When Should Testing Occur
A doctor might recommend testing at three different times, and often over the course of several days:
- Morning fasting reading: This provides information about blood glucose levels before a person eats or drinks anything. Taking blood glucose readings before eating provides a baseline number. This number offers clues about glucose processes during the day.
- Before a meal: Blood glucose before a meal tends to be low, so a high blood glucose reading at this time suggests difficulties managing blood sugar.
- After a meal: Post-meal testing gives a good idea about how the body reacts to food, and if sugar can reach the cells efficiently. Blood glucose readings after a meal can help diagnose gestational diabetes, which happens during pregnancy. Most doctors recommend testing about 2 hours after a meal.
The doctor will personalize the glucose monitoring schedule for the individual.
For people with diabetes, blood sugar readings should be as follows:
- Fasting : 80â130 milligrams per deciliter
- Before meals: 70â130 mg/dl
- Two hours after starting meals: Below 180 mg/dl
- At bedtime: Under 120 mg/dl
- HbA1c: 7.0 percent or lower
Before beginning home testing, it is important that people get clear, target figures from their doctor.
Target numbers may vary from person to person and may change over time, depending on an individualâs health, age, weight, and other factors.
For people who do not have diabetes, blood sugar levels should be within the following ranges:
How To Test For Diabetes
There are several ways to test for diabetes, and one common method is through an A1C blood test. This test shows your average blood sugar level over the past two to three months by determining the percentage of blood sugar attached to the hemoglobin protein in your red blood cells. The higher the number, the better the odds are that you may have diabetes. You can also perform a random blood sugar test that is taken at a random time. Anything over 200 mg per deciliter suggests diabetes. Random blood sugar tests can be done on your own using a blood glucose monitor.
How Do I Pick A Glucose Meter
Your doctor will make a recommendation. Check with your health insurance plan to see if it will pay for your BGM, its supplies, or a CGM. If so, your plan may only pay for a certain meter.
Shop around and compare costs. Consider what features are important to you. For example, some meters are made for people who have poor eyesight. If you want to pay a little more money, you can get a BGM that stores the results in its memory. This allows you to compare results from several days at one time.
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What Are Blood Sugar Levels
Your blood sugar levels, also known as blood glucose levels, are a measurement that show how much glucose you have in your blood. Glucose is a sugar that you get from food and drink. Your blood sugar levels go up and down throughout the day and for people living with diabetes these changes are larger and happen more often than in people who don’t have diabetes.
You can check your sugar levels yourself by doing a finger-prick test, by using a flash glucose monitor or with a continuous glucose monitor . You can do this a number of 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.
But 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 measures your average blood sugar level from the previous few 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.
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What Is The Normal Range For Blood Sugar
Blood sugar levels can fluctuate somewhat, but there are specific ranges that indicate healthy or non-healthy levels.
- Blood sugar less than 100 mg/dl after fasting for at least eight hours is a normal range. Your levels should be less than 140 mg/dl two hours after eating.
- Your blood sugar is often lowest during the day just before meals. If you don’t have diabetes, your blood sugar level will likely be around 70 to 80 mg/dl. Some people may find that 60 is normal, while others are normal at 90.
- Use a blood glucose monitor to check your levels and if they appear to be abnormal or extremely high or low, contact your doctor right away.
What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels
They’re less than 100 mg/dL after not eating for at least 8 hours. And they’re less than 140 mg/dL 2 hours after eating.
During the day, levels tend to be at their lowest just before meals. For most people without diabetes, blood sugar levels before meals hover around 70 to 80 mg/dL. For some people, 60 is normal for others, 90.
What’s a low sugar level? It varies widely, too. Many people’s glucose won’t ever fall below 60, even with prolonged fasting. When you diet or fast, the liver keeps your levels normal by turning fat and muscle into sugar. A few people’s levels may fall somewhat lower.
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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
How Often Should I Check My Blood Sugar
The number of times that you check your blood sugar will depend on the type of diabetes that you have and the type of medicine you take to treat your diabetes. For example, people who take insulin may need to check more often than people who do not take insulin. Talk with your health care team about how often to check your blood sugar.
The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up , before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime. Talk with your health care team about what times are best for you to check your blood sugar.
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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
Blood Glucose Monitors: What Are My Options
There are many devices on the market that can help you check your blood glucose, but they generally fall into 2 categories:
Self-monitoring blood glucose devices. With SMBG devices, you test your blood sugar multiple times a day, each time pricking your finger and testing a drop of blood with a test strip. Many of these devices can store your results over time. Some newer ones even allow you to send your results to your smartphone through an app. Popular SMBG devices include OneTouch Ultra 2, Coaguchek XS, and Contour Next.
Continuous glucose monitoring devices. In contrast to SMBG devices, CGM devices measure your blood sugar at regular intervals throughout the day. Popular CGM devices include Freestyle Libre 14 day, Dexcom G6, and Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3. These tend to be newer than SMBG devices and feature an adhesive patch with a small microneedle sensor that you attach to your skin . The sensor measures your blood sugar and sends your results to an app on your smartphone or another device you carry around with you. Some CGM devices come attached to insulin pumps that give you insulin when your blood sugar is high.
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What If I Cant Get A Drop Of Blood For A Fingerstick
If you want to get blood from your fingertip, try washing your hands in hot water to get the blood flowing. Then dangle your hand below your heart for a minute. Prick your finger quickly and then put your hand back down below your heart. You might also try slowly squeezing the finger from the base to the tip.
When Should You Test For Hypoglycemia At Home
Your doctor may tell you to test 3 to 5 times a day, over the course of several days, to get an idea of how your medication for diabetes is working. You should also test if you suspect your diabetes is not being well controlled, if you are unwell, or if you have recently changed medicines. Testing several times a day allows you to see any fluctuations in your blood sugar readings. Usual times to test include:
- First thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything. This provides a baseline number and can give clues about how you process glucose during the day and if your blood glucose readings drop too low at night
- Before a meal: Blood glucose levels before a meal tend to be low, so a high blood glucose reading at this time suggests your blood sugar management is not that great or the dose of your medication is maybe too low
- After a meal: Post-meal testing gives a good idea about how the body reacts to food, and if glucose can reach the cells efficiently. Most doctors recommend testing about 2 hours after a meal.
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Why Check 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.
How To Check Blood Sugar Without A Meter
Diabetes is a chronic condition where the body either doesnt make enough insulin or doesnt use insulin properly or both. This can lead to a higher than normal blood sugar level.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to complications, such as:
- heart disease
- nerve damage
For these reasons, its important to monitor your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
Prior to using meters, people with diabetes would monitor their blood sugar by testing their urine. This method, however, wasnt as accurate, nor did it provide real-time results.
If you self-test your blood sugar several times a day using a glucometer, or meter, it requires that you prick your finger to draw blood to test. Due to the discomfort of this method, you might look for a way to monitor your level without this tool.
If finger pricks are very bothersome for you, dont worry theres hope. Advances in blood sugar monitoring technology could mean no more finger pricks in the future.
If you have diabetes, there are several portable devices you can use to check your blood sugar level and not all of them require a finger prick.
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Blood Glucose Monitors At Walgreens
If you have diabetes, your body can’t control blood sugar levels. Your doctor will likely recommend lifestyle changes and sometimes insulin or other diabetes medications as treatment to bring your blood sugar levels near goal. Blood sugar monitoring can help tell if your diabetes treatment plan is working. You’ll likely have your blood sugar levels checked during appointments, and your doctor may also recommend testing your blood sugar levels at home with a blood glucose monitor. Walgreens can help you test your blood sugar at home accurately and easily with a diverse assortment of monitors that you can shop online and in stores. We also carry lancets, testing strips and glucometer accessories, so you can purchase everything that you need with ease.
How Do I Check My Blood Sugar
You use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar. This device uses a small drop of blood from your finger to measure your blood sugar level. You can get the meter and supplies in a drug store or by mail.
Read the directions that come with your meter to learn how to check your blood sugar. Your health care team also can show you how to use your meter. Write the date, time, and result of the test in your blood sugar record. Take your blood sugar record and meter to each visit and talk about your results with your health care team.
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Do Not Drive When You Have Low Blood Sugar
It’s very dangerous. If you’re driving and you have hypoglycemia symptoms, pull off the road, check your blood sugar, and eat a sugary food. Wait at least 15 minutes, check your blood sugar, and repeat these steps if necessary. Eat a protein and carbohydrate source before you drive on.
Be prepared. Keep a sugar source in your car at all times for emergencies.
Testing Your Blood Glucose
Testing your blood glucose
Testing your blood glucose, also known as Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose , is a method of checking how much glucose is in the blood using a glucose meter anywhere, anytime. Your doctor can also test your glucose from a blood sample that is checked in the lab.
Blood glucose targets for non-pregnant adults*
Less than 180 mg/dL
Your doctor uses what is called an A1C test to see what your average blood glucose level has been over the recent 3 months. Used for all types of diabetes, this test gives you and your doctor an indication on how well you are responding to your treatment plan. The recommended goal is to keep the level below seven percent . Your doctor will talk to you about the goal that is right for you. The A1C test is sometimes referred to as the hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c or glycohemoglobin test.
The importance of self-testing
Your A1C test result will not show the daily effects of food choices and activity on your blood glucose levels. A blood glucose meter is a good way to test and track the immediate effects of food, activity and other changes in your blood glucose levels. This allows you to take immediate action to bring your glucose levels within range as recommended by your doctor. Your doctor may also rely on your blood glucose meter results, in addition to your A1C test result, to assess and adjust your treatment plan.
The connection between A1C and average blood sugar levels.
Recording your blood glucose results
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