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.
Why Is My Blood Sugar Level High
The clinical term for high blood sugar is hyperglycemia. The most common cause of high blood sugar is Diabetes Mellitus or DM. It is a condition where the body cannot absorb glucose due to any abnormality in the production or action of a hormone called Insulin. Diabetes is mainly of two types: Type 1 and Type 2. Majority of diabetics are suffering from type 2 diabetes, caused by reduced action of Insulin.
However, blood sugar can be high for various other reasons. Illness or injury, hormone disorders, overeating, obesity, some medications can increase blood sugar levels.
Before And After Meals And Snacks
If you eat first thing in the morning, your first blood sugar check of the day can also count as your pre-meal check, but if you dont, youll need to check again before breakfast.
This can inform you as to how much insulin youll need for your meal . If youre running a little high, youll need to bolus extra, but if your blood sugar is on the lower end, you can take a little less insulin for any carbohydrates eaten.
Checking before every meal and snack can help curb postprandial glucose excursions, otherwise known as the stubborn high blood sugars you sometimes can experience after eating a meal and not adequately bolusing for said meal.
Ideally, you should also be checking 2 hours after all meals as well, to determine if your meal bolus was adequate, if you took too much insulin, or if you need to adjust and take more insulin.
Two hours is the recommended time frame, because by then most carbohydrates have been absorbed into the body and most fast-acting insulin has already peaked.
When checking before snacks , make sure youre calculating any active insulin on board so you dont overtreat a high and end up going low.
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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.
Measuring Blood Sugar Levels Throughout The Day
January 3, 2020 by Diabetes Care
Should you be measuring blood sugar levels throughout the day? While its true that people with diabetes should measure their blood sugar at regular intervals, there are some distinctions regarding how often to test. This is dependent on whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, and what medications you are taking.
The tables below summarize target blood sugar levels at different times of day, and how often you should be measuring your blood sugar dependent on factors such as what type of diabetes you have, how recently you were diagnosed, and what medications you take.
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Fasting Blood Sugar : Normal Levels And Testing
Fasting blood sugar levels give vital clues about how a person is managing their blood sugar. Blood sugar tends to peak about an hour after eating and declines after that.
Knowing when to test and what to look for can help people stay healthy, especially if they have diabetes or are at risk of developing the condition.
Keep reading to learn more about fasting blood sugar levels, including information on testing and tips for maintaining normal levels.
The body needs glucose for energy, and glucose comes from the food a person eats. However, the body does not use all of this energy at once. Insulin makes it possible to store and release glucose as necessary.
Following a meal, blood sugar levels rise and usually peak about an hour after eating.
How high blood sugar rises and the precise timing of the peak depends on a persons diet.
Food-related factors that can trigger significant rises include:
- eating large meals
- consuming sugary foods and drinks
- eating foods with simple carbohydrates, or carbs, such as bread and sweet snacks
As blood sugar rises, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin lowers blood sugar, breaking it down so the body can use it for energy or store it for later.
However, people who have diabetes have difficulties with insulin in one of two ways:
What Are Blood Sugar Levels
Your blood sugar levels, also known as blood glucose levels, are a measurement that show how much glucose you have in your blood. Glucose is a sugar that you get from food and drink. Your blood sugar levels go up and down throughout the day and for people living with diabetes these changes are larger and happen more often than in people who don’t have diabetes.
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Who Should Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, monitoring your blood sugar regularly will help you understand how medication like insulin, food, and physical activity affect your blood glucose. It also allows you to catch rising blood sugar levels early. It is the most important thing you can do to prevent complications from diabetes such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation.
Other people who may benefit from checking their blood glucose regularly include those:
- Taking insulin
Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
If your test results show you have prediabetes, ask your doctor or nurse if there is a lifestyle change program offered through the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program in your community. You can also search for an online or in-person program. Having prediabetes puts you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but participating in the program can lower your risk by as much as 58% .
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Gaining Insights From Routine Blood Glucose Testing
Day-to-day blood sugar checks can give you a good idea of how you’re doing at this moment, and they can be reviewed overall to see trends. They can help answer questions such as:
- Are your medications working as they should?
- How does the type or amount of food you eat affect your blood sugar?
- How does activity or stress affect your blood sugar?
How Often Should You Get A Blood Test
There are different types of diabetes. In patients with Type I diabetes, the body doesnt make enough insulin. The immune system attacks the pancreas that monitors glucose levels. Those with Type II diabetes have cells that dont respond to insulin, causing the pancreas to make more and more until it breaks down and affects 90 to 95 percent of adults with diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes develop the illness while pregnant and it often goes away over time. However, women whove developed gestational diabetes have a greater chance of developing Type II later in life. Diabetes can be inherited, also known as Monogenic diabetes. The type of diabetes will determine how often should you check your blood sugar. Developing a blood sugar monitoring routine should be a priority. However, certain times are best for monitoring sugar:
- Before every meal
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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar
Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.
How To Use A Blood Sugar Meter
There are different kinds of blood glucose meters, but most of them work the same way. Ask your health care team to show you the benefits of each. In addition, have someone else learn how to use your meter in case youre sick and cant check your blood sugar yourself.
Below are tips for how to use a glucose monitor:
Wash your hands with soap and warm water and dry well. Make sure there are no food particles or other substances on your hand as these can affect the reading.
Massage your hand to get blood into your finger.
Use a lancet to prick your finger.
Squeezing from the base of the finger, gently place a small amount of blood onto the test strip.
Place the strip in the meter.
After a few seconds, the reading will appear.
Track and record your results. Include details on food, activity, and medication where relevant.
Properly dispose the lancet and strip in a trash container.
Do not share blood sugar monitoring equipment, such as lancets, with anyone, even other family members.
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Can I Do A Fasting Blood Sugar Test At Home Instead
There are kits that allow you to test your blood sugar at home. But they should not be used to diagnose diabetes.
The results are often not as accurate as tests by a healthcare provider. Several factors can affect accuracy, such as:
- Environmental conditions.
- Unclean skin on the finger being pricked.
- Expired or damaged test strips.
- Not enough blood in the testing sample.
At-home blood testing kits are intended to help people who have already been diagnosed. They help people with diabetes manage the condition and understand what factors affect their blood sugar.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Fasting blood sugar is a simple, common blood test to diagnose prediabetes, diabetes or gestational diabetes. Before the test, you shouldnt have anything to eat or drink for 8 to 12 hours. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need a fasting blood glucose test.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/17/2021.
A1c Blood Sugar Tests
The A1C test measures the percentage of glucose bound hemoglobin in a persons blood.
According to The National Institutes of Health , this gives a general picture of a persons blood glucose levels over the past 23 months .
Abnormal A1C test results do not necessarily mean a person has diabetes. A doctor will confirm these findings with another blood glucose test.
The doctor may recommend running more tests, such as blood work, to rule out other conditions that can affect blood sugar levels.
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Will I Need To Do Anything To Prepare For The Test
You will probably need to fast for eight hours before the test. If you are pregnant and are being checked for gestational diabetes:
- You will drink a sugary liquid one hour before your blood is drawn.
- You won’t need to fast for this test.
- If your results show higher than normal blood glucose levels, you may need another test, which requires fasting.
Talk to your health provider about specific preparations needed for your glucose test.
Recommended Blood Sugar Targets For Most People With Diabetes*
Your targets may not be the same as the examples in this chart. Your targets are important and should be specific to you.
|4.0 to 7.0||5.0 to 10.0|
* This information is based on the Diabetes Canada 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada and is a guide.** A1C is a measurement of your average blood sugar control for the last two to three months and approximately 50 per cent of the value comes from the last 30 days.
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What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels After Eating
Your blood sugar level is influenced by several factors, including the food you eat. During digestion, carbohydrates are converted into sugar which your body uses as an energy source. Excess sugar from any source is stored in your cells for later use. When your cells contain too much sugar, though, it can lead to type 2 diabetes. This is why eating a balanced diet to maintain a normal blood sugar range is important.
Blood sugar levels can vary based on many factors, including age and life expectancy, comorbidities like heart disease, stress, and lifestyle factors like physical activity, smoking, or drinking alcohol.
Using The Same Finger All The Time
People choose to use the same finger and the same spot in part because everyone has a favorite, says Uelmen, and also because calluses build up and cut down on the discomfort. But varying your fingers is better.
The solution for better diabetes control: “The goal is to use a different finger each day or each time,” she says. Switching fingers allows the pricked finger to heal and also helps to avoid pain caused by repeat jabs.
If your blood sugar readings are generally consistent, you can even try alternate site testing, such as using the palm of your hand, if you want to get away from your fingers periodically. But simply using different spots on the same finger can also prevent soreness.
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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
How Do I Measure My Blood Sugar Level
Follow your healthcare providers advice and the instructions that come with the glucose meter. In general, you will follow the steps below. Different meters work differently, so be sure to check with your healthcare provider for advice specifically for you.
- Wash your hands and dry them well before doing the test.
- Use an alcohol pad to clean the area that youre going to prick. For most glucose meters, you will prick your fingertip. However, with some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh or the fleshy part of your hand. Ask your healthcare provider what area you should use with your meter.
- Prick yourself with a sterile lancet to get a drop of blood.
- Place the drop of blood on the test strip.
- Follow the instructions for inserting the test strip into your glucose meter.
- The meter will give you a number for your blood sugar level.
For someone who has severe diabetes, continuous blood sugar monitoring may be a viable option. With these systems, blood sugar is measured constantly through a sensor placed beneath the skin that transmits information. Some insurance programs are beginning to cover these monitors.
The following are some suggestions on when to do SMBG testing and how to use the results to improve your blood sugar control.
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Make Physical Activity Part Of Your Daily Routine
Set a goal to be more physically active. Try to work up to 30 minutes or more of physical activity on most days of the week.
Brisk walking and swimming are good ways to move more. If you are not active now, ask your health care team about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you. Learn more about being physically active with diabetes.
Following your meal plan and being more active can help you stay at or get to a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, work with your health care team to create a weight-loss plan that is right for you.
Blood Sugar Level After 30 Minutes:
About half an hour after a meal, the digestive tract works in full swing to digest and absorb the nutrients taken during the meal. So, the proteins, carbs and fats are broken down by different digestive enzymes and are gradually absorbed in the body.
The blood is the carrier of these nutrients and it transports them throughout the body to supply energy to the different organs. The blood glucose level at this time is generally at its peak.
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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.