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How Do You Check Blood Sugar Levels

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Difference Between A Flash Glucose Monitor And A Cgm

How To Test Your Blood Sugar Levels | 7 Simple Steps | Diabetes UK

With a CGM your latest sugar levels show up on device or mobile automatically, transmitted by Bluetooth. With a flash glucose monitor, its only when you wave your device over your sensor that you get your blood sugar readings.

Some people prefer to use Flash over CGM. Reasons can include not liking the alarms. But unlike Flash, a CGM can talk to an insulin pump, if you want to use a closed loop system.

Your diabetes healthcare team should be able to support you to make the decision on which device will be best for you.

Pros And Cons Of Using A Flash Glucose Monitor Or Cgm

Diabetes technology is a wonderful thing, but it certainly isnt for everyone.

Some people feel uneasy about getting lots of data, and for some people it gives them more confidence. Weve got more information to help you work through these different feelings about using diabetes tech. And you can always call our helpline to ask questions or just to talk it through.

Advantages of Flash and CGM

Disadvantages of Flash and CGM

You dont need to do so many finger-prick checks and you can set alarms if your blood sugar goes too low or too high .

Its not always as accurate as doing a finger prick check and it can take a while to get used to using the technology

You can see trends, like when your sugar levels are starting to rise or drop, so you can take action earlier.

You can get overloaded with data, which can confuse or worry some people.

You can get your sugar levels in your target range more often as you have more information about when youre high and low.

You may find wearing the sensor irritating, you might not like the look of it, or showing people that you have diabetes.

You can see what your levels are like at times when you dont normally test, like during the night .

Your glucose levels can be shared with your diabetes team, so they can review and adjust your diabetes management. It also means that the information can be shared easily during virtual appointments.

Blood Sugar Testing At Home

A person can test their blood sugar levels at home.

In most cases, doctors ask people to measure fasting blood sugar immediately upon waking and before they have anything to eat or drink. It may also be appropriate to test blood sugar before eating or 2 hours after a meal, which is when blood sugar returns to normal levels.

The right time to test depends on treatment goals and other factors. For example, most people with diabetes do not need to test between meals unless they are using a diabetes drug that can lower blood sugar. Other people may test between meals if they feel their sugar levels may be low.

Since people with type 1 diabetes do not make any insulin, they need to test their blood sugar levels several times a day so they can adjust their insulin doses.

A person will test blood sugar levels by:

  • preparing the testing strip and glucose monitor to be ready for the blood sample
  • using an alcohol swab to clean the testing area, which is usually the side of a fingertip
  • lancing the testing area and bracing against a firm surface to help resist the impulse to pull away
  • squeezing the testing area around the wound to maximize blood flow
  • squeezing a drop of blood onto the test strip
  • putting the strip into the monitor
  • recording the time, blood sugar reading, and recent food intake in a log

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Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

This test is not now usually used to diagnose diabetes. However, the test may be done if it is thought your body doesn’t control glucose levels normally but not badly enough to be called diabetes. This is referred to as pre-diabetes . The test may also be used to see whether a woman has developed diabetes associated with pregnancy.

For this test, you fast overnight. In the morning you are given a drink which contains 75 g of glucose. A blood sample is taken two hours later. Normally, your body should be able to deal with the glucose and your blood level should not go too high. A glucose level of 11.1 mmol/L or more in the blood sample taken after two hours indicates that you have diabetes. See the separate leaflet called Glucose Tolerance Test for more details.

Why Do I Have To Monitor My Blood Sugar

When Should I Check My Blood Sugar Levels?

Monitoring your blood sugar is the best way to find out how well your diabetes is being controlled, and gives you information on how to manage your diabetes on a daily basis. If your blood sugar is too low or too high, your healthcare provider might want to adjust your diet, exercise schedule, or the amount of medicine you are taking.

Many things, such as food, physical activity, medication and stress, can affect your blood sugar. The following can raise it:

  • Eating too much
  • Not taking your diabetes medication
  • Illness, surgery, or stress

These things can lower your blood sugar:

  • Missing meals, or just not eating very much
  • Taking too much diabetes medication
  • Drinking alcohol without eating
  • Too much activity

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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

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

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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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.

How To Prevent Hyperglycaemia

How To Test Blood Sugar Levels

There are simple ways to reduce your risk of severe or prolonged hyperglycaemia:

  • Be careful what you eat be particularly aware of how snacking and eating sugary foods or carbohydrates can affect your blood sugar level.
  • Stick to your treatment plan remember to take your insulin or other diabetes medications as recommended by your care team.
  • Be as active as possible getting regular exercise can help stop your blood sugar level rising, but you should check with your doctor first if you’re taking diabetes medication, as some medicines can lead to hypoglycaemia if you exercise too much.
  • Take extra care when you’re ill your care team can provide you with some “sick day rules” that outline what you can do to keep your blood sugar level under control during an illness.
  • Monitor your blood sugar level your care team may suggest using a device to check your level at home so you can spot an increase early and take steps to stop it.

Page last reviewed: 08 August 2018 Next review due: 08 August 2021

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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About My Blood Sugar Level

Proper blood sugar ranges are different for each person and can change throughout the day. Your healthcare provider will tell you what your range should be. Call your healthcare provider if one of the following occurs:

  • Your blood sugar test results are higher than usual for more than 2 days for an unknown reason.
  • Your blood sugar level is low more than 2 times a week.

What Causes High Blood Sugar

A variety of things can trigger an increase in blood sugar level in people with diabetes, including:

  • stress
  • missing a dose of your diabetes medicine or taking an incorrect dose
  • overtreating an episode of low blood sugar
  • taking certain medicines, such as steroids

Occasional episodes of hyperglycaemia can also occur in children and young adults during growth spurts.

Read Also: How To Reduce Sugar Level Immediately

How Do I Record My Blood Sugar Test Results

Keep good records of any blood, urine, or ketone tests you do. Most glucose monitors also have a memory. Your records can alert you to any problems or trends. These test records help your doctor make any needed changes in your meal plan, medicine, or exercise program. Bring these records with you every time you see your doctor.

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The Big Picture: Checking Your Blood Sugar

The 6 Best Ways to Test Blood Sugar Levels

Blood sugar monitoring is the primary tool you have to find out if your blood glucose levels are within your target range. This tells you your blood glucose level at any one time.

Its important for blood sugar levels to stay in a healthy range. If glucose levels get too low, we can lose the ability to think and function normally. If they get too high and stay high, it can cause damage or complications to the body over the course of many years.

The logging of your results is vital. When you bring your log to your healthcare provider, youll have a good picture of your body’s response to your diabetes care plan. To help keep track of your levels, we have a glucose log. We also have a blood glucose log available for purchase that is smaller so you can carry it with you.

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Throw Away The Test Strip And Used Lancet

  • Firmly pull the test strip out of your blood glucose meter . Throw it away in the trash can. Its OK to put it with your regular trash.

    Figure 16. Pull the test strip out of your blood glucose meter

  • Twist the white band on your lancing device to the right to unlock the endcap. Pull the endcap straight off.
  • Put the round plastic tab you removed from the top of the lancet earlier on a flat surface. Push the end of the lancet firmly into the plastic tab . The tab will cover the lancet so you will not accidentally prick yourself.

    Figure 17. Push the end of the lancet into the plastic tab

  • Hold the lancet over your plastic sharps container. Slide the lancet ejector forward until the lancet falls into the plastic sharps container .
  • Do not pull the lancet out with your fingers. The plastic tab can easily come off. If it does, you may prick yourself with the needle.
  • Figure 18. Eject the lancet into the sharps container

  • Slide the lancet ejector back into place. Put the endcap back on your lancing device. Twist the white band to the left to lock on the endcap.
  • What Other Tests Can Help Me Keep Track

    Using a glucose meter can help you check your blood sugar levels, but other tests can help you know how well you’re controlling your diabetes too.

    The glycosylated hemoglobin test will tell you how you’ve been controlling your blood sugar levels over the past few months. It’s usually done during regular visits with your diabetes health care team.

    Hemoglobin is the substance inside red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells of the body. The higher the glucose level in the blood, the more the glucose sticks to the hemoglobin. And once hemoglobin picks up glucose, the glucose stays on it for the life of the red blood cell, which is about 2 to 3 months.

    The most commonly measured type of hemoglobin in the blood that has glucose attached to it is called HbA1c. In general, the lower your HbA1c, the better you’ve been controlling your blood sugar levels over the last 2 to 3 months. Having lower HbA1c levels may make it less likely that you’ll develop long-term diabetes problems.

    Ketones are something else you’ll need to check for sometimes. Ketones are chemicals that show up in the urine and blood after the body breaks down fat for energy. The body will break down fat when it can’t use glucose. This can happen when you haven’t taken enough insulin to help the glucose get into the cells, or when you haven’t eaten enough to provide glucose for energy .

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    Ways To Test Your Blood Sugar

    Traditional home glucose monitoring

    You prick your finger with a small, sharp needle called a lancet, put a drop of blood on a test strip, and then place the strip into a meter that displays your blood sugar levels. Record the test results so you can share them with your doctor. Based on your results, the two of you may adjust your diet, exercise, or medication.

    Meters vary in features, portability, speed, size, cost, and readability . Devices deliver results in less than 15 seconds and store this information for future use.

    Some meters also calculate an average blood sugar level over a span of time. Some also feature software kits that take information from the meter and display graphs and charts of your past test results. Blood sugar meters and strips are available at your local pharmacy.

    Meters that test other parts of your body

    Some devices let you test your upper arm, forearm, base of the thumb, and thigh.

    These results may differ from the blood sugar levels gotten from a fingertip stick. Levels in the fingertips show changes more quickly. This is especially true when your sugar is changing fast, like after a meal or after exercise.

    If you have symptoms of low blood sugar, donĂ¢t rely on test results from other parts of your body.

    Continuous glucose monitoring system

    You’ll still need to check your levels throughout the day continuous glucose monitoring doesn’t replace that. It gives your doctor more information about trends that self-checking might not show.

    Flash Sensors And Cgm Sensors

    How to Check Your Blood Sugar

    With a flash glucose monitor, sensors should be worn on the arms only. And we recommend that they arent placed over areas with tattoos as this could impact your results. With a CGM, you can wear the sensor on different parts of the body, such as your abdomen.

    The sensors dont normally need to be taken off. You can usually wear them in the bath, shower and during sports. But some people do have problems with them falling off. There are adhesives you can buy to keep them in place.

    You cannot remove a sensor for a while once it has come off you need to replace it with a new one.

    How often you have to change the sensor will depend on the type of model youre using and the manufacturers instructions. Youll usually need to change it at least once every 14 days.

    Its quick and painless to put on a sensor. You insert them just under the skin using an applicator.

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    Hba1c Is Your Average Blood Glucose Levels For The Last Two To Three Months If You Have Diabetes An Ideal Hba1c Level Is 48mmol/mol Or Below

    If you’re at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, your target HbA1c level should be below 42mmol/mol .

    On this page well go through what HbA1c means, and why aiming for your target level is so important. Well also explain the HbA1c test in more detail, and show you what you can do to lower your HbA1c levels if theyre too high. Plus, you can use our HbA1c converter tool if youre looking to find out your level in % or mmol/mol.

    Is Hyperglycaemia Serious

    The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible.

    But if you have diabetes, no matter how careful you are, you’re likely to experience hyperglycaemia at some point.

    It’s important to be able to recognise and treat hyperglycaemia, as it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.

    Occasional mild episodes are not usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or may return to normal on their own.

    But hyperglycaemia can be potentially dangerous if blood sugar levels become very high or stay high for long periods.

    Very high blood sugar levels can cause life-threatening complications, such as:

    • diabetic ketoacidosis a condition caused by the body needing to break down fat as a source of energy, which can lead to a diabetic coma this tends to affect people with type 1 diabetes
    • hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state severe dehydration caused by the body trying to get rid of excess sugar this tends to affect people with type 2 diabetes

    Regularly having high blood sugar levels for long periods of time can result in permanent damage to parts of the body such as the eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.

    If you experience hyperglycaemia regularly, speak to your doctor or diabetes care team.

    You may need to change your treatment or lifestyle to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range.

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