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How To Test Blood Sugar Levels At Home

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Drink Water And Stay Hydrated

How to Test Blood Sugar Level at Home | Curo G6s Instructional Video

Drinking enough water could help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy ranges.

In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out any excess sugar through urine.

One review of observational studies showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels (

34 ).

You can do so at home using a portable blood glucose meter, which is known as a glucometer. You can discuss this option with your doctor.

Keeping track allows you to determine whether you need to adjust your meals or medications. It also helps you learn how your body reacts to certain foods .

Try measuring your levels regularly every day and keeping track of the numbers in a log. Also, it may be more helpful to track your blood sugar in pairs for example, before and after exercise or before and 2 hours after a meal.

This can show you whether you need to make small changes to a meal if it spikes your blood sugar, rather than avoiding your favorite meals altogether. Some adjustments include swapping a starchy side for non-starchy veggies or limiting them to a handful.

Summary

Checking your blood glucose and maintaining a daily log enables you to adjust foods and medications when necessary to better manage your blood sugar levels.

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 glucose monitoring products through the National Diabetes Services Scheme .

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

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.

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Why You Should Check Your Sugar Level On A Regular Basis

Following are the benefits of self-monitoring your blood glucose regularly:

  • It gives you a quick measurement of your blood glucose level at a given time.
  • It can determine if you have a high or low blood glucose level at a given time.
  • It can show you how your lifestyle and medication affect your blood glucose levels.
  • It can help you and your diabetes healthcare team assess the need to take action that helps you improve your blood glucose levels.

What Is Hba1c Do I Need To Monitor My Hba1c Too

How to test your blood glucose levels at home

While a glucometer or CGM gives you the at-the-moment sugar level, HbA1c tells you the average blood sugar level over three months. This is typically measured every 3 – 6 months at your regular check-up with your doctor.

Why is it important to check your HbA1c regularly?

The HbA1c gives an indication of how well controlled your diabetes is. As your blood sugar level can fluctuate minute to minute, the HbA1c gives you and your doctor an idea of what your blood sugar level is on average. This allows you and your doctor to monitor the control of your diabetes at each review , and make adjustments to your treatment plan.

Lowering your HbA1c can bring long term benefits. Two large-scale studies the UK Prospective Diabetes Study and the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial demonstrated that improving HbA1c by 1% for people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes cuts the risk of microvascular complications by 25%.Microvascular complications include:

  • Neuropathy

  • Diabetic nephropathy

Research has also shown that people with type 2 diabetes who reduce their HbA1c level by 1% are:

  • 19% less likely to suffer cataracts

  • 16% less likely to suffer heart failure

  • 43% less likely to suffer amputation or death due to peripheral vascular disease

What should my HbA1c level be?

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Home Testing Vs Medical Testing

Self-monitoring your blood sugar is crucial for determining how your diabetes is doing on a daily basis.

Its unreasonable to assume that a few tests a year at the doctors office can give an accurate portrayal of your condition because glucose levels fluctuate throughout the day. However, this doesnt mean that home tests should replace your regular preventive testing either.

In addition to self-monitoring at home, your doctor will likely recommend an A1c test. It measures how your blood glucose has been averaging over the last two to three months.

According to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, A1c tests are ordered up to four times per year.

Getting regular lab tests can also help you determine how well youre controlling your diabetes. Theyll also help you and your healthcare team decide how often to use your home test, as well as what your target reading should be.

What Affects The Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • Alcohol in the drop of blood. If you clean your skin with rubbing alcohol, let the area dry completely before sticking it with the lancet.
  • Water or soap on your finger.
  • Squeezing your fingertip.
  • A drop of blood that is either too large or too small.
  • Very low or very high blood sugar levels.
  • Humidity or a wet test strip. Do not store your test strips in the bathroom. When you remove a strip from the bottle, promptly secure the lid back on the bottle to prevent humidity from damaging the unused strips.

Proper care of the blood sugar testing equipment is important to ensure safety and to get accurate results.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Who Needs To Self Monitor Their Blood Glucose Regularly

Following are a few conditions and situations in which you need to check your blood sugar regularly:

  • If you are taking insulin or oral diabetes medication
  • If you are in a vulnerable group
  • If you are experiencing difficulty controlling your blood glucose levels
  • If your blood sugar level is low without the usual warning signs
  • If you are feeling sick or have ketones
  • If you want to change your medication
  • If you want to work on your eating habits or physical activity pattern

Can I Check My Own Blood Sugar

How to Test Your Blood Sugar At Home

You can do blood sugar level check by doing a finger-prick test, by using a blood sugar monitor called a flash glucose monitor or with a continuous glucose monitor . You can do this several 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.

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 is a blood test to measure your average blood sugar level over the last three 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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When You Have Low Blood Sugar

First, eat or drink 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate, such as:

  • Three to four glucose tablets
  • One tube of glucose gel
  • Four to six pieces of hard candy
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup soft drink
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Fifteen minutes after you’ve eaten a food with sugar in it, check your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is still less than 70 mg/dL, eat another serving of one of the foods listed above. Repeat these steps until your sugar becomes normal.

What Are The Target Ranges

Blood glucose targets are individualized based on:

  • duration of diabetes
  • conditions a person may have
  • cardiovascular disease or diabetes complications
  • hypoglycemia unawareness
  • individual patient considerations

The American Diabetes Association suggests the following targets for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes. A1C targets differ based on age and health. Also, more or less stringent glycemic goals may be appropriate for each individual.

  • A1C: Less than 7%A1C may also be reported as eAG: Less than 154 mg/dL
  • Before a meal : 80130 mg/dL
  • 1-2 hours after beginning of the meal *: Less than 180 mg/dL

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Before During & After Exercise

Checking your blood sugar around exercise is especially important for people who take insulin or other diabetes medications that can cause low blood sugar. Remember to always carry fast-acting carbohydrates with you while exercising.

Especially if youre new to exercise and fitting it into your diabetes management routine, its extremely important to check your blood sugar before, during, and after exercise to identify and prevent low blood sugars.

A low blood sugar level before, during, or after exercising:

  • Youre getting too much of a certain diabetes medication .
  • Your insulin sensitivity or insulin production has improved, which means your medication dosages need to be adjusted by your healthcare team.

A high blood sugar level during, or after exercising can happen, too, although its less common in Type 2 diabetes. Certain types of exercise like weightlifting, spinning, sprinting can trigger your liver to release stored sugar for extra fuel.

Talk to your healthcare team about making any adjustments to your diabetes regimen to help you achieve your blood sugar goals.

Which Type Of Device Is Right For Me

How to Test your Blood Glucose (Sugar) levels at Home

CGM devices are probably more convenient. Unlike SBMG devices, CGM devices dont require you to remember to test your blood sugar multiple times a day. They also dont need you to prick your finger, so they can be less painful.

If you feel like SBMG devices are a hassle, talk to your provider about getting a CGM device. Theyll want to help, especially if it makes you more inclined to monitor your blood sugar regularly.

When it comes to cost, insurance coverage can be a concern for some patients. Insurance plans will generally cover a few SMBG devices. CGM devices, on the other hand, are newer to the market so fewer insurance plans tend to cover them.

And if you dont have insurance or the SMBG device you want is too expensive for you, know that there are ways for you to saveor even get them for free. See here for information on savings programs for SMBG monitors and test strips.

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What Do My Results Mean

When you finish the blood sugar check, write down your results and note what factors may have affected them, such as food, activity, and stress. Take a close look at your blood glucose record to see if your level is too high or too low several days in a row at about the same time. If the same thing keeps happening, it might be time to change your diabetes care plan. Work with your doctor or diabetes educator to learn what your results mean for you. It can take time to make adjustments and get things just right. And do ask your doctor if you should report results out of a certain range right away by phone.

Keep in mind that blood glucose results often trigger strong feelings. Blood sugar numbers can leave you upset, confused, frustrated, angry, or down. It’s easy to use the numbers to judge yourself. Remind yourself that tracking your blood sugar level is simply a way to know how well your diabetes care plan is working, and whether that plan may need to change.

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.

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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.
  • How The Test Is Done

    Gestational Diabetes: Testing your blood sugar at home

    You can buy a testing kit from a pharmacy without a prescription. Your provider can help you choose the right kit, set up the meter, and teach you how to use it.

    Most kits have:

    • Test strips
    • Small needles that fit into a spring-loaded plastic device
    • A logbook for recording your numbers that can be downloaded and viewed at home or at your provider’s office

    To do the test, prick your finger with the needle and place a drop of blood on a special strip. This strip measures how much glucose is in your blood. Some monitors use blood from areas of the body other than the fingers, reducing discomfort. The meter shows your blood sugar results as a number on a digital display. If your vision is poor, talking glucose meters are available so that you don’t have to read the numbers.

    Be aware that no meter or strip is accurate 100% of the time. If your blood sugar value is unexpectedly high or low, measure again with a new strip. Do not use strips if the container has been left open or if the strip has gotten wet.

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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 — 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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