Thursday, December 8, 2022

How To Measure Your Blood Sugar At Home

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How to Measure Your Blood Sugar – Mayo Clinic Patient Education

Testing your blood sugar is crucial to diabetes management. Using a meter or continuous glucose monitoring can provide accurate results. But you might seek a pain-free method to check blood sugar.

Talk with your doctor or a certified diabetes educator. You might be a candidate for a glucose monitoring device that involves fewer finger pricks or no finger pricks.

Additionally, making a few adjustments in the way you collect your blood sample might reduce the level of pain and discomfort.

Why Is It Important To Measure Your A1c

Since elevated blood sugars can lead to a number of short- and long-term complications, its advisable to keep an eye on your A1C and ensure that its held at a healthy level.

If you find that your blood sugars are increasing above your target, there are several things you can do to reduce them, such as discussing adjusting your medication with your doctor, changing your diet, and making lifestyle changes

You can read our complete guide to lowering your A1C for more information.

Since the A1C tests give you a picture of your blood sugar level for the last 3 months, it makes sense to have your A1C measured at least every 3 months to keep track of how your blood sugars are progressing.

It the test is used for a diabetes diagnosis, you might have to also have your fasting blood sugar and antibody levels measured to determine which type of diabetes you live with, such as type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Tips For Checking Your Blood Sugar With Less Pain

Fingertips have more nerve endings, so this part of the finger tends to be the most sensitive.

If you use a finger prick to check your blood sugar level, a few techniques can make the process less painful whether youre using a glucometer or a continuous glucose monitor.

Blood sugar testing is crucial to diabetes management because high or low blood sugar can cause severe complications. If too much blood sugar accumulates in your bloodstream, you can experience major complications such as:

  • nerve damage
  • difficulty speaking
  • shaking

Blood sugar can fluctuate throughout the day especially after meals, after exercising, and during stressful events. So its important to carefully monitor your blood sugar and keep it within a healthy range.

A blood sugar level less than 140 milligrams per deciliter , but greater than 70 mg/dL is typically considered in the target range.

You should check your blood sugar regularly, even if you arent experiencing symptoms of a high or low glucose level. Some people with high and low blood sugar dont have any symptoms.

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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 doctor’s exam. If you’re not at risk for diabetes, glucose levels can be checked every three years.

“I wouldn’t 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 what’s considered healthy and normal blood sugar levels.

First Who Should Monitor Their Blood Sugar At Home

How To Measure Blood Sugar At Home In 2 Minutes

Not everyone with diabetes needs to monitor their blood glucose at home. However, under a few conditions, your provider may feel that its worth considering:

  • If you are taking medications that can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate drastically, such as insulin or certain non-insulin diabetes medications

  • If you are pregnant

  • If you tend to experience low blood sugar

  • If you have a hard time reaching your goal blood sugar levels

Read Also: Which Cells Produce Hormones To Regulate Blood Sugar

What Do The Numbers Mean

Now the challenging part: How do you know if you blood sugar numbers are good or bad?

First off, its important to know that everyone will have different blood sugar goals. Your provider should let you know what numbers you need to aim for. Your goal range will depend on multiple factors, including your health and age, the medications you take, and how far your diabetes has progressed.

Second, your numbers will change depending on what and when you eat. Your numbers will rise after eating and will gradually go down after you finish eating. The American Diabetes Association recommends that most people have a blood sugar reading of 80 mg/dL to 130 mg/dL before a meal, and less than 180 mg/dL 1 to 2 hours after a meal. But this is also one of the reasons why most providers use a hemoglobin A1C test on top of your at-home blood glucose tests. A1C is a measure of your average blood glucose over the past 2 to 3 months.

Weighing Your Risk Factors

  • 1Take an online risk factor assessment. You can find these tests from many reputable medical websites. They will ask you a series of questions, and then they will tell your level of risk for having diabetes or developing it in the future.XResearch source
  • For instance, try the one here: .
  • 2Consider your age a factor if you’re over 45. People over 45 are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people under 45. As you age, make sure to monitor your health closely.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
  • However, age is just one of many risk factors. Being over 45 doesn’t automatically mean you’ll develop diabetes.
  • 3Watch your health if you belong to certain minority groups. You’re at higher risk if your Asian-American, African-American, Hispanic, or American Indian. If you’re worried about your health, talk to your doctor about how you can reduce your risk.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
  • While you can’t change your genes, you can take steps to lower other risk factors.
  • While you can’t change these conditions, you can work to lower other risk factors.
  • Losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and increasing your daily activity level can all help with these issues.
  • 8
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    When Should I Measure My Blood Glucose

    Throughout the rest of your pregnancy, you will need to measure your blood glucose levels at various points through the day, to check that they are within the limits you have been given at each of those times:

    When you get up You need to measure your blood glucose levels each morning when you get up, before you have anything to eat or drink. This blood glucose level is called your fasting blood glucose level because you will have an empty stomach. You must not have eaten or drunk anything apart from water overnight, for at least eight hours.

    Your team should have discussed this with you and agreed the ideal morning blood glucose level for you to aim for.

    Before or after every meal You will probably be asked to measure your blood glucose level around the time of a meal. Some services measure before eating while others measure one or two hours after a meal .

    Again, you will have discussed and agreed an ideal blood glucose level after meals with your diabetes team. These levels will be higher than your fasting blood glucose levels, as you will just have eaten.

    If you are taking insulin to help to control your blood glucose levels, you may need to do a separate test before you go to bed, or even during the night, although this is unusual.

    “When we did go out for a special meal or two, and I’d have a little bit of cheesecake or something, it really affected my sugar levels. But that would’ve been just twice in the whole pregnancy.” Gemma, mum of one

    How To Check Blood Sugar Without A Meter

    how to measure blood sugar at home with your own glucometer

    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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    How And When To Measure Blood Sugar

    How and When to Measure Blood SugarThe nondiabetic body is constantly measuring its levels of blood sugar and compensating for values that are either too high or too low. A diabetics body has lost much or all of this capability. With a little help from technology, you can take over where your body has left off and do what it once did automatically normalize your blood sugars.

    YOUR BLOOD GLUCOSE PROFILE

    No matter how mild your diabetes may be, it is very unlikely that any physician can tell you how to normalize your blood sugars throughout the day without knowing what your blood glucose values are around the clock. Dont believe anyone who tells you otherwise. The only way to know what your around the clock levels are is to monitor them yourself.

    A table of blood sugar levels, with associated events , measured at least 4 times daily over a number of days, is the key element in what is called a blood glucose profile. This pro-file, described in detail in the next chapter, gives you and your physician or diabetes educator a glimpse of how your medication, lifestyle, and diet converge, and how they affect your blood sugars. Without this information, its impossible to come up with a treatment plan that will normalize blood sugars. Except in emergencies, I try not to treat someones diabetes until I receive a blood glucose profile that covers at least one week.

    MEASURING YOUR BLOOD SUGARS: IMPORTANT TECHNIQUES

    6. Touch the drop of blood to the proper point on the test strip.*

    How To Reduce The Pain Of Blood Sugar Checks

    Nobody gets excited about pricking their fingertip. In fact, studies have shown that it’s one of the main reasons people refrain from regularly checking their blood glucose.6,7 So how can you make this less of a hurdle in your self-care?

    Select a less-painful lancing device

    Naturally, one factor that can contribute to the pain is your lancing device. That’s why we’ve worked hard to ensure that Accu-Chek lancing devices keep discomfort to a minimum. For example, our lancing devices feature:

    • Technology that minimizes side-to-side motion, so there’s less skin tearing
    • 11 customizable depth settings to help match your skin type
    • Precisely manufactured, beveled, thin-gauge lancets to ensure smoother entry

    You can reduce pain by using a fresh lancet for every test. Today’s lancets are so tiny that just a single use can bend or dull the tips. This can make them hurt more as you reuse them.

    5 tips for reducing fingertip pain

    You can make testing more comfortable and help ensure that you get a good sample on the first try by following these 5 easy steps.

  • Make sure that your hands are clean and dry. Washing your hands with warm water and hanging your hand at your side for a few minutes may increase blood flow.3
  • Lance on the side of the fingertip rather than the pad. The pad of your fingertipwhere your fingerprints are most visibleare some of the most sensitive parts of your body.8
  • Keep the skin taut by pressing the lancing device firmly against the skin.
  • Read Also: Which Cells Produce Hormones To Regulate Blood Sugar

    What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

    The symptoms of low blood sugar include:

    • Weakness
    • Blurred vision

    More severe symptoms can range from confusion and inability to concentrate, to seizure or stroke.

    Of course, this is not an exhaustive list and you should always consult a physician. However, if youre constantly feeling fatigued or weak, and the rest of your life is in order, its definitely something to consider.

    NOTE – Extreme hunger is a bad sign: If youre ravenously hungry even though youve been eating like horse, your body is trying to tell you I NEED MORE GLUCOSE. Get checked out ASAP.

    Did you know?: High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, also exists and is characterized by a rapid heartbeat, insatiable thirst, frequent trips to the bathroom for #1, and blurred vision. Having your blood sugar too high is also dangerous.

    How to Measure Your Blood Sugar

    I cant wait to stab myself today – Nobody

    Blood glucose is measured using a kind of confusing system that exists out of our stubbornness to change outdated systems .

    In the USA, its measured using milligrams per deciliter .

    In the UK and commonwealth countries, its measured using millimoles per liter . You can adjust a study done with the British system to the American system by multiplying the British numbers by 18.

    Hope thats all making sense.

    Now comes the fun part: NEEDLES.

    The Best Blood Sugar Supplements: How Supplementation Can Help

    Managing Diabetes

    Supplements for blood sugar can help fill in the gaps of your diet and promote your overall health. Some supplements are even specially formulated to help regulate blood sugar levels and provide other healthy benefits like weight loss and muscle building.

    The best way to keep regulate blood sugar is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.

    Personally, we struggle to always stick to a healthy diet, especially since the world is full of so many unhealthy options. Thats where a clean, all-in-one supplement comes in.

    There are so many blood sugar supplements. Its best to stick with only the most potent ones

    One issue we found with blood sugar supplements is that there are just too many. When we first started researching, it seemed like everything could potentially promote healthy blood sugar levels.

    Through rigorous researching and testing, we discovered a few ingredients that actually proved to help. Berberine, rock lotus, bitter melon, banaba leaf, and a few others were the most effective.

    Getting all of these potent ingredients in one capsule allowed us to optimize our nutrient intake. Instead of just taking shots in the dark and hoping you get enough of each substance, you can be 100% sure youre getting all of the most powerful blood sugar supplements PLUS extra benefits like antioxidants. Just one capsule 3 times daily is all you need.

    It works for us, so it could work for you too!

    References

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    How To Test Your Blood Glucose

  • Prepare your kit ready for testing.
    This should include: your meter , a test strip to hand , the finger pricker , cotton wool and a monitoring diary to record the results
  • Ensure that the finger pricking device has been loaded with a new lancet
  • Wash and dry your hands to ensure that the result is not influenced by any sugars that may be present on your fingers
    A fuller drop of blood will be obtained if your fingers are warm, so its worth warming your hands up if you can. Be careful not to overheat your fingers so as not to hurt yourself.
  • Put a test strip into your meter
  • Prick your finger with the lancing device at the sides of the finger as there are less nerve ending here than at the tips or the pads.
    Recommended finger: the World Health Organisation recommends the middle or ring fingers are used for blood glucose tests . You may want to avoid using your little finger due to the skin being thin.
    You may need to squeeze your finger a little until blood appears if you find you need to squeeze hard, try pricking a finger again.
  • When blood appears, check the meter is ready and then transfer the blood onto the test strip and wait a few seconds most meters these days provide a result within 10 seconds and often sooner.
  • If the test is unsuccessful, repeat from step 4.
  • If the test is successful, clean any blood off your finger with the cotton wool if necessary
  • Record the result in a monitoring diary
  • FREE blood glucose levels chart

    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:

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