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How To Test Your Blood Sugar At Home

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Follow Your Diabetes Meal Plan

How to test blood sugar at home with a glucometer

Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team. Following a meal plan will help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Choose fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, chicken or turkey without the skin, fish, lean meats, and nonfat or low-fat milk and cheese. Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt. Learn more about eating, diet, and nutrition with diabetes.

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What Is Blood Sugar Level

Blood glucose levels are the amount of glucose that someone has in their blood at any given time. Blood sugar levels change throughout the day. Typically, blood sugar levels are at their lowest first thing in the morning or after a period of fasting. Blood sugar levels increase during and after meals, as the body digests food.

Having high or low blood sugar levels could indicate an underlying health condition that may require medical attention. Use this overview of normal blood glucose levels to understand what your blood sugar levels mean. People without diabetes typically have between 72-140 milligrams of glucose per 1 deciliter of blood.

The following chart outlines normal blood sugar ranges for people with and without diabetes, depending on the time of day:

Time of day

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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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A Low Blood Sugar Level Without Diabetes

Diabetes man at home checking their blood sugar with diabetic blood ...

A low blood sugar level is uncommon in people who do not have diabetes.

Possible causes include:

  • a gastric bypass
  • other medical conditions, such as problems with your hormone levels, pancreas, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands or heart
  • some medicines, including quinine

See a GP if you think you keep getting symptoms of a low blood sugar level. They can arrange some simple tests to check if your blood sugar level is low and try to find out whats causing it.

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What Is The Best Way To Monitor Blood Sugar At Home

A blood glucose monitor is the bestand onlyway to track your blood sugar from virtually anywhere on a daily basis. Blood glucose monitors allow you to test your blood at home or on the go, and theyre an important and helpful tool for managing your diabetes. The two types of monitors used to check blood sugar are blood glucose meters and continuous glucose monitors.

Ways To Test Your Blood Sugar

Traditional home glucose monitoring

You prick your finger with a small, sharp needle called a lancet, put a drop of blood on a test strip, and then place the strip into a meter that displays your blood sugar levels. Record the test results so you can share them with your doctor. Based on your results, the two of you may adjust your diet, exercise, or medication.

Meters vary in features, portability, speed, size, cost, and readability . Devices deliver results in less than 15 seconds and store this information for future use.

Some meters also calculate an average blood sugar level over a span of time. Some also feature software kits that take information from the meter and display graphs and charts of your past test results. Blood sugar meters and strips are available at your local pharmacy.

Meters that test other parts of your body

Some devices let you test your upper arm, forearm, base of the thumb, and thigh.

These results may differ from the blood sugar levels gotten from a fingertip stick. Levels in the fingertips show changes more quickly. This is especially true when your sugar is changing fast, like after a meal or after exercise.

If you have symptoms of low blood sugar, donât rely on test results from other parts of your body.

Continuous glucose monitoring system

You’ll still need to check your levels throughout the day continuous glucose monitoring doesn’t replace that. It gives your doctor more information about trends that self-checking might not show.

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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.

Normal Blood Sugar Levels For Adults With Diabetes

How to check your blood sugar glucose at home. OneTouch Verio Flex kit.

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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How To Naturally Lower Blood Sugar With Diabetes

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How To Test Your Blood Sugar

This article was medically reviewed by Erik Kramer, DO, MPH. Dr. Erik Kramer is a Primary Care Physician at the University of Colorado, specializing in internal medicine, diabetes, and weight management. He received his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. Dr. Kramer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is board certified.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 44,675 times.

If you were recently diagnosed with diabetes or have another blood glucose control issue, you will likely have to test your blood sugar on a routine basis. This may seem difficult to do at first. However, regularly checking your blood sugar can help you monitor how well your medications or treatments are working, and is an important part of a diabetic care routine. Testing your blood sugar is an easy procedure at your doctor’s office, and can be done simply at home once you purchase a glucose meter and become comfortable with how to use it.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source

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How often should my blood sugar be measured?

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When Does A Person Need To Have Their Blood Glucose Measured With This Test

Prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes often have no symptoms at first. A person can have the condition and not know it. Healthcare providers usually order a fasting blood sugar test:

  • As part of a standard annual physical examination to monitor a persons blood glucose over time.
  • For pregnant women to ensure that pregnancy hormones are not causing diabetes.
  • When a person has symptoms of diabetes, a family history of diabetes or risk factors for diabetes .
  • When a person has had a previous blood glucose level that was higher than normal.

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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 Affects Your Results

How to Test Your Blood Sugar At Home

If you have certain conditions, like anemia or gout, or if it’s hot or humid or you’re at a high altitude, that can affect your blood sugar levels.

If you keep seeing unusual results, recalibrate your meter and check the test strips.

The chart below gives you an idea of where your blood sugar level should be throughout the day. Your ideal blood sugar range may be different from another person’s and will change throughout the day.

Time of Test

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