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
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.
When Is The Best Time To Check Blood Sugar For Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in the US, affecting 90-95%¹ of the 37 million Americans currently living with it. When you have diabetes, too much sugar stays in your bloodstream because your cells dont respond appropriately to insulin.
As a result, your pancreas increases insulin production, leading to a higher than average blood sugar level. This can cause serious long-term health problems, including cardiovascular disease, eye problems, kidney disease, and severe hypoglycemia.
Although type 2 diabetes is an incurable health condition, you can still live a long life with diabetes. Regular blood glucose monitoring and following a specialized diabetes treatment plan developed by your healthcare team ensure your quality of life.
Have you considered clinical trials for Type 2 diabetes?
We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Type 2 diabetes, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available – and be a part of finding a cure.
You May Like: What Do I Eat If I Have Low Blood Sugar
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.
Why Check Blood Sugars
Checking your childs blood sugar tells you the amount of glucose in your childs blood and is a key part of daily care. Each time you check, you will know if your childs blood sugar is inside or outside the healthy range set by the care team.
Checking blood sugars regularly can help you and your child:
- Feel more in control of diabetes.
- Find out how food, exercise, and diabetes medicine affect the blood sugar.
- Know when you need to make any changes to food, exercise, and diabetes medicines.
- Prevent health problems that can happen now or in the future.
You May Like: What Alcohol Has The Least Sugar
What Happens If My Blood Glucose Level Becomes Too Low
Sometimes blood glucose levels drop below where they should be, which is called hypoglycemia. For most people with diabetes, the blood glucose level is too low when it is below 70 mg/dL.
Hypoglycemia can be life threatening and needs to be treated right away. Learn more about how to recognize and treat hypoglycemia.
How Do I Check My Blood Glucose Levels
Refer to your blood glucose meters instructions on how to monitor your blood glucose levels.
Your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator will help you decide how many checks are needed and the levels to aim for. When and how often you should check your blood glucose levels varies depending on each individual, the type of diabetes and the tablets and/or insulin being used. Blood glucose levels are measured in millimoles per litre of blood .
Keeping a record of your blood glucose levels can be very helpful for you and your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator. You can keep a diary or use a mobile phone app or website to record your levels.
You May Like: How Can I Lower My Blood Sugar Level Quickly
When To Test Your Blood Sugar
Depending on your unique needs, they may suggest testing blood sugar at any of the following times:
1. Before breakfast
Testing before youve had anything to eat or drink in the morning, also known as a fasting blood sugar, can let you know how well your body manages blood sugar while you sleep. It also gives you a baseline to see changes in your blood sugar throughout the day.
2. Before each meal
Checking blood sugar before meals tells people who inject insulin if they need to take a correction dose of insulin in addition to taking their bolus insulin to cover the meal. When testing in pairs , a pre-meal reading can act as a reference for how the food you eat and any pre-meal medications affect your glucose levels.
3. After each meal
The food you consume has a large effect on your blood sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing 1 to 2 hours after the start of a meal. To determine if your blood sugar level is where it should be, work with your healthcare professional to establish your target after-meal glucose range.
4. Before bedtime
A blood sugar reading taken before bedtime can tell you if your blood sugar is in a safe range, or if you need to have a snack before going to bed. It is also a point of reference for your morning blood sugar test, to compare and get a picture of how your blood sugar levels changed overnight.
5. In the middle of the night
6. Before, during, and after physical activity
8. When youre sick or stressed
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.
Read Also: How To Keep Blood Sugar Balanced
How To Reduce The Pain Of Blood Sugar Checks
Nobody gets excited about pricking their fingertip. In fact, studies have shown that its 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. Thats why weve 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 theres 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. Todays 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 Do I Use To Check The Blood Sugar
Two kinds of devices can test blood sugar or glucose levels:
- a blood glucose meter measures the amount of glucose in the blood
- a continuous glucose monitor measures the amount of glucose just beneath the skin in the fluid around the cells
Your childs care team can tell you which device is best for your child.
Don’t Miss: How To Give Up Sugar And Carbs
What Should I Aim For
Effective management of diabetes is all about aiming for a careful balance between the foods you eat, how active you are and the medication you take for your diabetes. Because this is a delicate balance, it can be quite difficult to achieve the best possible blood glucose management all the time.
The ranges will vary depending on the individual and an individuals circumstances. While it is important to keep your blood glucose levels as close to the target range of target range between 4 to 6 mmol/L as possible to prevent complications, it is equally important to check with your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator for the range of blood glucose levels that are right and safe for you. Therefore the following information should be treated only as a general guide.
The Best Time To Check Blood Glucose After A Meal
Diabetes affects more than 1 in 10 Americans, yet it can still feel like an unclear and complicated illness to manage. One of the best ways to better understand your diabetes is by regularly checking your blood glucose levels. But what makes your blood glucose levels change? And when is the best time to check it especially around mealtimes? Here we answer those questions and more.
Don’t Miss: Why Do I Crave Sugar After I Eat
Why Is My Blood Sugars Up And Down In The Mornings
You will never wake up with the same blood sugar. So forget about you trying to keep your blood sugar like on a flat line. That simply doesnt happen. You dont see a flat line in any human body. The moments you see a flat line means you are dead. Anyway, everything constantly is changing. Everything affects your blood sugar. So, its not like a heart rate. Even your heart rate gets up and down a little bit daily. A normal person wakes up around eighty or ninety blood sugar, but when youre diabetic you know theres a lot of factors playing into it. If you are waking up with a blood sugar of lets say less than 120 thats great. But we dont want to start at 200 at nighttime and wake up at 120 in the morning. That is not necessarily always good either when you are on insulin. So we want to make sure that your blood sugar is similar overnight on basal insulin.
What a lot of people do wrong is that they try to give too much basal insulin to try to control morning numbers. Well, thats a problem. Because we dont want you to go down like this overnight. Thats very dangerous. So, if you want to keep your blood sugar very stable when youre sleeping you want to keep it as straight as possible. Now if there is a 20-30 plus-minus range is ok. This difference is very acceptable. Because thats not going to put you to danger zone.
What Causes Your Blood Glucose To Go Up
Blood glucose refers to the amount of glucose that is circulating through your blood, ideally headed to cells for energy. Insulin is the hormone that allows glucose into our cells, but those with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin and those with type 2 diabetes are resistant to insulin and don’t use it effectively.
Things that can make our blood glucose levels go up include food, stress and illness. Things can can cause our blood glucose levels to go down can include long periods of time without eating, taking too much medication and physical activity.
Each person, regardless of whether they have diabetes, has their own healthy blood sugar target range where their body functions as its best. If you have diabetes, it’s important to identify what your range is, and how it compares to a range that would make you feel your best. Talk with your healthcare team about your current range as well as what the healthiest range for you would be.
Read Also: Does Too Much Sugar Cause Gout
How Often Should Diabetics Check Blood Sugar
A diagnosis of diabetes is often overwhelming, and patients may have many questions about how to manage this illness.
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are serious illnesses that can lead to health complications such as heart disease, strokes, non-healing wounds, and limb amputation. While there is no cure for diabetes, it can be managed, and a key to successfully managing this disease is to monitor blood sugar levels regularly. Blood glucose testing provides information on how exercise, food, insulin or other diabetes medication affect blood sugar. These results can help patients avoid glucose leaves that are too low or too high.
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
Also Check: Can Too Much Sugar Cause Diabetes
Blood Sugar And Hba1c For Type 2 Diabetes
Other types of diabetes like type 2 diabetes also require routine checks regarding blood sugar levels using the glucometer at home and also the blood tests like HbA1c. There is no best time for the HbA1c test, however, it is advised to have regular check-ups done around once in 3-4 months.
As for daily blood sugar readings, a person with T2D can also engage in frequent testing in the initial days of diagnosis. Just getting to know the symptoms of diabetes and how your body reacts to different stimuli would be vital. Slowly, over time, you can choose to check these at your discretion depending on any changes or personal circumstances.
- A time when checking these levels might be important would be during lows. Especially if you are unable to spot signs of hypoglycemia or are having to deal with frequent episodes of low sugar.
- You can also choose to be more frequent and vigilant before and after meals. Particularly during meals that are high in carbs.
Why The Test Is Performed
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of diabetes . More than likely, the doctor will order a fasting blood sugar test.
The blood glucose test is also used to monitor people who already have diabetes.
The test may also be done if you have:
- An increase in how often you need to urinate
- Recently gained a lot of weight
SCREENING FOR DIABETES
This test may also be used to screen a person for diabetes.
High blood sugar and diabetes may not cause symptoms in the early stages. A fasting blood sugar test is almost always done to screen for diabetes.
If you are over age 45, you should be tested every 3 years.
If you’re overweight and have any of the risk factors below, ask your health care provider about getting tested at an earlier age and more often:
- High blood sugar level on a previous test
- Blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher, or unhealthy cholesterol levels
- History of heart disease
- Member of a high-risk ethnic group
- Woman who has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes
- Polycystic ovary disease
- Close relative with diabetes
- Not physically active
Children age 10 and older who are overweight and have at least two of the risk factors listed above should be tested for type 2 diabetes every 3 years, even if they have no symptoms.
Also Check: Can High Blood Sugar Cause Stomach Pain
How Is Blood Sugar Calculated
There are two formulas for calculating blood sugar levels. In the US, the most popular measurement is milligrams per deciliter . In the UK, its millimoles per liter .
If you need to convert measurements, use these formulas:
To go to mmol/L from mg/dL: mmol/L = mg/dL / 18
To go to mg/dL from mmol/L: mg/dL = 18 × mmol/L
Before And After Meals And Snacks
If you eat first thing in the morning, your first blood sugar check of the day can also count as your pre-meal check, but if you dont, youll need to check again before breakfast.
This can inform you as to how much insulin youll need for your meal . If youre running a little high, youll need to bolus extra, but if your blood sugar is on the lower end, you can take a little less insulin for any carbohydrates eaten.
Checking before every meal and snack can help curb postprandial glucose excursions, otherwise known as the stubborn high blood sugars you sometimes can experience after eating a meal and not adequately bolusing for said meal.
Ideally, you should also be checking 2 hours after all meals as well, to determine if your meal bolus was adequate, if you took too much insulin, or if you need to adjust and take more insulin.
Two hours is the recommended time frame, because by then most carbohydrates have been absorbed into the body and most fast-acting insulin has already peaked.
When checking before snacks , make sure youre calculating any active insulin on board so you dont overtreat a high and end up going low.
Also Check: Can Eating To Much Sugar Cause Diarrhea