugar Level
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How To Test Your Blood Sugar At Home
Follow these steps:
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.
For people with diabetes, blood sugar readings should be as follows:
- 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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Managing Diabetes With Alternate Site Testing: The Choices
The palm of the hand is good because its capillary blood and its going to be current blood sugar, said certified diabetes educator Sacha Uelmen, RD, program director of the outpatient diabetes education program at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor. Your thumb is another option if youre tired of using fingers.
Other possible locations include the thigh, calf, upper arm, and forearm. However, sites other than your palm are recommended only if your blood sugar is stable at the time of testing.
Certified diabetes educator Hector Verastigui, RN, clinical research coordinator at the Texas Diabetes Institute in San Antonio, said he teaches patients to test using their arms as an option if they are interested in alternate site testing.
Uelmen has had patients who tested using their arms and one patient who successfully used his earlobe a good option if you can do it, she said. But she pointed out that, at least in Michigan, where it is cold for a significant part of the year, most people do not use their legs for testing because of the hassle of taking off clothes. She also advised a conservative approach for people who are uncertain of their blood sugar levels.
If youre afraid youre low or if your blood sugar is changing, you need to use your hands, she said. But if youre just curious about your bodys response to something such as, how did that meal do? you could use your arms or an alternate site.
Read Also: What Is Signs Of High 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 .
What Affects Your Results
If you keep seeing unusual results, recalibrate your meter and check the test strips.
The chart below gives you an idea of where your blood sugar level should be throughout the day. Your ideal blood sugar range may be different from another person’s and will change throughout the day.
|Time of Test
Recommended Reading: Which Cells Produce Hormones To Regulate Blood Sugar
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 need to drink a sugary drink before your blood is drawn.
If you have diabetes, your health care provider may recommend a kit to monitor your blood sugar at home. Most kits include a device to prick your finger . You will use this to collect a drop of blood for testing. There are some newer kits available that dont require pricking your finger. For more information on at-home test kits, talk to your health care provider.
Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Level
Last Updated February 2021 | 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.
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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.
|4.0 to 7.0
|5.0 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.
What Is High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar occurs when theres a buildup of excess glucose in the bloodstream. This is more often a concern for someone with diabetes than it is for someone without it. Our bodies are typically pretty great at keeping our blood sugar in perfect balance, Deena Adimoolam, M.D., assistant professor of endocrinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF. But in some situations, like when a person has diabetes, high blood sugar can happen.
Blood sugar is measured in milligrams per deciliter , and a fasting blood sugar of greater than 125 mg/dL is considered hyperglycemic, the Cleveland Clinic says. A person can also be considered to have hyperglycemia if their blood glucose level is higher than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after eating, the Cleveland Clinic says.
/4how To Test Your Blood Sugar Levels
Fingertip Meters: There are meters that allow you to test your blood sugar levels by using blood from your fingertips. A small, sharp needle is used to pierce the thumb or finger and is called a lancet. The blood from the lancet can then be transferred to a thin strip. This test strip has to be inserted into a testing meter that displays the results in less than fifteen seconds. Sometimes the results might not be displayed even after more than twenty seconds, which means that the test has not been performed properly. In such a case, you should repeat the entire process and get a proper reading. Meters that tell you your average blood sugar level over a period of time and show you charts and graphs of your past test results are also available nowadays. You can get blood sugar meters and strips at your local pharmacy.
Which Type Of Device Is Right For Me
CGM devices are probably more convenient. Unlike SBMG devices, CGM devices dont require you to remember to test your blood sugar multiple times a day. They also dont need you to prick your finger, so they can be less painful.
If you feel like SBMG devices are a hassle, talk to your provider about getting a CGM device. Theyll want to help, especially if it makes you more inclined to monitor your blood sugar regularly.
When it comes to cost, insurance coverage can be a concern for some patients. Insurance plans will generally cover a few SMBG devices. CGM devices, on the other hand, are newer to the market so fewer insurance plans tend to cover them.
And if you dont have insurance or the SMBG device you want is too expensive for you, know that there are ways for you to saveor even get them for free. See here for information on savings programs for SMBG monitors and test strips.
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Random Blood Sugar Test
This measures your blood sugar at the time youre tested. You can take this test at any time and dont need to fast first. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.
|140 mg/dL or below
*Results for gestational diabetes can differ. Ask your health care provider what your results mean if youre being tested for gestational diabetes.Source: American Diabetes Association
If your doctor thinks you have type 1 diabetes, your blood may also tested for autoantibodies that are often present in type 1 diabetes but not in type 2 diabetes. You may have your urine tested for ketones , which also indicate type 1 diabetes instead of type 2 diabetes.
Beyond The Finger: Alternate Blood Sugar Testing Sites
Need to give your fingertips a break? Find out where else on your body you can do blood sugar testing to manage diabetes.
If youre tired of the pain of finger sticking and the calluses that can develop over time, alternate site testing could be an option for blood sugar testing, especially for those who want to do frequent checks.
In a study published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, researchers compared patients satisfaction with fingertip blood sugar testing and testing using an alternate site, in this case the palm of the hand. They found that people who test their blood sugar levels four times a day like the idea of using alternative site testing approaches. However, they also found that testing on their palm with regular lancing supplies didnt always provide easy access to get enough blood for a test strip.
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What Should I Do If My Blood Sugar Gets Too High
High blood sugar is also called hyperglycemia . It means that your blood sugar level is higher than your target level or over 180. Having high blood sugar levels over time can lead to long-term, serious health problems.
If you feel very tired, thirsty, have blurry vision, or need to pee more often, your blood sugar may be high.
Check your blood sugar and see if it is above your target level or over 180. If it is too high, one way to lower it is to drink a large glass of water and exercise by taking a brisk walk. Call your health care team if your blood sugar is high more than 3 times in 2 weeks and you dont know why.
Wheres The Health Benefit In This
Is there any evidence of benefit if people without diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels with CGMs? Theres little published research to help answer this question.
The best study I could find found nothing particularly surprising: among 153 people who didnt have diabetes, about 96% of the time blood sugar levels were normal or nearly so. In fact, many of the abnormal levels were considered implausible or a mistake. Another small study looked at sedentary individuals without diabetes who were overweight or obese. Participants completed a counseling session about the effects of physical activity on blood sugar and used a CGM device and an activity tracker for 10 days. Afterward, they reported feeling more motivated to exercise.
But I could find no published study suggesting that monitoring translates into improved health. Well, wait: one maker of a CGM device posted a study on its website reporting better blood sugar results among healthy people using their product. However, the study wasnt published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, it lacked details that would allow critical evaluation, and it examined what seem to be arbitrary ranges of blood sugar values, not actual health outcomes such as heart disease, nerve damage, or hospitalizations.
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How To Use A Blood Glucose Meter:
- After washing your hands, insert a test strip into your meter.
- Use your lancing device on the side of your fingertip to get a drop of blood.
- Touch and hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood and wait for the result.
- Your blood glucose level will appear on the meter’s display.
Note: All meters are slightly different, so always refer to your user’s manual for specific instructions.