What Causes Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar has many causes, including missing a meal, taking too much insulin, taking other diabetes medicines, exercising more than normal, and drinking alcohol. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low.
Signs of low blood sugar are different for everyone. Common symptoms include:
Know what your individual symptoms are so you can catch low blood sugar early and treat it. If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms. Low blood sugar can be dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible.
Philip Says That It Is Impossible To Fool The Hba1c Test
The finger-prick test gives an instant reading or snapshot of the glucose level in the blood at that moment which indicates whether your diabetes is under control. Regular testing had made many people we talked to more aware of foods they needed to limit or avoid altogether, and that exercise could help to reduce blood glucose levels.
At 2 Am/middle Of The Night
Overnight blood glucose check, while inconvenient, are typically done to screen for hypoglycemia as it is more common to not feel a low blood sugar overnight and to sleep through a hypoglycemia event. If you wake up with a headache or a stomach ache it may be due to low blood sugar that unknowingly occurred overnight.
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Monitoring Your Blood Sugar
Regular blood sugar monitoring is the most important thing you can do to manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Youll be able to see what makes your numbers go up or down, such as eating different foods, taking your medicine, or being physically active. With this information, you can work with your health care team to make decisions about your best diabetes care plan. These decisions can help delay or prevent diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation. Your doctor will tell you when and how often to check your blood sugar levels.
Most blood sugar meters allow you to save your results and you can use an app on your cell phone to track your levels. If you dont have a smart phone, keep a written daily record like the one in the photo. You should bring your meter, phone, or paper record with you each time you visit your health care provider.
Sometimes having high blood sugar can feel like a test you didnt pass. But numbers are just numbers. Think of them instead as information. Did a certain food or activity make your levels go up or down? Armed with that knowledge, you can make adjustments and get closer to your target range more often.
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
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When Should I Test My Blood Sugar
You may need to check your blood sugar several times a day, such as before meals or exercise, at bedtime, before driving, and when you think your blood sugar levels are low.
Everyone is different, so ask your doctor when and how often you should check your blood sugar. If you’re sick, you’ll probably need to test your blood sugar more often.
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 You Wake Up
Some people experience high blood sugar levels in the morning. This is sometimes called the Dawn phenomenon and is a result of body changes that occur during sleep, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Testing your blood sugar when you wake up, including waking from a nap, will help you understand your bodys reaction and determine whether your insulin schedule or dosage needs to be adjusted.
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.
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What Can Affect My Results
If you consistently see results that arenât expected, recalibrate your meter and check the strips.
The chart below shows you the ideal blood sugar ranges for most adults except for pregnant women. Your ideal range may be different from another person’s and will change throughout the day, so check with your doctor for your targets.
Time of Test
Do I Have To Monitor My Blood Glucose Levels If I Am On Metformin
Do I have to monitor my blood glucose levels if I am on metformin? Not everyone agrees with me on this, but I very strongly feel that everyone with diabetes should be checking their blood sugar. Diabetes is a progressive disease, it will get worse on its own, even when you do everything right. I dont believe in giving diabetes any foothold, handhold, or toehold in your body and as such, the meter is the first line of defense to see change for the worst when it starts to happen. The meter is the sentinel in the watch tower. Now many people feel that diabetics who take oral meds with little to no risk of low blood sugar, like your metformin, dont need to be testing blood sugar because there is nothing the patient can do if they find they are high. Again, I disagree, and this time because the fact that there is nothing you can do is false. First and foremost you can look at what you did to get yourself high in the first place and avoid doing it again. Testing before and several hours after various meals will help you learn what foods your body can tolerate and which ones it cant. If you numbers are always depressingly high, no matter what you eat, then your therapy needs adjusting.Continue reading > >
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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
Monitoring Your Blood Glucose Levels
Self-monitoring of glucose levels for people with type 2 diabetes is no longer recommended or supported in the NHS, unless a doctor states an acceptable reason or benefit for doing so. For this reason, test strips for blood glucose monitors are no longer routinely provided on NHS prescriptions.
There is evidence to suggest self-monitoring of blood glucose for type 2 diabetes can have positive effects.
However, there is evidence to suggest that using structured self-monitoring of blood glucose for type 2 diabetes can have positive effects, such as improving diabetes control and giving a better understanding of their condition.
While blood glucose monitoring is no longer routinely provided by the NHS, if have you been newly diagnosed or you’re worried about your blood glucose levels, it may be beneficial for you to consider testing your blood glucose at home.
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How To Choose A Blood Glucose Meter
There are many blood sugar meters to choose from, so start by thinking about what’s most important to you. Ask yourself a few questions.
- Are you concerned about accuracy? Make sure you’re using a meter and test strips that provide accurate results. Roche quality control processes ensure consistent accuracy. Find out more about our accuracy commitment.
- Do you use blood glucose results to dose insulin? The Accu-Chek Guide meter sends results directly to a smartphone app that includes an insulin calculator.5
- Do you feel like you’re always short on time? A system that syncs your data wirelessly, without manually entering results, can save time with every test. You may also want to consider a blood glucose meter that gives results quickly, makes it easier to handle test strips, doesn’t require coding, or simplifies lancing or dosing.
- Would you like to reduce the pain of testing? Choose a system with a lancing device specifically designed for comfort, such as the Accu-Chek FastClix lancing device. Precision-guided technology minimizes the lancet’s painful side to side motion and thin-gauge, bevel-cut lancets help ensure smoother entry. Plus, 11 customizable depth settings make it easier to get the right amount of blood the first time.
- Will you track results in the blood sugar meter, with an app or on a computer? Most blood sugar monitors have built-in memories, and many can beam or transfer data directly to your computer or an app on your smartphone, such as the mySugr app.
How To Do A Finger
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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Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Level
Last Updated February 2021 | This article was created by familydoctor.org editorial staff and reviewed by Robert “Chuck” Rich, Jr., MD, FAAFP
If you have diabetes, its important to monitor your blood sugar at different times of the day and throughout the year. There are 3 tools that can help you do this and, therefore, manage your diabetes: A blood test done every three months, blood tests taken every day, and a system that constantly monitors your blood glucose.
The 3-month blood test is called an A1C test. This test reflects your blood sugar control over the past 2-3 months. Testing your A1C level every 3 months is the best way for you and your doctor to understand how well your blood sugar levels are controlled. Your doctor will likely be the one who orders an A1C test. However, you can also purchase over-the-counter A1C testing kits that you can use at home. Your A1C goal will be determined by your doctor. However, the goal is generally less than 7% or 8%, depending on your age.
The daily blood test is done with a blood glucose monitor . This is also called a home blood sugar meter, a glucometer, or a glucose meter. This type of testing is often referred to as self-monitoring of blood glucose. Your doctor may prescribe a BGM, especially if your blood sugar fluctuates. They will show you how to use it.
Gaining Insights From Routine Blood Glucose Testing
Day-to-day blood sugar checks can give you a good idea of how you’re doing at this moment, and they can be reviewed overall to see trends. They can help answer questions such as:
- Are your medications working as they should?
- How does the type or amount of food you eat affect your blood sugar?
- How does activity or stress affect your blood sugar?
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Benefits Of Blood Glucose Monitoring
In the long term, self-monitoring of blood glucose levels can help lower the levels of HbA1c known as glycated haemoglobin – when there is too much sugar in the body it sticks to your red blood cells that contain haemoglobin, this is called glycated haemoglobin or HbA1c.
A high HbA1c level means you have too much sugar in your blood and are more likely to develop diabetes complications, such as serious problems with eyes and circulation.
HbA1c levels are usually checked your doctor every three months, this gives a good picture of the average levels of blood sugar levels over the past three months. Red blood cells are active for 2-3 months, so repeating the HbA1c test every three months is recommended initially, once your levels are stable this can be increased to every six months.
What Age To Talk To Your Children About Diabetes Emergencies
There is no black and white answer for what age makes sense for your child to hear about what to do in a diabetes emergency, but a good rule of thumb may be to approach the topic with them when they begin to ask questions.
Children are naturally inquisitive, and will likely signal you when they want to know more, or if they can help.
Using what they know
Explaining diabetes and the complications or emergencies that can sometimes come along for the ride might seem as if it would all go right over your childs head, but if you use words and concepts that they are already familiar with to liken it to diabetes emergencies, they will be far less intimidated.
Your child may be familiar with other illnesses or instances that make people feel the symptoms of a high or low blood sugar, or they might be able to compare diabetes to an example of a toy that doesnt work or something else that needs help to function properly. In this case, either insulin or glucose would be the aids that you need in order to be healthy.
Children are sensitive, thoughtful little humans. They will likely learn and understand quickly what to do in a diabetes emergencythey simply absorb it all a little differently than adults.
This content on diabetes treatment options was made possible with support from Xeris. Beyond Type 2 maintains full editorial control of all content published on our platforms.
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Type 2 Diabetes: Should I Check My Blood Glucose Levels
Our resident pharmacist looks at the best blood glucose monitors for type 2 diabetes.
Concerned about monitoring your blood glucose levels? Our resident pharmacist Rita Ghelani looks at home blood glucose monitors for people with type 2 diabetes, so you can improve your diabetes control and gain a better understanding of the condition.