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How to check your blood sugar

This measures your blood sugar at the time youre tested. You can take this test at any time and dont need to fast first. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.

Random Blood Sugar Test

140 mg/dL or below N/A

*Results for gestational diabetes can differ. Ask your health care provider what your results mean if youre being tested for gestational diabetes.Source: American Diabetes Association

If your doctor thinks you have type 1 diabetes, your blood may also tested for autoantibodies that are often present in type 1 diabetes but not in type 2 diabetes. You may have your urine tested for ketones , which also indicate type 1 diabetes instead of type 2 diabetes.

Blood Sugar Testing Equipment

Testing your blood glucose level is the only accurate way of knowing whether it is too high or low. You cannot accurately judge your blood sugar level just by how you feel.

You can check your blood sugar level using the following equipment:

  • Blood glucose meter a finger-prick device is used to draw a drop of blood from your finger, which you put on a special stick. You then use the meter to see how much glucose is in the blood.
  • Flash glucose monitoring this system uses sensor technology to test glucose levels without needing to prick a finger. A sensor worn on the back of the arm connects to a reader or mobile phone application, which stores your glucose levels day and night.
  • Continuous glucose monitoring device a sensor is placed under the skin, which measures your glucose levels 24 hours a day. CGM is useful for people who have ongoing problems controlling their blood sugar level. The cost, including consumables , is around $5,000 per year.

The Australian Government provides access to subsidised continuous and flash glucose monitoring products through the National Diabetes Services Scheme .

Products that are subsidised by the NDSS, such as needles, syringes, blood glucose monitoring strips, urine monitoring strips and insulin pump consumables, are available from NDSS Access Points, usually your local community pharmacy.

What Happens During A Blood Glucose Test

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out.

For some types of glucose blood tests, you will drink a sugary liquid and wait for an hour before your blood sample is taken:

  • A glucose challenge test is used to test for gestational diabetes in pregnancy. If your blood glucose level is higher than normal, you may have gestational diabetes. You’ll need an oral glucose tolerance test to get a diagnosis.
  • An oral glucose tolerance test is used to diagnose gestational diabetes, and type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in people who aren’t pregnant. A blood sample will be taken before you have a sugary drink and then again, every hour for the next 2 or 3 hours.

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Do You Still Need Hemoglobin A1c Tests If You Monitor At Home

At-home blood sugar monitoring doesnt replace your regular hemoglobin A1C test. While at-home monitoring gives you snapshots of your blood sugar levels in real-time, the A1C test gives you and your care team a big-picture look at your average blood sugar levels over the past three months.

Normal:< 5.7% = < 140 mg/dL

Prediabetes: 5.7% to 6.4% = 140 to 199 mg/dL

Diabetes: 6.5% or higher = 200 mg/dL or higher

What Happens After The Diagnosis

Checking Blood Sugar Without Pain  Diabetes Daily

Usually, the following things happen after your diagnosis:

  • The GP may prescribe medicine. It might take time for you to get used to the medicine and to find the right doses for you.
  • You’ll have to go for regular type 2 diabetes check-ups.
  • You’ll have to look out for certain signs to avoid other health problems.
  • A free education course for type 2 diabetes can help you manage your condition.

    Page last reviewed: 18 August 2020 Next review due: 18 August 2023

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    How Do I Record My Blood Sugar Test Results

    Keep good records of any blood, urine, or ketone tests you do. Most glucose monitors also have a memory. Your records can alert you to any problems or trends. These test records help your doctor make any needed changes in your meal plan, medicine, or exercise program. Bring these records with you every time you see your doctor.

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    Normal Blood Sugar Levels For Adults With Diabetes

    Normally, your pancreas releases insulin when your blood sugar, or âblood glucose,â gets high â after a meal, for example. That signals your body to absorb glucose until levels get back to normal.

    But if you have diabetes, your body doesnât make insulin or doesnât respond to it normally . That can leave your blood sugar too high for too long. Over time, that can damage nerves and blood vessels and lead to heart disease and other problems.

    If you have diabetes, your doctor may ask you to keep track of your blood sugar by testing it at home with a special device called a blood glucose monitor or home blood sugar meter. It takes a small sample of blood, usually from the tip of your finger, and measures the amount of glucose in it.

    Follow your doctorâs instructions about the best way to use your device.

    Your doctor will tell you when and how to test your blood sugar. Each time you do it, log it in a notebook or online tool or in an app. The time of day, recent activity, your last meal, and other things can all affect whether a reading will be of concern to your doctor. So try to log relevant information like:

    • What medication and dosage you took
    • What you ate, when you ate, or whether you were fasting
    • How much, how intense, and what kind of exercise you were doing, if any

    That will help you and your doctor see how your treatment is working.

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    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.

    Get Your Blood Glucose Meter Ready

    Checking Blood Sugar (Glucose) Level | How to Use a Glucometer (Glucose Meter)
  • Hold the test strip with the printed side facing you.
  • Hold your blood glucose meter with the screen and buttons facing you.
  • Put the grey square end of the test strip into your meters test strip port .

    Figure 11. Put the test strip into the port

  • Your meter should beep and turn on after you put the test strip in the port. If it does not:

    • Make sure you pushed the test strip all the way into the port.
    • Make sure the end of the test strip with the grey square is in the port.
    • Make sure the printed side of the test strip is facing you.

    Your blood glucose meter is now ready. It will stay on for 3 minutes after you put in the test strip. If you do not apply a drop of blood to the tip of the test strip in that time, it will beep and turn off. If this happens, pull the test strip out and put it back into the port.

    Do not apply blood to the test strip before you put it into the meter or when the meter is off. If you do, that strip will be ruined. Youll have to start over with a new one.

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    Types Of Blood Sugar Tests

    You can take a blood sugar test two ways. People who are monitoring or managing their diabetes prick their finger using a glucometer for daily testing. The other method is drawing blood.

    Blood samples are generally used to screen for diabetes. Your doctor will order a fasting blood sugar test. This test measures your blood sugar levels, or a glycosylated hemoglobin, also called a hemoglobin A1C test. The results of this test reflect your blood sugar levels over the previous 90 days. The results will show if you have prediabetes or diabetes and can monitor how your diabetes is controlled.

    When and how often you should test your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and your treatment.

    If You’re Diagnosed With Diabetes

    What the GP will discuss with you during your appointment depends on the diagnosis and the treatment they recommend.

    Generally, they’ll talk to you about:

    • what diabetes is
    • what high blood sugar means for your health
    • whether you need to take medicine
    • your diet and exercise
    • your lifestyle for example, alcohol and smoking

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    What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels

    Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular physical activity can all help. Other tips include:

    • Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
    • Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
    • Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
    • Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
    • Drink water instead of juice or soda.
    • Limit alcoholic drinks.
    • For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
    • Control your food portions .

    What Happens With The Test Results

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    Your childs health care team can look at the data online when you need them to or at clinic visits. They will review your child’s glucose levels to look for patterns, like high or low sugars at certain times of the day. Patterns can help the doctor adjust medicines and the dietitian make diet changes.

    If your childs glucose level is higher or lower than you expect from time to time, try not to get discouraged. Ask your childs care team if there are some changes you should try. Together youll figure out the best way to keep your childs sugar in the healthy range as much as possible.

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    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:

    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.

    Get In 150 Minutes Of Exercise A Week

    Powell reminds us, “Exercise is an important part of blood sugar management. Getting exercise regularly strengthens your heart, allowing it to pump more blood with less effort, which decreases the pressure on the arteries and lowers blood pressure. According to the CDC, at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week is key to blood sugar regulation.”

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    How Exercise Lowers Blood Sugar

    Blood sugar, also called glucose, is the bodys main source of energy it mainly comes from the carbohydrates in food, according to Kaiser Permanente. The body regulates blood sugar levels with the help of the hormone insulin, which moves glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells.

    Exercise lowers blood sugar levels by increasing the bodys insulin sensitivity, aka its ability to use insulin, according to the American Diabetes Association . This helps the muscles get more glucose. Additionally, physical activity allows the cells to take in more glucose, whether insulin is available or not. This further reduces blood sugar.

    Exercise also depletes the bodys glycogen stores, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center. When you eat, your liver stores some glucose in the form of glycogen for later use. During exercise, this glycogen is converted back into glucose for fuel. After exercise, it can take the body anywhere from four to 24 hours to replenish its glycogen stores, depending on the intensity of the activity. That means even if exercise doesnt cause low blood sugar in the moment, it can increase the risk of hypoglycemia for people with diabetes for up to 24 hours after a workout.

    Dr. Hafida says that exercise doesnt pose a risk of hypoglycemia for people without diabetes. Even though a person without diabetes may sometimes âfeelâ the symptoms of low blood sugar, their blood glucose levels will usually still be within the normal range.

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    Why You Should Check Your Blood Sugar

    How to Check Your Blood Sugar

    Testing blood glucose can help you manage diabetes by showing you:

    • How well your diabetes treatment plan is working
    • How exercise and food affect your blood sugar levels
    • How things like stress and illness affect your levels
    • How well your diabetes medication is working
    • When your blood sugar levels are too high or too low

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    Diabetes Testing And Monitoring

    If you have diabetes, blood glucose monitoring can help you keep your glucose levels within a target range by balancing food, exercise and insulin, reducing your chances of diabetes complications. A range of testing and monitoring equipment is available to help people manage their diabetes. Your doctor or diabetes nurse or educator can advise you on the most appropriate equipment for you and your situation.

    The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners recommends that if you have type 2 diabetes and take oral medication only, you should talk to your doctor or specialist about the need to test your blood sugar levels at home, as most people in this situation do not need to do this type of monitoring. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.

    Oral Diabetes Type 2 Medications

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    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.

    Whats A Continuous Glucose Monitor

    The 6 Best Ways to Test Blood Sugar Levels

    A continuous glucose monitor is a wearable device that measures glucose every few minutes, all day and night. A CGM uses a thread-like sensor thats put under the skin and secured in place. Sensors can stay in place for 1014 days before you replace them.

    Instead of measuring glucose in the blood directly, a CGM measures the amount of glucose just beneath the skin in fluid surrounding the cells, called the interstitial fluid. Heres how it works: As we digest carbohydrates, glucose enters the bloodstream. Then, it moves into the interstitial fluid on its way to all the cells in the body. It takes a little time for the glucose to move from the bloodstream into the interstitial fluid, so a glucose measurement taken with a CGM will be 510 minutes behind a blood glucose measurement. The benefit of a CGM is that because it measures glucose so often, it gives a more complete picture of how a persons glucose level changes throughout the day.

    People with diabetes often choose a CGM because:

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