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How Do You Check Your Blood Sugar At Home

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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar

How to check your blood sugar

Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.

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When To See A Doctor

According to the University of Michigan, blood sugar levels of 300 mg/dL or more can be dangerous. They recommend calling a doctor if you have two readings in a row of 300 or more.

See your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar levels. Symptoms of this include:

  • increased thirst
  • high levels of sugar in urine

Ask your doctor how often to check your blood sugar and about your ideal blood sugar levels.

If you dont currently see a doctor who specializes in diabetes, known as an endocrinologist, you can find one by searching the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists website.

You can find a certified diabetes educator by visiting the American Diabetes Associations website and searching by zip code.

Summary

Talk to your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar readings or symptoms of chronic hyperglycemia.

Checking your blood sugar and then treating hyperglycemia early will help prevent any complications.

Health problems can arise when someone has high blood sugar regularly and without treatment.

Examples of complications include:

  • nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy, that may affect sensations in the feet and hands
  • diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the eyes that affects vision
  • increased risks for kidney problems
  • increased risks for heart problems

Taking steps to keep your blood sugar at target levels can help to minimize the likelihood that these complications will occur.

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First Who Should Monitor Their Blood Sugar At Home

Not everyone with diabetes needs to monitor their blood glucose at home. However, under a few conditions, your provider may feel that its worth considering:

  • If you are taking medications that can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate drastically, such as insulin or certain non-insulin diabetes medications

  • If you are pregnant

  • If you tend to experience low blood sugar

  • If you have a hard time reaching your goal blood sugar levels

Normal Blood Sugar Levels For Adults With Diabetes

When Should I Check My Blood Sugar Levels?

Normally, your pancreas releases insulin when your blood sugar, or âblood glucose,â gets high — after a meal, for example. That signals your body to absorb glucose until levels get back to normal.

But if you have diabetes, your body doesnât make insulin or doesnât respond to it normally . That can leave your blood sugar too high for too long. Over time, that can damage nerves and blood vessels and lead to heart disease and other problems.

If you have diabetes, your doctor may ask you to keep track of your blood sugar by testing it at home with a special device called a blood glucose monitor or home blood sugar meter. It takes a small sample of blood, usually from the tip of your finger, and measures the amount of glucose in it.

Follow your doctorâs instructions about the best way to use your device.

Your doctor will tell you when and how to test your blood sugar. Each time you do it, log it in a notebook or online tool or in an app. The time of day, recent activity, your last meal, and other things can all affect whether a reading will be of concern to your doctor. So try to log relevant information like:

  • What medication and dosage you took
  • What you ate, when you ate, or whether you were fasting
  • How much, how intense, and what kind of exercise you were doing, if any

That will help you and your doctor see how your treatment is working.

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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 .

How To Use A Glucometer

Oftentimes, unless you have met with a certified diabetes educator, your healthcare provider may have given you a prescription for a glucometer without explicitly telling you how to use it. And while most instruction manuals are user-friendly, this task can seem daunting if you are new to testing or not that technologically savvy. Follow these guidelines for safe and easy testing.

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When You Have Low Blood Sugar

First, eat or drink 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate, such as:

  • Three to four glucose tablets
  • One tube of glucose gel
  • Four to six pieces of hard candy
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup soft drink
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Fifteen minutes after you’ve eaten a food with sugar in it, check your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is still less than 70 mg/dL, eat another serving of one of the foods listed above. Repeat these steps until your sugar becomes normal.

How To Monitor Your Blood Glucose Levels

How to Test Your Blood Sugar

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.

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How To Test Your Blood Sugar

To check your blood sugar level, gather your blood glucose meter, a test strip and your lancing device. See how to prepare the meter and test strip, lance your finger and get a reading using the Accu-Chek® Guide Me system by watching the video or following the steps here:

The steps are similar for many meters, and generally look like this:

  • Wash and dry your handsusing warm water may help the blood flow.3
  • Turn on the meter and prepare a test strip as outlined in your owner’s booklet. Many Accu-Chek meters turn on automatically when a strip is inserted.
  • Choose your spotdon’t check from the same finger all the time. Using the side of the fingertip may be less painful than the pads.
  • Prepare the lancing device according to the user guide provided, then lance your fingertip or other approved site to get a drop of blood.4
  • Touch and hold the test strip opening to the drop until it has absorbed enough blood to begin the test.
  • View your test result and take the proper steps if your blood sugar is high or low, based on your healthcare professionals’ recommendations.
  • Discard the used lancet properly.
  • Record the results in a logbook, hold them in the meter’s memory or download to an app or computer so you can review and analyze them later.
  • What If I Cant Get A Drop Of Blood For A Fingerstick

    If you want to get blood from your fingertip, try washing your hands in hot water to get the blood flowing. Then dangle your hand below your heart for a minute. Prick your finger quickly and then put your hand back down below your heart. You might also try slowly squeezing the finger from the base to the tip.

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    Blood Glucose Monitors: What Are My Options

    There are many devices on the market that can help you check your blood glucose, but they generally fall into 2 categories:

  • Self-monitoring blood glucose devices. With SMBG devices, you test your blood sugar multiple times a day, each time pricking your finger and testing a drop of blood with a test strip. Many of these devices can store your results over time. Some newer ones even allow you to send your results to your smartphone through an app. Popular SMBG devices include OneTouch Ultra 2, Coaguchek XS, and Contour Next.

  • Continuous glucose monitoring devices. In contrast to SMBG devices, CGM devices measure your blood sugar at regular intervals throughout the day. Popular CGM devices include Freestyle Libre 14 day, Dexcom G6, and Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3. These tend to be newer than SMBG devices and feature an adhesive patch with a small microneedle sensor that you attach to your skin . The sensor measures your blood sugar and sends your results to an app on your smartphone or another device you carry around with you. Some CGM devices come attached to insulin pumps that give you insulin when your blood sugar is high.

  • When Should Testing Occur

    How Do I Quickly Bring Down My Blood Glucose (Lower High ...

    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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    When Should I Check My Blood Sugar

    Your healthcare provider will tell you when and how often to check during the day.

    • You may need to check your blood sugar level at least 3 times each day.
    • If you check your blood sugar level before a meal , it will show you your lowest blood sugar. If you check your blood sugar level 2 hours after a meal , it will show you your highest blood sugar. Ask your healthcare provider what good goals for your blood sugar levels are at different times.
    • You may need to check for ketones in your urine or blood if your blood sugar level is higher than directed.
    • Write down your results and show them to your healthcare provider at every visit. Your provider may use the results to make changes to your medicine, food, or exercise schedules.

    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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    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 .

    How To Do A Finger

    How to Test Your Blood Sugar At Home

    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.

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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.

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