The Right Way To Monitor Blood Sugar
You can lead a healthier life when you monitor blood sugar regularly and correctly. Here’s how.
People with diabetes must monitor blood sugar, also called blood glucose, to better manage their condition. Checking blood sugar periodically throughout the day can provide a picture of the effects that food, stress, medicines, and activity level have on blood glucose levels. With this information, a person with diabetes can stay healthier. Good blood sugar control can delay or even prevent serious complications of diabetes such as kidney failure and the consequences of nerve damage that can ultimately lead to amputation.
When you monitor blood sugar levels, you learn what the normal range of blood glucose is for you, and how far below or above that level you are. Your blood sugar level will give you an idea of how well your treatment plan is working.
How often you need to monitor blood sugar varies from individual to individual and should be guided by your doctors advice. For example, many people who take insulin need to test blood sugar three or four times per day, while other treatment regimens demand less frequent monitoring. When you are ill or keeping an irregular schedule, you may need to test more frequently.
The ultimate goal when you monitor blood sugar is to hit your ideal blood glucose target level, which your doctor will determine for you. If your blood glucose readings are not ideal, you may need to alter your medication dosage and diet.
Here are the steps to take:
Blood Sugar Levels Chart & Ranges
With the help of modern medicine and newly introduced at home treatments, common medical concerns such as blood sugar levels are now easier to manage than ever. The access to at home treatment and available sources has increased the ability to self-medicate and regularly check in with your health yourself.
There is still heightened concern for blood sugar levels due to the increase and ease of processed food and alcohol access across the world. But, with the right measures and plan, everyone can help avoid their blood sugar level from becoming abnormal.
According to the World Health Organisation , over 1.6 million deaths per year in America are due to diabetes. Fortunately, this figure can be decreased with the help of treatment and easy to manage at home testings.
Today, we will be discussing the top treatment methods, teaching you about blood sugar levels and how to manage them:
Are Some Canadians At Higher Risk For Elevated Blood Sugar Levels Than Others
You may have a higher risk for elevated blood sugars and type 2 diabetes if you:
- Are 40 or years of age or older
- Have a close relative with diabetes
- Are of African, Arab, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous or South Asian descent
- Are overweight
- Have been diagnosed with prediabetes
Some medical conditions can also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, such as:
- High blood pressure or cholesterol levels
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Psychiatric disorders
- Sleep apnea
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Learn More About Treatment Approaches> >
Large studies of people with Type 2 diabetes have shown that only about 30% of people taking two oral medicines have an HbA1c level of less than 7% after three years. Insulin is usually recommended as the initial therapy for diabetes if a persons HbA1c level at diagnosis is greater than 10% or if someones fasting blood glucose level is consistently above 250 mg/dl.
Studies have shown that many doctors wait until someones HbA1c level is higher than 9% to start insulin therapy, which often results in months or years of high blood glucose and an increased risk of developing complications later on. One unfortunate reality is that many busy medical practices are not set up to address the needs of people who take insulin. Starting insulin requires education and easy access to health-care providers who are knowledgeable about insulin therapy, including diabetes nurse educators, pharmacists, and doctors.
Symptoms Signs Causes Of Levels Of High Blood Sugar In The Blood
High blood sugar or hyperglycemia is an abnormally high blood sugar level in the blood. Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes and prediabetes.
Signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia include blurred vision, headaches, hunger, and …
The normal ranges for blood sugar levels in adults who do not have diabetes before eating or fasting the range begins at 72-99mg/dL while fasting ranges for those being treated for type 1 or type 2 diabetes range from 80 -130 mg/dL. According to the American Diabetes Association normal blood sugar levels before and after eating should be 80-130 mg/dL before eating a meal , and less than 180 mg/dL about 1-2 hours after eating a meal
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Blood Sugar Levels For Adults With Diabetes
Each time you test your blood sugar, log it in a notebook or online tool or with an app. Note the date, time, results, and any recent activities: What medication and dosage you took What you ate How much and what kind of exercise you were doing That will help you and your doctor see how your treatment is working. Well-managed diabetes can delay or prevent complications that affect your eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes doubles your risk for heart disease and stroke, too. Fortunately, controlling your blood sugar will also make these problems less likely. Tight blood sugar control, however, means a greater chance of low blood sugar levels, so your doctor may suggest higher targets.Continue reading > >
High Blood Sugar: Hidden Dangers
In the short term, high blood sugar levels can zap your energy, cause excessive thirst and urination, and blur your vision. High blood sugar levels can also lead to dehydration, dry and itchy skin, and infections. Minimizing the time spent above your target blood sugar range can help you feel your best and will help prevent complications and injury to your body.
Over time, high blood sugar affects many parts of the body. Chronic high blood sugar can start to cause noticeable changes, including:
- Memory problems
- Vision problems like blurriness, diabetic retinopathy, and blindness
- Gum disease that leads to tooth loss, which can make eating healthy foods difficult due to problems chewing
- Heart attack and stroke due to increased plaque build-up in the vessels and other vascular issues
- Kidney disease, which can lead to the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant
- Nerve damage that can cause decreased sensation in the feet and legs which increases the risk for wounds to turn into serious infections and even amputation
Nerve damage from high blood sugar can also cause a variety of symptoms including:
- Pain and tingling in the feet and hands
- Difficulty emptying your bladder
- Problems during the digestion process after eating, which can cause food to sit in the stomach too long and lead to nausea, vomiting, and erratic blood sugar levels
Checking your blood sugar frequently and taking immediate action when it is above range can reduce your risk of complications.
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How To Prevent High Blood Sugar
The best way to treat high blood sugar is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Not only does this help to avoid a potential emergency, but it also reduces the likelihood of experiencing diabetic complications. Patients with diabetes can prevent high blood sugar by taking some of the following measures:
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How Are Ketones Tested
Testing your blood or urine to measure your ketone levels can all be done at home. At-home testing kits are available for both types of tests, although urine testing continues to be more common. Urine tests are available without a prescription at most drugstores, or you can buy them online.
You should test your urine or blood for ketones when any of the following occurs:
- Your blood sugar is higher than 240 mg/dL.
- You have symptoms of DKA.
- You feel sick or nauseated, regardless of your blood sugar reading.
To perform a urine test, you urinate into a clean container and dip the test strip into the urine. For a child who isnt potty-trained, a parent can usually press the stick to their childs wet diaper to test for ketones.
Urine testing strips contain special chemicals that change colors when they react with ketones. You can interpret the test results by comparing the test strip to the color chart on the package. When you have ketones present in your urine, its called ketonuria.
An at-home meter is available to test for blood ketones. This is performed in a similar way to a finger-stick glucose test. You prick your finger with a needle and place a small drop of blood onto the testing area.
Doctors often recommend that people whove just received a diabetes diagnosis test their ketones twice daily.
While individual testing may vary, in general, results for ketone testing are labeled in the following way:
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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.
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.
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Different Levels And What They Mean
The ranges of safe levels of blood glucose depend on factors such as what time of day it is and when you last ate. Safe levels of blood sugar are high enough to supply your organs with the sugar they need, but low enough to prevent symptoms of hyperglycemia or complications of diabetes which follow the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases guides. Dangerous levels of blood glucose are outside of this range.
The target levels can also vary if you have diabetes. For example, if you are diabetic and are monitoring your blood sugar, you might get a reading of 65 mg/dl. That is considered to be mild hypoglycemia, and you would be wise to eat 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and retest your blood sugar in 15 minutes.
If you were not diabetic, you probably would not know that your sugar was low because you would not test and because you would not symptoms, and you would not act.
That is fine because your body is capable, under normal circumstances, of raising your blood glucose to healthy levels when needed, even if you have not eaten. It is important to keep them in control to help prevent issues like heart disease or nerve damage.
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Are Low Blood Sugar Levels Dangerous
Yes, low blood sugar symptoms can cause problems such as hunger, nervousness, perspiration, dizziness and even confusion if untreated, low blood sugar may result in unconsciousness, seizures, coma, or death. Low blood sugar levels begin at 70 mg/dL or less. People with diabetes who take too much medication or take their usual amount but then eat less or exercise more than usual can develop hypoglycemia. Although much rarer, hypoglycemia may develop in some people without diabetes when they take someone elses medication, have excessive alcohol consumption, develop severe hepatitis, or develop a rare tumor of the pancreas . The treatment for hypoglycemia is oral glucose intake (15. 0 grams of sugar, for example, 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, corn syrup, or IV fluids containing glucose. Recheck your blood sugar levels in about 15 minutes after treatment is advised.
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How Do Carbs Affect Blood Sugar
Carbs in food make your blood sugar levels go higher after you eat them than when you eat proteins or fats. You can still eat carbs if you have diabetes. The amount you can have and stay in your target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors. Counting carbs in foods and drinks is an important tool for managing blood sugar levels. Make sure to talk to your health care team about the best carb goals for you.
Factors That Can Affect Blood Sugar Levels
If you have prediabetes or diabetes, you may have insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. This means your body has difficulty regulating blood sugar levels on its own.
Its a delicate balance to maintain, so the following list can help you familiarize yourself with factors that can cause your blood glucose levels to go up or down.
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What Is Considered A Normal Blood Sugar Level
The normal blood sugar level for a healthy, non-diabetic adult is determined by when and how blood sugar levels are tested.
The below information describes what normal blood sugar levels are prior to and after meals and what the recommended HbA1c and Haemoglobin A1c levels are for those with and without diabetes.
If you are diabetic, it is advisable to consult with your doctor in order for appropriate blood sugar level targets to be set based on your age, the severity of your condition, medications taken and overall health status.
Best Times Of Day To Check Your Blood Sugar
Your blood sugar can change constantly throughout the day. Checking your blood sugar with test-strips or an FBGM several times throughout the day is just as important as taking your medications.
For example, checking your blood sugar before breakfast tells you how well your body is managing during the 8 hours you were asleep, but it doesnt tell you how well your body handles meals.
Here, well look at the best times to check your blood sugar for the most information about your diabetes management!
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Diagnosing Prediabetes Type 2 And Type 1 Diabetes
Depending on which country or medical organization you ask, the qualifying numbers for normal versus prediabetes versus diagnosed type 1 or type 2 diabetes can vary slightly. The following blood sugar and A1c the general results are used to diagnosed prediabetes and diabetes according to sources including the American Diabetes Association and Diabetes UK:
- HbA1c: 5.7 to 6.4 percent
- Fasting: 100 to 125 mg/dL
- 2 hours after a meal: 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL
Type 1 or 2 diabetes
- HbA1c: 6.5 percent or higher
- Fasting: 126 mg/dL or higher
- 2 hours after a meal: 200 mg/dL or higher
Please note: Type 1 diabetes tends to develop very quickly which means that by the time symptoms are felt, blood sugar levels are generally well above 200 mg/dL all the time. For many, symptoms come on so quickly they are dismissed as the lingering flu or another seemingly ordinary virus.
By the time blood sugar levels are tested, many newly diagnosed type 1 patients will see levels above 400 mg/dL or higher. If you do suspect that you or a loved-one has type 1 diabetes, visit your primary care or urgent care immediately and ask for a urine test to measure ketones in addition to testing blood sugar levels and A1c.
Read more about ketones at diagnosis in Diabetes StrongsDiabetic Ketoacidosis Guide.