How To Check Your Own Blood Sugar Level
One way to check ones own sugar level is by pricking a finger with a lancet and placing the blood that comes out onto a test strip, then inserting the strip into a glucose monitor. A meter can tell you what your levels are in about 5 seconds. Another option is by taking an oral glucose tolerance test , which takes longer but may also provide more accurate results. A persons individual level will depend on many factors including how old they are, their ethnicity, their weight and height, and the activity theyve performed recently. Blood sugar levels can be checked by pricking a finger to get a drop of blood and putting it on a glucose meter.
Blood Sugar Levels After Eating
Blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day, but the biggest changes happen around mealtimes. Before eating, a healthy sugar level is between 3.9-5.5mmol/L. Around 1-2 hours after eating, expect blood sugar to rise to 5-10mmol/L.
If your blood sugar doesn’t stick within these ranges, the body may have stopped regulating blood sugar effectively which can lead to prediabetes and diabetes.
Can I Check My Own Blood Sugar
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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Are There Different Recommendations For Blood Sugar Levels In Other Countries
The recommended blood sugar level ranges in countries around the world are very similar. However, there are two different units of measurement that are used when referring to blood sugars, depending on where you live: millimoles per litre and milligrams per decilitre .
The mmol/L measurement is used here in Canada, as well as England, Australia and China, while mg/dL is used in such countries as the United States, France, Japan, Israel and India.
To convert mmol/L to mg/dl, simply multiply by 18. For example, a blood sugar level of 5.0 mmol/L would mean a level of 90 mg/dL .
Here are blood sugar recommendations from some countries other than Canada:
|80 to 130 mg/dL||Less than 180 mg/dL|
Tips For Tracking Your Blood Sugar Patterns And Using Your Results
Here are some great tips:
Have a blood sugar chart on your phone or a written notebook nearby to compare your numbers
For my patients during the class entitled, Monitoring your Blood Glucose, I pass out individual notebooks, and packs of different colored highlighter pens for pattern management. Inside, there are copies of an enhanced blood sugar log.
Patients log their blood sugars at different times of the day, and color-code them with highlighters. This helps patients to pick out their blood sugar patterns, and to do different things to adjust their blood sugars to get them in a target range.
Patients may either take a walk following a high carbohydrate meal, take more insulin if they are correcting blood sugar with insulin, decrease the amount of carbohydrates at the next meal, etc. By seeing what their blood sugars are at different times of the day, they can work their blood sugars into their target ranges. Once blood sugars are in the target range, their A1C should also be on target.
I have included a copy of the enhanced blood sugar log that I use to make a pattern notebook for my patients. Readers here at TheDiabetesCouncil are welcome to copy the form for their own use in self-managing their diabetes. You can also download our comprehensive log book here.
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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.
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.
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Is Diabetes Diagnosed The Same Way In Every Country
There are four methods of diagnosing diabetes, which are used around the world. They are:
Easy Before Bed Routines For People With Diabetes
You might be surprised to learn what your blood sugar should be at bedtime. The range is usually 5.0-8.3 mmol/L , and its important to check what yours is before going to bed. Checking your blood sugar before you go to sleep will give you information about what caused any spikes or dips in the day that you might not have noticed. For instance, if your nighttime reading were high, this would tell us that something may have happened during the day that could affect your diabetes management plan.
Creating a bed routine can also be helpful if your blood sugar at bedtime is higher than what youd like it to be. For instance, rather than eating or drinking anything sweet before bedtime and then checking how what should happen next for diabetes management will depend on what the readings are in the morning, try adding this into a routine:
- Always check your bloog glucose levels with a glucose meter or your CGM
- Eat dinner earlier in the evening
- Don’t drink sugar-sweetened beverages before bedtime
- Eating a nitrile snack before bed helps maintain your blood sugar normal and prevents your liver from releasing excess glucose
- Limit alcoholic beverages to the extent they disturb sleep
- Too close to bed exercises often can cause poor sleeping habits
- Avoid eating caffeine within several hours of going to bed
- Take medicine if needed to lower your blood sugar levels, but dont take too much insulin so you wont have a low reading in the morning.
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Blood Sugar Levels: What’s Normal What’s Not And How To Measure
What do blood glucose levels mean and what range is healthy? Here’s what you need to know.
Sugar can lead to high blood sugar and contributes to the development of diabetes.
We all want to keep track of our health in every way we can — you may weigh yourself, keep track of your blood pressure or monitor your resting heart rate. But how close of an eye do you keep on your blood sugar?
People with diabetes are all too familiar with their blood sugar levels, but the rest of us might not even think about it much. However, consistently high blood sugar levels can coexist with Type 2 diabetes and cause serious health conditions like kidney disease, nerve problems or stroke.
While that’s no reason to panic, when it comes to our health, it’s important to know exactly what’s going on inside of our bodies. Without further ado, let’s get into what blood sugar means, how to measure it and everything else you need to know.
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Low Blood Sugar Chart And Action Plan
Low blood sugar is also called hypoglycemia. The numbers below represent values in the hypoglycemic range and require action to bring blood sugar levels up into a normal range.
|Alert Level and Treatment Plan|
|50 mg/dL or under||Red Flag: Blood sugar is critically low and requires immediate treatment.
If a person is unable to speak and/or is not alert, treat with glucagon via injection or nasal spray. Call emergency medical response if necessary. Do not place food or drink into the mouth.
If a person is alert and able to speak clearly, treat with 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate such as glucose gel, 4 oz regular soda, or fruit juice. Re-test blood sugar in 15 minutes and repeat as needed to bring blood sugar within range.
|51-70 mg/dL||Red Flag: Blood sugar is below normal levels and requires immediate treatment.
Treat with 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate and re-test in 15 minutes. Repeat treatment as needed to bring blood sugar within range.
|71-90 mg/dL||Yellow Flag: Blood sugar levels should be watched and treated as needed.
If youre having symptoms of low blood sugar, treat with 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate and re-test in 15 minutes.
Repeat treatment or follow with a meal. If it is meal time, move forward with eating the meal. People often fall into this range when they are late for a meal or have been especially active.
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Why Your A1c Matters
In a nutshell: your A1c is one of the clearest indicators of your risk for developing diabetes complications like neuropathy , retinopathy , nephropathy , and severe infection in any part of your body that requires healing.
For instance, a small cut on your toe could become infected due to high blood sugars, struggle to heal, and become severe enough that the infection could lead to an amputation.
The general guidelines from the American Diabetes Association recommend an A1c at or below 7.0 percent for the best prevention of diabetes complications. Your risk of developing a diabetes complication continues to drop as your A1c drops closer to 6 percent.
Some people with diabetes aim for A1c levels in the 5s and lower especially those who follow strict low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet and the Bernstein diet. However, this hasnt been proven in research as especially necessary, nor is it reasonably achievable for the larger population of people with diabetes.
Its also important to remember that your blood sugar levels and your A1c are just information that tells you whether your body needs more or less of factors like insulin, other diabetes medications, changes in your nutrition, and changes in your exercise.
If you dont like the number youre seeing on your glucose meter or your A1c results, use that number as motivation to make changes in how you safely manage your diabetes in order to get different results.
How Food Affects Blood Sugar
When you eat food, your body breaks it down into essential parts:
- Vitamins and minerals
All parts are necessary in a healthy diet, but the three types of carbohydrates are particularly important when it comes to your blood glucose level. While the general rule is that the more carbohydrates you eat, the higher your blood sugar level, not all three types of carbohydrates convert to blood sugar at the same rate.
The foods that fit into each carb category include:
- Starches, or complex carbohydrates: Starchy vegetables, dried beans, and grains
- Sugars: Fruits, baked goods, beverages, and processed food items like cereals or granola bars
- Fiber: Whole wheat products, chickpeas, lentils, berries, pears, and brussels sprouts
The glycemic index helps you find out which foods can increase or help decrease blood sugar levels. Based on a scale ranging from 0 to 100, high-indexed foods are rapidly digested, absorbed, and metabolized, resulting in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels, while low-indexed foods produce smaller fluctuations in your blood glucose.
The American Diabetes Association advises adding lean sources of protein and heart-healthy fats to help reduce the overall glycemic impact of a meal or snack.
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What Is Low Blood Sugar
Hypoglycaemia is a condition wherein blood sugar levels are too low. This condition affects a number of diabetic people when their bodies do not have enough glucose to use as energy. Hypoglycaemia is commonly the result of taking too much of the medication/s prescribed to treat diabetes, eating less than expected, exercising more than normal or skipping meals.
Some of the symptoms of hypoglycaemia include:
- A pale face
Cgm Studies In Nondiabetic Individuals
One study from 2009 entitled Reference Values for Continuous Glucose Monitoring in Chinese Subjects looked at the glucose levels of 434 healthy adults using CGM and found the following:
- On average, their daily glucose levels stayed between 70140 mg/dl for 93% of the day, with very small portions of the day spent above 140 mg/dl or below 70 mg/dl.
- Also, their mean 24-hour glucose levels were around 104 mg/dl
- 1-hour post-meal glucose values average 121-123 mg/dl for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- 3-hour post-meal glucose values were around 97-114 mg/dl.
- Peak post-meal values appeared to be around 60 minutes after eating.
- Mean fasting glucose was 86 ± 7 mg/dl.
- Mean daytime glucose was 106 ± 11 mg/dl.
- Mean nighttime glucose was 99 ± 11 mg/dl.
A 2010 study, Variation of Interstitial Glucose Measurements Assessed by Continuous Glucose Monitors in Healthy, Nondiabetic Individuals, looked at a healthy population of 74 individuals that included children, adolescents, and adults during daily living using CGM. This research showed that:
- Glucose levels stayed between 71-120 mg/dl for 91% of the day.
- Levels were lower than 70 mg/dl for 1.7% of the time and greater than 140 mg/dl, only 0.4% of the time.
- Mean 24-hour glucose was 98 ± 10 mg/dl.
- Mean fasting glucose of 86 ± 8 mg/dl.
Compared to the first study mentioned, these healthy, nondiabetic individuals appeared to have a tighter range of glucose, spending the vast majority of the 24-hour period between 71-120 mg/dl.
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Make A Note Of Your Readings
It may sound obvious, but you must record your readings. Note them down in a diary, a notebook or in your phone calendar. Some meters have software that lets you do this. You could try a diabetes app too.
You and your healthcare team can then look back over your results to see if you need to adjust your treatment.
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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What Does It Feel Like When Your Blood Sugar Is Too High
Your blood sugartoo highverytheVery high blood sugarfeelyourtooyourHere are some things you could try to reduce this occurrence: