Can I Check My Own Blood Sugar
You can do blood sugar level check by doing a finger-prick test, or by using an electronic blood sugar monitor called a flash glucose monitor or CGM. You can do this several times a day helping you keep an eye on your levels as you go about your life and help you work out what to eat and how much medication to take. Find out your ideal target range.
Not everyone with diabetes needs to check their levels like this. Youll need to if you take certain diabetes medication. Always talk to your healthcare team if youre not sure whether thats you theyll give you advice on whether to check them yourself and how often.
And theres also something called an HbA1c, which is a blood test to measure your average blood sugar level over the last three months. Everyone with diabetes is entitled to this check.
High blood sugar levels increase your risk of developing serious complications. However you manage your diabetes, stay in the know about your blood sugar levels
What You Need To Know About Glucose Meter Accuracy
Here are some things that can affect readings:
User error. Suspicious of the results? Read and follow the user guide instructions that come with your meter. Store your meter and strips away from sunlight and temperature extremes. Check the viability of each new bottle of test strips by running a check using glucose control solution .
Laboratory versus at-home results. Meters intended for self-monitoring by people with diabetes are allowed to vary by as much as plus or minus 10 percent from the results laboratory equipment would give.
Location of the blood. Blood glucose levels differ within the body. Rapid changes from dosing insulin or eating show up first in blood obtained from the fingertips.
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.
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Make Physical Activity Part Of Your Daily Routine
Set a goal to be more physically active. Try to work up to 30 minutes or more of physical activity on most days of the week.
Brisk walking and swimming are good ways to move more. If you are not active now, ask your health care team about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you. Learn more about being physically active with diabetes.
Following your meal plan and being more active can help you stay at or get to a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, work with your health care team to create a weight-loss plan that is right for you.
Follow Your Diabetes Meal Plan
Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team. Following a meal plan will help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Choose fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, chicken or turkey without the skin, fish, lean meats, and nonfat or low-fat milk and cheese. Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt. Learn more about eating, diet, and nutrition with diabetes.
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Whats My Target Range
You might be asking, what’s the normal range for blood sugar levels? The answer is, there is a healthy range that you should ideally be aiming for. The infographics above show the general guidelines, but your individual target range for your blood sugar levels may be different. Youll healthcare team will agree with you what it is.
Youll get different readings at different times of the day, depending on things like what youve eaten and how much you are moving around. Heres a guide to help you get started on finding your target range:
If youre a child with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- after meals: 5 to 9mmol/l
If youre an adult with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 5 to 7mmol/l
- before meals at other times of the day: 4 to 7mmol/l
If you have type 2 diabetes
- before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- two hours after meals: less than 8.5mmol/l
What Are The Recommended Targets For Blood Glucose Levels
Many people with diabetes aim to keep their blood glucose at these normal levels:
- Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL
- About 2 hours after a meal starts: less than 180 mg/dL
Talk with your health care team about the best target range for you. Be sure to tell your health care professional if your glucose levels often go above or below your target range.
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How To Test Blood Sugar
People with diabetes usually check their blood sugar levels themselves. However, its a good idea to have a roommate, friend, or family member also know how to do it if you are sick and cant do it yourself.
To use a blood sugar meter, follow these steps:
If you are interested in CGM, you should talk to your healthcare provider since these are prescription devices. To use CGM, follow these steps:
You will also need to change the sensors on the CGM regularly, usually every one to two weeks.
Know Your Blood Glucose Targets
Before you use another test strip, make sure you know your blood glucose targets.
In a telephone survey of 500 people with type 2 diabetes, over half of those taking no diabetes medication, 30 percent of those taking pills, and 12 percent of those taking insulin did not have blood sugar level targets. See our blood glucose guidelines for general targets. Then ask your health care provider what ranges are right for you.
Type of test: Fasting
American Diabetes Association recommends: 70-130 mg/dl
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends: Less than 110 mg/dl
Type of test: A1C
American Diabetes Association recommends: various A1C goals, from 6.5 percent to less than 8 percent. Talk to your provider about what A1C goal is best for you based on your diabetes control, age, and overall health. If you can keep your glucose levels in tight control with minimal hypoglycemia, then 6.5 percent may work well for you. However, if you are older, have had diabetes for many years, or have some unawareness of hypoglycemia, then an A1C of 8 percent may be better.
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends: 6.5 percent or less
Note: A woman who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant will have lower target numbers for the health of her baby. Children have higher target numbers. Elderly people, especially those who have cardiac disease, may have higher target numbers.
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Keep Track Of Your Testing Strips
Make sure your strips arent expired. Out-of-date strips arent guaranteed to return true results. Old strips and inaccurate results may affect your daily log of blood glucose numbers, and your doctor may think theres a problem when there really isnt.
Also, keep the strips out of sunlight and away from moisture. Its best to keep them at room temperature or cooler, but not freezing.
Other Important Times To Check Your Blood Sugar
Some other important times in your life that you should pay special attention to your blood sugar and check more frequently may be:
- When theres a change to your medication regimen, including insulin
- When youre on vacation or traveling
- During pregnancy
- If theres been a change to your daily routine
- Youve been diagnosed with a new health condition
- Theres been a drastic change to your diet
- Youve been under a lot of stress
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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.
Blood Sugar Monitoring For People With Diabetes Offers Undeniable Health Benefits
For people with diabetes, a major goal of therapy is to keep the blood sugar close to the normal range. This helps to prevent symptoms and complications, prolong life, and improve quality of life.
The development of CGM devices that can frequently and easily monitor blood sugar levels without finger sticks has revolutionized care for millions of people with diabetes. Besides providing results of blood sugar levels, some devices have alarm settings that alert the user, or other people, if blood sugar becomes dangerously low or high. And some systems can transmit results directly to the users doctor, if desired.
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When Should You Test Your Blood Sugar
Blood sugar testing is important for controlling type 2 diabetes. Find out what goes into determining the best testing schedule for you.
Blood sugar testing is a fundamental part of treating type 2 diabetes. By obtaining regular blood sugar readings, people with diabetes can, among other things, help their doctor make more informed decisions regarding the type and dosage of medication they need. Blood sugar testing also can help you see what foods, events, and activities trigger highs and lows in your blood sugar levels.
So how often should you test your blood sugar? The answer depends mostly on the status of your health and the demands of your daily life.
People with type 2 diabetes should take a blood sugar reading at least once a day. Some may need to test as frequently as seven times a day. Whether you need to or are able to perform more frequent testing depends on a number of factors:
You should talk with your doctor about these factors to devise the right blood glucose monitoring schedule for you.
Creating a Blood Sugar Testing Schedule
In general, type 2 diabetes patients should schedule blood sugar testing to coincide with specific daily events. That makes it easier to remember when to test. Regular testing times include:
- Before all three meals
Check Your Blood Glucose Levels
For many people with diabetes, checking their blood glucose level each day is an important way to manage their diabetes. Monitoring your blood glucose level is most important if you take insulin. The results of blood glucose monitoring can help you make decisions about food, physical activity, and medicines.
The most common way to check your blood glucose level at home is with a blood glucose meter. You get a drop of blood by pricking the side of your fingertip with a lancet. Then you apply the blood to a test strip. The meter will show you how much glucose is in your blood at the moment.
Ask your health care team how often you should check your blood glucose levels. Make sure to keep a record of your blood glucose self-checks. You can print copies of this glucose self-check chart. Take these records with you when you visit your health care team.
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When Should You Check Blood Sugar Everything You Need To Know
If you have diabetes, then checking blood sugar levels is something that you will do on a regular basis. Its important to check the level after eating or drinking anything that contains carbohydrates because these can affect your glucose levels.
This article will talk about how often you should check glucose levels and what factors may influence whether or not its necessary to check them more often than usual.
How To Check Blood Sugar
A glucometer is used to determine blood sugar levels. Only a drop of blood is needed. People with diabetes will use a specialized pen to prick a finger. The blood droplet will is placed on a disposable test strip and the glucometer relays the results on a computerized screen. Blood can be taken from any part of the body however, the results are most accurate when taken from the fingers.
Continuous glucose monitors are another option. A small sensor with a needle is attached to the skin. The sensor reads the blood glucose levels every few minutes. The information is relayed back to a data receiver. The data receiver can be carried in a pocket or purse. Alarms can be set to go off if glucose reaches certain levels. Many factors can affect insulin levels. CGMs relay more accurate results than finger pricks secondary to continuous glucose monitoring around the clock.
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How Do I Check My Blood Sugar
The usual blood sugar check involves sticking your finger with a small needle called a lancet, putting a drop of blood on a test strip, and using a meter that displays your blood sugar level. Blood sugar meters and test strips are available at your local pharmacy, through mail order, or through your healthcare provider. There are many different types of meters. Your healthcare provider can help you select the meter that is best for you.
If you have insurance, check with your insurance company to see if you are covered. If you do not have insurance, check with your caregiver for other options.
How Do I Measure My Blood Sugar Level
Follow your doctors advice and the instructions that come with the BGM or CGM. Different meters work differently, so be sure to check with your doctor for advice specifically for you. With a BGM, youll usually follow the steps below:
- Wash your hands and dry them well before doing the test.
- Use an alcohol pad to clean the area that youre going to prick. For most glucose meters, you will prick your fingertip. However, with some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh, or the fleshy part of your hand. Ask your doctor what area you should use with your meter.
- Prick yourself with a sterile lancet to get a drop of blood.
- Place the drop of blood on the test strip.
- Follow the instructions for inserting the test strip into your glucose meter.
- The meter will give you a number for your blood sugar level.
If you have a CGM, youll follow the insertion directions that come with the monitor. Once its warmed up, the transmitter wirelessly sends the data to your computer or smartphone.
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How Often Should You Get A Blood Test
There are different types of diabetes. In patients with Type I diabetes, the body doesnt make enough insulin. The immune system attacks the pancreas that monitors glucose levels. Those with Type II diabetes have cells that dont respond to insulin, causing the pancreas to make more and more until it breaks down and affects 90 to 95 percent of adults with diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes develop the illness while pregnant and it often goes away over time. However, women whove developed gestational diabetes have a greater chance of developing Type II later in life. Diabetes can be inherited, also known as Monogenic diabetes. The type of diabetes will determine how often should you check your blood sugar. Developing a blood sugar monitoring routine should be a priority. However, certain times are best for monitoring sugar:
- Before every meal
Before During And After Exercise
Exercise typically causes blood glucose to go down. If you take insulin and certain oral medications, exercise may increase your risk for low blood sugar. Monitoring your blood glucose before, during , as well as after exercise can help you see the impact of exercise on your blood glucose and help screen for hypoglycemia.
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Is Blood Sugar Monitoring Without Diabetes Worthwhile
- By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
Heres an ad you havent seen, but it could be coming soon: A man jogs along a dirt path meandering through idyllic countryside. He pauses at an overlook and glances down at his cellphone. The phone screen flashes a number, telling him his blood sugar is normal. He smiles and resumes his run.
Whats different about this ad, you wonder? The jogger doesnt have diabetes. So, how does his phone know his blood sugar? And why, in the middle of a run, does he want to know the result? Read on.
What Causes Blood Sugar To Be High
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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