When Should You Check Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, at home tests should be done before a meal, one to two hours after a meal, and at bedtime. Type 1 and type 2 diabetics who use insulin medication should check their blood sugar at least four times a day.
For those who have prediabetes, or at risk for developing diabetes, your blood sugar should be checked through routine blood work at a yearly doctors exam. If youre not at risk for diabetes, glucose levels can be checked every three years.
I wouldnt recommend that the general public be checking their blood glucose to figure out what their risk is, says Mathioudakis. But certainly people with diabetes, and especially people with diabetes that have medications that can really lower their blood glucose, they should be checking.
For more information, read our article about on whats considered healthy and normal blood sugar levels.
Get Your Lancing Device Ready
Figure 4. Twist the white band to the right
Pull the endcap straight off .
Figure 5. Pull the endcap straight off
Figure 6. Push the lancet into your lancing device
Figure 7. Pull the tab off the lancet
Figure 8. Put the endcap back on your lancing device
Twist the white band to the left to lock the endcap on .
Figure 9. Twist the white band to the left
Figure 10. Set the puncture depth
Your lancing device is now ready. Set it down. Pick up your blood glucose meter and test strip.
Other Tips For Checking:
- With some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh, or fleshy part of your hand.
- There are spring-loaded lancing devices that make sticking yourself less painful.
- If you use your fingertip, stick the side of your fingertip by your fingernail to avoid having sore spots on the frequently used part of your finger.
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Touch The Blood Glucose Test Strip To The Blood Drop
Figure 15. Touch the end of the test strip
It is important to look at the number on the screen, not just the color.
What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be
The paragraph below gives you an idea of what your blood sugar levels should be. Blood sugar ranges might be different for each person and can change throughout the day. Your health care provider will tell you what range is good for you. Call your health care provider if one of the following applies:
- Your blood sugar test results are higher than usual for more than two days for an unknown reason.
- Your blood sugar level is low more than 2 times a week.
Recommended blood glucose range for people with diabetes
Time of test goal
- Two hours after meal starts: < 180 mg/dl
- Before bedtime snack: 100-150 mg/dl
American Diabetes Association, 2009
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Glucose Monitoring In Children
Kids with diabetes of any type need to check their glucose levels, too. Children may need to test more often than adults, especially if they use insulin.
Getting your child get familiar with regular glucose testing can help with:
- Troubleshooting problems in the treatment plan
- Giving them a feeling of control over what’s happening
- Their understanding of how food, exercise, and medication affect blood sugar
Children may also have higher glucose target ranges than adults. Their healthcare provider can tell you what a child’s ideal range is.
Children who have hypoglycemia or low blood sugar episodes may need to be tested in the middle of the night.
Extra testing may also be required when your child is sick.
What Can Affect My Results
They may not be accurate if you have anemia or gout. If itâs hot, humid, or youâre at a high altitude, that can interfere with the results, too. So can vitamin C.
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
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Checking Your Blood Sugar Level
Youâll be given a testing kit that you can use to check your blood sugar level.
This involves using a finger-pricking device and putting a drop of blood on a testing strip.
Youâll be advised:
- how to test your blood sugar level correctly
- when and how often to test your blood sugar youâll usually be advised to test before breakfast and 1 hour after each meal
- what level you should be aiming for this will be a measurement given in millimoles of glucose per litre of blood
- how to share your blood sugar levels with your care team, to help you get the right advice and treatment
If you take insulin and have problems with low blood sugar or your blood sugar is not stable, your care team might offer you a continuous glucose monitor .
This is a small sensor you wear on your skin that sends data wirelessly to a receiver or a mobile phone, so you can see your blood sugar level at any time.
The Big Picture: Checking Your Blood Glucose
Blood sugar monitoring is the primary tool you have to find out if your blood glucose levels are within your target range. This tells you your blood glucose level at any one time.
Its important for blood glucose levels to stay in a healthy range. If glucose levels get too low, we can lose the ability to think and function normally. If they get too high and stay high, it can cause damage or complications to the body over the course of many years.
The logging of your results is vital. When you bring your log to your health care provider, youll have a good picture of your body’s response to your diabetes care plan. To help keep track of your levels, we have a glucose log. We also have a blood glucose log available for purchase that is smaller so you can carry it with you.
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When To Test Your Blood Sugar
The number of times that you need to check your blood sugar each day depends on the type of diabetes you have, the type of medicine you take to treat your diabetes, and how well your blood sugar levels are controlled. For example, people who take insulin injections or use an insulin pump may need to check their blood sugar more frequently than those who take diabetes pills. Some people test their blood sugar before eating meals or snacks, before and after exercise, when they feel sick, or when they think their blood glucose is low. Talk with your healthcare team about how often you should check your blood sugar.
Why Test Blood Sugar Levels
If you take certain medication, like insulin or sulphonylureas, checking your blood sugars is a vital part of living with diabetes. It can help you work out when you need to take more medication, when you need to eat something or for when you want to get up and move around more.
Routine checks can help you know when you might be starting to go too low or too high . Its a way of getting to know your body and how it works. It can help you and your healthcare team spot patterns too. Do you write your results down? You might find that helpful.
But importantly, it will help you stay healthy and prevent serious diabetes complications now and in the future. By complications, we mean serious problems in places like your feet and your eyes. This happens because too much sugar in the blood damages your blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow around your body. This can lead to very serious problems like sight loss and needing an amputation.
The higher your blood sugar levels are and the longer theyre high for, the more at risk you are.
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Ways To Record And Track Your Blood Sugar Test Results
Every time you test your blood sugar, record your results. Your doctor may give you a sheet to write them on, but you can use your own method if you prefer. Some people keep a dedicated notebook for this purpose, which offers more space for notes, while others enter them into a spreadsheet or note app on their phone. Some blood glucose monitors come with a mobile app that you can use to track your blood sugar levels, and some fitness trackers have integrated blood glucose tracking so that you can see charts and graphs of how various lifestyle choices impact your blood sugar levels.
However you choose to record your results, its helpful to note things like:
- Whether youre feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed
- When you last smoked or drank alcohol, if you do either on a regular basis
Making these notes next to your blood sugar readings helps you detect patterns over time.
If your blood sugar is consistently high for several days without a discernible cause, talk to your doctoryou may need to adjust your medication or make other changes to your lifestyle.
When And How Often To Check Levels
How often you should test your childâs blood sugar levels each day and when depends on a number of things and can even change from day to day. In general, most kids with diabetes test their blood sugar levels before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and at bedtime.
They may need to check more often when theyâre sick or if there are changes in their diabetes treatment or daily habits. They may also need to check more often if they use an insulin pump or have a management plan that aims for very close control of blood sugar levels. The diabetes health care team can advise you on how often and when to check.
Sometimes parents need to check their childâs blood sugar levels in the middle of the night. For example, kids having problems with hypoglycemia episodes may need middle-of-the-night tests. And those whoâve just been diagnosed with diabetes may need more frequent tests while they and their families are learning how insulin or other diabetes medicines affect blood sugar levels.
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What Do I Need From My Doctor To Get These Covered Supplies
Medicare will only cover your blood sugar self-testing equipment and supplies if you get a prescription from your doctor. The prescription should include:
- Whether you have diabetes.
- How often you should test your blood sugar.
- How many test strips and lancets you need for one month.
Where can I get these supplies?
- You can order and pick up your supplies at your pharmacy.
- You can order your supplies from a medical equipment supplier. Generally, a Ã¢supplierÃ¢ is any company, person, or agency that gives you a medical item or service, except when youÃ¢re an inpatient in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. If you get your supplies this way, you must place the order yourself. YouÃ¢ll need a prescription from your doctor to place your order, but your doctor canÃ¢t order the supplies for you.
How Does A Continuous Glucose Monitor Work
A CGM works through a tiny sensor inserted under your skin, usually on your belly or arm. The sensor measures your interstitial glucose level, which is the glucose found in the fluid between the cells. The sensor tests glucose every few minutes. A transmitter wirelessly sends the information to a monitor.
The monitor may be part of an insulin pump or a separate device, which you might carry in a pocket or purse. Some CGMs send information directly to a smartphone or tablet. Several models are available and are listed in the American Diabetes Associations product guide.
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How Can I Treat High Blood Sugar
Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Your doctor may suggest the following:
- Be more active. Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track. Important: dont exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can make your blood sugar go even higher.
- Take medicine as instructed. If your blood sugar is often high, your doctor may change how much medicine you take or when you take it.
- Follow your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help if youre having trouble sticking to it.
- Check your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. Check more often if youre sick or if youre concerned about high or low blood sugar.
- Talk to your doctor about adjusting how much insulin you take and what types of insulin to use.
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.
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What Is The Blood Glucose Test Procedure At Home
Blood sugar testing using a blood glucose meter requires a small sample of blood to be placed on a disposable test strip. Even if you use CGM, you will need a blood glucose meter to calibrate your CGM device daily.
Consult your doctor about which device is best for you and how to use it. Read and follow the instructions that come with your device.
Testing your blood glucose levels at home usually involves the following steps:
- Wash and dry your hands well.
- Insert a test strip into your meter.
- Prick the side of your fingertip with the lancet provided with your device.
- Gently squeeze your finger until a drop of blood forms on the tip.
- Touch and hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood.
- In a few seconds, the meter will display your blood glucose level on the screen.
How Easy Are Blood Glucose Meters To Use
This will depend on the design interface favoured by the manufacturer, but some blood glucose monitors are definitely easier to use than others. For instance, some meters require a smaller drop of blood to give a reading and others have easier to navigate results and menus.
When choosing a meter, you may need to decide whether you need more features or whether you need a meter that has advanced features but is simpler to use. Investigate the process before purchasing and speak to as many peers and experts as possible.
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