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.
Who Should Use A Glucometer
If you have type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, latent autoimmune diabetes in adults , or were diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy, a major part of your treatment plan should be regularly testing your blood glucose levels with a glucometer.
Frequent glucometer use can help you:
- Check how controlled your blood sugar is and whether it’s high or low
- Recognize patterns when you’re more likely to have a spike or crash in glucose
- See how your glucose levels respond after exercise or in times of stress
- Monitor the effects of diabetes medications and other therapies
- Assess how well you’re meeting specific treatment goals
When Should I Check My Blood Sugar More Frequently
- If your diabetes medicine changes
- If you begin taking other kinds of medicines
- If you change your diet
- If your exercise routine or activity level changes
- If your stress level increases
- If youre sick. When you are sick, even without eating, your sugar levels may run high, so testing is important.
Follow your doctors testing recommendations during this time. Continue testing more often until you have maintained your blood sugar goal values for at least 1 week. Or continue testing until your doctor advises you that more frequent testing is no longer necessary.
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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 before, during, or after exercising can happen, too, although its less common. 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.
Why It Is Done
A home blood glucose test is an accurate way to measure your blood sugar level at the time of testing. If you have diabetes, testing your blood glucose levels at home provides information about:
- Your blood sugar level. It is important to know when your blood sugar is high or low, to prevent emergency situations from developing. It is also important to treat consistently high blood sugar levels so you can decrease your chances of developing heart, blood vessel, and nerve complications from diabetes.
- How much insulin to take before each meal. If you take rapid-acting or short-acting insulin before meals, the blood sugar test results can help you determine how much insulin to take before each meal. If your blood sugar level is high, you may need extra insulin. If your blood sugar level is low, you may need to eat before you take any insulin.
- How exercise, diet, stress, and being ill affect your blood sugar levels. Testing your blood sugar can help you learn how your body responds to these things. Where possible, you can adjust your lifestyle to improve your blood sugar level.
Home blood sugar testing also may be used to:
- Test blood sugar levels in people who have symptoms of high blood sugar or low blood sugar .
Check Your Blood Sugar If:
- You have symptoms of low blood sugar . This includes dizziness, shaking, sweating, chills, and confusion.
- You have symptoms of high blood sugar , which include sleepiness, blurry vision, frequent urination, and excessive thirst.
- You have a job in which poor blood sugar control could cause safety problems.
- You need help deciding if its safe to drive or perform other tasks that require concentration if you are taking insulin or have had hypoglycemia in the past.
You need to learn how meals, physical activity, and medicine affect your blood sugar level.
Restrain Your Pet Gently
This process necessitates that the pet remains calm and still for several minutes. The pet should be reasonably uninhibited. If you induce excessive stress to your pet while restraining it, you may not obtain an accurate blood pressure reading. This is especially true for cats, as their blood pressure can swiftly rise due to stress.
Of course, some struggling may occur, but if the pet becomes too anxious, you should would wait 15-30 minutes and attempt againrequest instruction from your veterinarian on how to properly restrain your pet. NEVER USE OVERWHELMING FORCE.
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Are Home A1c Test Kits Accurate
Most home A1C kits are considered to be as accurate as lab A1C tests. The results are accurate within plus/minus 0.5 percentage points, which is about the same as most lab results.
To ensure accuracy, look for products that are NGSP-certified and/or have FDA-clearance or CE-mark. All the products mentioned in this article are NGSP-certified.
When I tried the A1CNow SelfCheck at home , the A1C results came back with exactly the same result as the A1C lab test I had done a few days earlier .
What Is A Blood Glucose Test
Blood Glucose testing is an important part of diabetes care. Blood glucose monitoring is the regular check of blood glucose level. The implementation of blood glucose monitoring can better control the blood glucose changes of diabetic patients, and has important guiding significance for life rules, activities, exercise, diet and rational use of drugs, and can help patients find problems at any time and seek medical treatment in time.
If you have diabetes, self-testing your blood sugar can be an important tool in managing your diabetes and preventing complications. You can test your blood sugar at home with a portable electronic device called a blood sugar meter using a small drop of your blood. You can also use a device called a continuous glucose monitor .
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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.
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
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How To Use A Blood Glucose Meter:
- After washing your hands, insert a test strip into your meter.
- Use your lancing device on the side of your fingertip to get a drop of blood.
- Touch and hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood and wait for the result.
- Your blood glucose level will appear on the meter’s display.
Note: All meters are slightly different, so always refer to your user’s manual for specific instructions.
What Is Hba1c Do I Need To Monitor My Hba1c Too
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:
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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Common Problems To Avoid
It’s important to regularly maintain your glucose meter to avoid potential problems. Follow these tips to ensure good functioning:
- Make sure you keep batteries in stock that fit your glucometer.
- Make sure your test strips are not expired, as expired test strips can provide an inaccurate result.
- After taking a test strip out, close the lid tightly. Too much light or moisture can damage the strip.
- Clean your device at regular intervals and run quality-control checks when prompted.
When Should You Test Your Blood Sugar
It depends on which type of diabetes you have:
- Type 1 diabetes. Itâs up to your doctor. They could suggest you test anywhere between four and 10 times a day. For example, you could test before meals and snacks, before and after exercise, before bed, and even during the night. You may also need to check more often if youâre sick, making changes to your daily routine, or starting a new medication.
- Type 2 diabetes. It depends on what you take to treat your diabetes:
- Insulin. The doctor may tell you to test a few times a day, depending on the type and amount of insulin you use. Youâll probably test before meals and at bedtime if you’re taking multiple daily injections. You may need to test only twice daily, before breakfast and dinner, if you only use a long-acting insulin.
- Medications. If you use drugs to manage diabetes, your doctor will tell you how often to check your blood sugar.
- Lifestyle changes. If youâre relying on diet and exercise, you may not need to test your blood sugar daily.
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How Do I Keep Track
Even though blood glucose meters can help you track your blood sugar test results, it’s still a good idea to write down the results. This makes it easier for you and your diabetes health care team to see patterns and trends in your blood sugar levels.
Writing down all your results in a log book or journal can help. You can also download special programs that allow you to track your blood sugar readings on your phone or computer. You might need to record other information too, such as what you were eating or how active you were. This information will help you learn more about how certain situations like eating or exercising affect your diabetes control.
The more information you, your parents, and your diabetes health team have, the easier it is to keep your blood sugar levels on the right track.
What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be
The paragraph below gives you an idea of what your blood sugar levels should be. Blood sugar ranges might be different for each person and can change throughout the day. Your health care provider will tell you what range is good for you. Call your health care provider if one of the following applies:
- Your blood sugar test results are higher than usual for more than two days for an unknown reason.
- Your blood sugar level is low more than 2 times a week.
Recommended blood glucose range for people with diabetes
Time of test goal
- Two hours after meal starts: < 180 mg/dl
- Before bedtime snack: 100-150 mg/dl
American Diabetes Association, 2009
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How The Test Is Done
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.
Choosing A Blood Glucose Monitor
A blood glucose monitor, testing strips, and a lancet to draw the blood are all necessary for testing. Some testing kits offer all three, while others require separate purchases for each piece.
People with diabetes use many testing strips, and so it may be wise to carefully consider the cost of the testing strips as well as the monitor.
Some other tips for buying a monitor include:
- Select one with automatic coding to avoid the need to code in results with every test.
- Check insurance plans to see if an insurer only covers certain monitors.
- Look at whether the unit stores previous data.
- Consider portability, since larger units can be difficult to carry around.
- Think about blood sample size, particularly for people who do not like pricking themselves.
Monitors that require a smaller blood sample may be more comfortable as the depth of the lancet can be less.
Many people with diabetes have no signs of the disease at all. However, the lack of symptoms does not necessarily mean the absence of diabetes.
When symptoms occur, many of the effects of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the same since both affect blood sugar regulation in the body. Symptoms include:
- increased hunger and thirst
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Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Level
Last Updated February 2021 | This article was created by familydoctor.org editorial staff and reviewed by Robert “Chuck” Rich, Jr., MD, FAAFP
If you have diabetes, its important to monitor your blood sugar at different times of the day and throughout the year. There are 3 tools that can help you do this and, therefore, manage your diabetes: A blood test done every three months, blood tests taken every day, and a system that constantly monitors your blood glucose.
The 3-month blood test is called an A1C test. This test reflects your blood sugar control over the past 2-3 months. Testing your A1C level every 3 months is the best way for you and your doctor to understand how well your blood sugar levels are controlled. Your doctor will likely be the one who orders an A1C test. However, you can also purchase over-the-counter A1C testing kits that you can use at home. Your A1C goal will be determined by your doctor. However, the goal is generally less than 7% or 8%, depending on your age.
The daily blood test is done with a blood glucose monitor . This is also called a home blood sugar meter, a glucometer, or a glucose meter. This type of testing is often referred to as self-monitoring of blood glucose. Your doctor may prescribe a BGM, especially if your blood sugar fluctuates. They will show you how to use it.