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How Often Should Diabetics Check Blood Sugar

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When Is The Best Time To Test Blood Sugar

How Often Should Diabetics Check Blood Sugar | The Diabetic Fighter

Many people newly diagnosed with type 2 are encouraged to check fasting blood glucose levels. Diabetes educator Deb Bjorsness, R.D., CDE, from Great Falls, Montana, says: “It’s pretty common for providers to say, ‘Just check first thing in the morning that’s good enough.'”

Bjorsness has seen when it isn’t good enough. “People come in and the only time they test is first thing in the morning, and their A1C has come back 8, 9, or 10 percent. That’s the beauty of doing blood sugars at other times of the day, like after meals. This can help you and your providers see where the problems are.”

If you’ve settled into a diabetes plan and your fasting blood glucose results are within your goal range, a better use of the next test would be to check at a different time. There are many times when you can test your blood sugar, such as an hour or so after you eat, when you’re sick, after you start a new medication, after medication changes, or when you’re under a lot of stress. Some standard blood sugar checkpoints include:


Take Only Oral Medication That Can Cause Hypoglycemia:

  • Shortly after fasting.
  • Periodically at other times of day such as pre-meal or 1 hour post-meals, and the middle of the night.

These tips serve as guidelines to help you develop a solid diabetes management plan and do not replace personalized medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or other members of your diabetes care team on how often you should check your blood sugar each day.

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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What Hba1c Do I Aim For

The goal for most people with diabetes will be in the 6.5-7 percent range however this may need to be higher for some people including children and the elderly. Your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator can help you decide on a target that is both appropriate and realistic for your individual circumstances.

How Often To Test Your Blood Glucose

Should You Get Your Blood Sugar Checked?

Checking your blood sugar, keeping a record of your results, and using your results to improve your management is an important part of having diabetes. But before you grab your meter and check your blood glucose level, ask: Why am I checking now? How will I use the information to make decisions in how I manage my diabetes? If you don’t know, find out before you do a check. Our blood sugar guide answers your questions about when and how often to check.

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Blood Glucose Monitoring Fact Sheet

This fact sheet is available in two formats.

You can download and print out the PDF version.

Or you can read it as a website page below.

Regularly checking your blood glucose levels can help you manage your diabetes. Your diabetes health professionals can help you with information and advice about blood glucose monitoring.

Regular monitoring can help you see the effects of food, exercise, medication and illness on your blood glucose levels. It can also help you identify any patterns or changes that you should discuss with your doctor or diabetes health professionals.

How Many Times A Day Check My Blood Sugars On Insulin

Of course, if youre on insulin thats a little different story. So if somebody is on basal insulin, in this case, I would suggest checking the blood sugar before you go to bed and then before you wake up. The reason for that is especially initially during the titration stage. Because we dont exactly know how much insulin you will need. So, we start you from somewhere and we titrate you to the goal. In that stage, you always have to want to check the blood sugar at night and in the morning.

What a lot of people dont understand is why were doing this. The reason is that the long-acting insulin is designed to keep your blood sugar stable overnight and during the day as well. Your liver is constantly making blood sugar. That is regulated by insulin and insulin sensitivity. When your insulin resistance especially when you have diabetes, you know that your liver does not realize that theres some insulin. So the liver keeps making too much sugar. In order to overcome the insulin resistance, if youre not able to exercise, have good dieting, the insulin you are making may not be enough. Just simply diet and exercise sometimes is not enough either. In those cases, we start basal insulin just to keep the blood sugar stable.

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Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

If your test results show you have prediabetes, ask your doctor or nurse if there is a lifestyle change program offered through the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program in your community. You can also search for an online or in-person program. Having prediabetes puts you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but participating in the program can lower your risk by as much as 58% .

How Do I Pay For These Tests And Supplies

How Often Should I Check My Blood Sugar Level?

Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and some of the cost of supplies for checking your blood sugar. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low cost or free supplies. Ask your health care team what to do if you run out of test strips. For more information about Medicare and diabetes, go to .

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Follow These Steps To Check Your Blood Sugar:

  • Wash and dry your hands to be sure to get an accurate reading.
  • Put a test strip into the meter.
  • Use a small needle, called a lancet, to poke your finger. This will get a very tiny drop of blood on your fingertip.
  • Touch the window on the test strip to the drop of blood on your finger. The test strip sucks the drop of blood into the strip.
  • In a few seconds, your blood sugar reading will show on the screen on the meter.
  • Keep track of your blood sugars so you, your family, your school, and your diabetes team can help keep your diabetes in control.
  • Write all of your blood sugar readings on the blood sugar record log. Write them down even if they do not match with the columns. Some people use an app on their smart phone to record their blood sugars.

    Blood Sugar And Hba1c For Type 2 Diabetes

    The same should be followed by people who have type 2 diabetes. However, if you are on medication that can cause hypoglycemia, you must test your glucose level whenever you experience any symptoms. Further, you should test, before and after meals, especially if you have type 2 diabetes.

    Apart from this, you can also opt for structured testing. In this, you need to check your blood glucose level at specified times. This will not only help you monitor your blood glucose level but also help you recognize patterns of how your glucose level fluctuates during day-to-day activities. This is extremely helpful in maintaining a record and solving problems related to daily activities.

    Combining structured testing and routine blood testing can give you a better view of how your self-care program is working so that you can tailor your plans to achieve your goals.

    Read More: Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

    Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the readers situation.

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    What If The Blood Glucose Check Result Doesnt Sound Right

    If youre not convinced that a result is correct, heres a suggested check list:

    • Have the strips expired?
    • Is the meter too hot or too cold?
    • Is the calibration code correct?
    • Is the battery low or flat?

    All meters will give a different result with a different drop of blood. As long as there is not a big difference there is not usually cause for concern.

    The accuracy of all meters can be checked with meter-specific liquid drops called control solutions. If you are concerned, you can arrange to have your meter checked with a control solution. Your Credentialled Diabetes Educator or pharmacist can help you with this.

    How Often Should You Get Your Blood Sugar Checked

    Type 2 Diabetes: How Often Should You Test Your Blood ...

    Get your blood sugar checked annually if you have prediabeteshigher-than-normal blood sugar levels.

    Your risk factors determine whether you should be screened annually or every three years.

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    Make The Most Of Your Meter

    How often should you check your blood sugar? The answer depends on the type of diabetes you have, your blood glucose level targets, and more practical matters, such as whether you can afford or have enough test strips.

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    Recent studies show that people with type 2 diabetes who don’t use medications but do self-monitor blood glucose might not see much difference in blood glucose control compared with people who don’t self-monitor. But using a meter to check your blood glucose levels strategically can provide helpful information to guide you in selecting:



    medication doses

    With this guide on finding how often to test, discovering how accurate your meter is, and more, we’ll show you what you need to know about testing your blood sugar.

    Consider Testing Before And After Exercise

    Check to see how exercise affects blood sugar by occasionally testing immediately before and after exercise. Aerobic activity tends to lower blood sugar, even hours after stopping. This is not the case if you take insulin and start exercising when your blood sugar is high. Exercise can cause blood sugar to rise because you don’t have enough insulin to get glucose into the cells. Strength training, such as weight lifting, may temporarily increase blood sugar levels, but it has long-term glucose-lowering benefits.

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    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 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.

    Factors That Affect How Often You Need To Test Your Blood Sugar

    How often you test depends on several different factors.

    You should test your blood sugar at home, but how often is enough? Well, it dependsmostly on your medication, you, and your doctor.

    The American Diabetes Association recommends testing your blood sugar at least three times a day if you need multiple daily insulin injections. But for the rest of those with type 2 diabetes, testing frequency should be âdictated by the particular needs and goals of the patients,â the ADA says.

    That means that frequent testing is clearly necessarily for some people with type 2 diabetes, but there is a little wiggle room for others.

    Some studies suggest that frequent monitoring is not always helpful for people with type 2 diabetes. But that research is still being debated. Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you determine how often and when you should be testing.

    How often you test depends on the following factors.

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    How Often To Check Hba1c Levels If You Have Prediabetes

    Prediabetes â also known as âborderline diabetesâ â refers to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels that havenât yet climbed into the diabetes range. Specifically, a prediabetes HbA1c level lies within the 5.7% and 6.4% range.

    According to some estimates, about 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes. And hereâs an equally startling statistic: if you have prediabetes, your risk of type 2 diabetes is up to 15 times greater than that of an individual with normal blood sugar levels! So, because prediabetes puts you right in the crosshairs of diabetes, regularly checking your HbA1c levels is an important way you can protect your health.

    Because prediabetes puts you right in the crosshairs of diabetes, regularly checking your HbA1c levels is an important way you can protect your health.

    Here are a few guidelines for monitoring your HbA1c levels if you have prediabetes:

    In general, check your HbA1c level at least once a year. So if you have prediabetes â but havenât checked your HbA1c status for more than a year â itâs probably time to get an HbA1c test kit.

    Check your HbA1c levels more frequently â 2 times a year â if you are especially at risk of diabetes because:* You currently have a heart disease* Your body mass index is in the obese range * You have a family history of type 2 diabetes

    Know Your Blood Glucose Targets

    How often should blood sugar levels get tested? Understand

    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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