What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Continuous glucose monitoring automatically tracks blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar, throughout the day and night. You can see your glucose level anytime at a glance. You can also review how your glucose changes over a few hours or days to see trends. Seeing glucose levels in real time can help you make more informed decisions throughout the day about how to balance your food, physical activity, and medicines.
Healthhow Diet Shakes And Dropping Sodas Reversed Diabetes
Half of the patients taking unnecessary blood sugar tests at home took these tests at least twice a day, and half of them had testing supply costs of at least $325 a year, the study said.
The study wasnt a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how home testing directly affected blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
And some patients might still need to test at home, even if they dont need to do this multiple times daily, said Sheri Colberg, a professor emerita at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, who has studied and treated people with diabetes.
Even if checking routinely may not change outcomes like overall blood glucose management, the benefit of having glucose testing strips available is that individuals â even non-insulin users â are then able to check their blood glucose when their usual routines vary, during times of illness, or whenever other events may negatively impact their blood glucose, Colberg, who wasnt involved in the study, said by email.
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms.
When too many ketones are produced too fast, they can build up in your body and cause diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA is very serious and can cause a coma or even death. Common symptoms of DKA include:
- Fast, deep breathing.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Stomach pain.
If you think you may have DKA, test your urine for ketones. Follow the test kit directions, checking the color of the test strip against the color chart in the kit to see your ketone level. If your ketones are high, . DKA requires treatment in a hospital.
DKA happens most in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign of type 1 in people who havent yet been diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but its less common.
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Creating A Blood Sugar Testing Schedule
2-3 Hours after the Meal
4-5 Hours after the Workout
1-2 Hours after the Main Meal
There should be a clear blood sugar testing schedule. It will help you stay organized with your procedures. And following a plan will make it easier to adjust the doses to feel better in the long run. The plan should be based on your health condition and the recommendations from the doctor.
Your blood sugar, or glucose, level is found in your blood and serves as your main source of energy. During digestion, carbohydrates, which are sugars, starches, and fiber, are changed into glucose. Your body then uses this as energy, or stores whatever isnât used in your cells for later use.
Your blood sugar is influenced by the food you eat, your age, stress, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol use. It is also impacted by heart issues or diabetes, a group of conditions where too much glucose builds up in the bloodstream.
Danie Drankwalter / Verywell
This article explores the range of glucose levels an individual may experience after eating. It will also cover how different types of food impact blood sugar, as well as how to manage glucose levels.
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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Whats A Blood Glucose Meter
A blood glucose meter is a small, portable machine that measures the amount of glucose in the blood. You place a drop of blood taken from a fingerstick and put it on a test strip, which you insert into the meter. The meter tells your childs blood sugar now, as you do the test.
Many types of meters are available. The care team will help you find the meter that is best for your child, and theyll show you how to use it. Blood glucose meters vary by:
- Cost. Ask your insurance company which blood glucose meters they cover. Its also good to ask about your coverage for test strips.
- User-friendliness. Choose a meter that is easy to use and take care of.
- Special features. Meters come in different sizes. Some can store extra information like dates, times, food intake, and exercise. Others can download readings so your provider can easily see this information.
What Are The Recommended Targets For Blood Glucose Levels
Many people with diabetes aim to keep their blood glucose at these normal levels:
- Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL
- About 2 hours after a meal starts: less than 180 mg/dL
Talk with your health care team about the best target range for you. Be sure to tell your health care professional if your glucose levels often go above or below your target range.
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Which Is Right For You
Finding the best glucose monitoring system that is right for you is about finding the choice that best suits your needs. By considering the benefits and limitations between the different systems that are available in Canada, you can find a system that meets your individual requirements while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your diabetes care routine.
Our glucose monitoring comparison chart provides a summary of CGM, Flash glucose monitoring devices and test strips and meters.
How Do You Know What Your Blood Glucose Level Is
For the most part, you cant feel what your blood glucose level is unless its fairly high or its low. You may not even always have symptoms of either high or low blood glucose in fact, many people with type 2 diabetes dont have the usual symptoms of high blood glucose, and for this reason, its not uncommon for people to go undiagnosed for many years.
The best way to know your blood glucose level is to check it with a glucose meter. This means doing a fingerstick with a lancet and getting a drop of blood onto a test strip, then inserting the strip into the meter for a reading. Your doctor may be able to give you a meter free of charge, but youll likely need to pay for test strips and lancets. But check with your health plan, as there are likely one or two preferred meters that they want you to use.
Another way to know what your glucose levels are up to is to use a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, which reads glucose in the interstitial fluid about every 5 minutes. Continuous glucose monitoring is expensive and may or may not be covered by your health plan.
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Wheres The Health Benefit In This
Is there any evidence of benefit if people without diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels with CGMs? Theres little published research to help answer this question.
The best study I could find found nothing particularly surprising: among 153 people who didnt have diabetes, about 96% of the time blood sugar levels were normal or nearly so. In fact, many of the abnormal levels were considered implausible or a mistake. Another small study looked at sedentary individuals without diabetes who were overweight or obese. Participants completed a counseling session about the effects of physical activity on blood sugar and used a CGM device and an activity tracker for 10 days. Afterward, they reported feeling more motivated to exercise.
But I could find no published study suggesting that monitoring translates into improved health. Well, wait: one maker of a CGM device posted a study on its website reporting better blood sugar results among healthy people using their product. However, the study wasnt published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, it lacked details that would allow critical evaluation, and it examined what seem to be arbitrary ranges of blood sugar values, not actual health outcomes such as heart disease, nerve damage, or hospitalizations.
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.
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Tips To Make Glucose Monitoring Easier
Whether youre using a traditional finger-prick monitor or a CGM for your diabetes management, here are some tips to make checking your glucose easier:
- Always wash your hands with soap and water before checking your glucose for a more accurate result. Do not use hand sanitizer before doing finger sticks.
- If inserting a sensor into your skin for a CGM, be sure to wash the area of skin with soap and water and allow it to dry first.
- Change any sensors by the recommended manufacturer time for example, every 14 days for the FreeStyle Libre and every 10 days for the Dexcom G6.
- If using finger strips, you may experience less pain by using the side of your fingertip closer to your fingernail.
- Even if youre using a CGM, you may consider having a traditional meter on hand to double-check your glucose readings. This is in case you experience symptoms of high or low blood sugar despite a normal reading.
Using A Glucometer: Step
Glucometers only need a drop of blood. The meters are small enough to travel with or fit in a purse. You can use one anywhere.
Each device comes with an instruction manual. And typically, a healthcare provider will go over your new glucometer with you too. This may be an endocrinologist or a certified diabetic educator , a professional who can also help develop an individualized care plan, create meal plans, answer questions about managing your disease, and more.These are general instructions and may not be accurate for all glucometer models. For example, while the fingers are the most common sites to use, some glucometers allow you to use your thigh, forearm, or the fleshy part of your hand. Check your manual before using the device.
Verywell / Hugo Lin
Prepare what you need and wash up before drawing blood:
- Set out your supplies
- Wash your hands or clean them with the alcohol pad. This helps prevent infection and removes food residue that might alter your results.
- Allow the skin to dry completely. Moisture can dilute a blood sample taken from the finger. Don’t blow on your skin to dry it, as that can introduce germs.
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Types Of Diabetes And Their Major Causes
Diabetes is mainly of 3 types, type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes, and with all 3 types of diabetes, the body is either not able to produce enough insulin or unable to use the insulin that it makes, leading to high blood sugar levels.Type 1 Diabetes usually starts in childhood and carries on for life. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the patients pancreas stops making insulin. The causes of Type 1 Diabetes are:
- Family History and Genetics: A person having a close relative with Type 1 Diabetes usually has a high chance of getting the condition himself. So, it is imperative for every child with a parent or a sibling having Type 1 Diabetes to undergo a screening test for Type 1 Diabetes.
- Pancreatic Diseases: Persons with diseased pancreas may acquire Type 1 Diabetes because the pancreas may fail to produce insulin needed to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
- Infections or Illnesses that Cause Damage to the Pancreas: Viral infections such as German measles, mumps, and rotavirus may cause damage to the beta cells of the pancreas which produce insulin and lead to the development of Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body develops insulin resistance and is not able to make use of the insulin produced by the pancreas, leading to uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Type 2 Diabetes usually affects adults, but it can occur in individuals of any age. The main causes of Type 2 Diabetes include:
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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How Can I Treat Low Blood Sugar
If youve had low blood sugar without feeling or noticing symptoms , you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low and treat it. Driving with low blood sugar can be dangerous, so be sure to check your blood sugar before you get behind the wheel.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry or have other symptoms, check your blood sugar. Even if you dont have symptoms but think you may have low blood sugar, check it. If your blood sugar is lower than 70 mg/dL, do one of the following immediately:
- Take four glucose tablets.
- Drink four ounces of fruit juice.
- Drink four ounces of regular soda, not diet soda.
- Eat four pieces of hard candy.
Wait for 15 minutes and then check your blood sugar again. Do one of the above treatments again until your blood sugar is 70 mg/dL or above and eat a snack if your next meal is an hour or more away. If you have problems with low blood sugar, ask your doctor if your treatment plan needs to be changed.
New Day Time To Check
The best time to check blood sugar is in the morning, and in particular with morning blood sugar levels as it is a very important measurement for diabetics to evaluate each day. Although you shouldnt do it immediately after you wake up, but you do need to do it before you eat. The body needs some time get up to speed after it slows down while you sleep although it does come around quite quickly. 15 minutes should be fine for having you up to speed metabolically, so after that time check your blood sugar and then have breakfast.
Speaking of the most important meal of the day, there are options that can be better for people with diabetes. Even some of the foods that you might think are healthier choices are the types that can contribute to blood sugar levels being too high. Bran muffins are a great example. Theyre healthier for sure but a lot of the ingredients in the most delicious bran muffins molasses most notably can really spike morning blood sugar levels. Eating foods with these types of ingredients means it is recommended to cut back on carbs to compensate along with what is the best time to check blood sugar.
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Can I Check My Own Blood Sugar
You can do blood sugar level check by doing a finger-prick test, or by using an electronic blood sugar monitor called a flash glucose monitor or CGM. 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
A1c Goals Should Be Individualized
A1c goals should be individualized based on the individual capabilities, risks, and prior experiences, explains Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, founder of Integrated Diabetes, and author of Think Like a Pancreas.
For example, we generally aim for very tight A1c levels during pregnancy and more conservative targets in young children and the elderly.
However, Scheiner highlights important factors that could justify aiming for a higher A1c, like hypoglycemia unawareness, which is described as when a person with diabetes no longer feels the oncoming warning signs of low blood sugar. This can put you at significant risk for severe low blood sugars resulting seizures or death. To reduce that risk, you would aim for higher target blood sugar ranges.
Someone with significant hypoglycemia unawareness and a history of severe lows should target higher blood glucose levels than someone who can detect and manage their lows more effectively, adds Scheiner. And certainly, someone who has been running A1cs in double digits for quite some time should not be targeting an A1c of 6% better to set modest, realistic, achievable goals.
Learn how to lower your A1c in DiabetesStrongsA1C Guide.
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