Know Your Blood Sugar
Blood sugar is the amount of sugar in your blood at a given time. It’s important to check your blood sugar level, because it will:
- determine if you have a high or low blood sugar level at a given time
- show you how your lifestyle and medication affect your blood sugar levels
- help you and your diabetes health-care team make lifestyle and medication changes to improve your blood sugar levels
When Should You Check Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, at home tests should be done before a meal, one to two hours after a meal, and at bedtime. Type 1 and type 2 diabetics who use insulin medication should check their blood sugar at least four times a day.
For those who have prediabetes, or at risk for developing diabetes, your blood sugar should be checked through routine blood work at a yearly doctors exam. If youre not at risk for diabetes, glucose levels can be checked every three years.
I wouldnt recommend that the general public be checking their blood glucose to figure out what their risk is, says Mathioudakis. But certainly people with diabetes, and especially people with diabetes that have medications that can really lower their blood glucose, they should be checking.
For more information, read our article about on whats considered healthy and normal blood sugar levels.
How To Control Bleeding
After inserting the blood sample into the meter, please leave it to function while attending to the pets ear . For approximately 30 seconds, secure a gauze squeeze firmly to the prick site. This should be more than sufficient to bring the bleeding to a halt. Continue applying mild pressure for another minute if the location continues to bleed. Do not peek to determine whether the bleeding has ceased. Secure the area and maintain your pets calm. If the bleeding does not stop or if a considerable bruise develops, seek guidance from your veterinarian.
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What Precautionary Measures Should I Take Before Exercising
Checking your blood sugars before your workouts can help you understand your body better and start taking necessary precautions.
When your blood sugars are lower than 100 mg/dL, it may be too low to exercise safely. Eat a small snack containing 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates, such as a fruit before you begin your workout.
When your blood sugars are 100 to 250 mg/dL Youre good to go. This is a safe blood sugar range before exercise for the majority of people. If you feel like you need extra energy, you can still eat fruit before working out.
When your blood sugars are 250 mg/dL or higher, then its not safe to exercise as the blood sugars are too high. Consult with your physician for controlling the blood sugars and then follow their instructions before doing any activity because exercise can sometimes raise blood sugar even higher.
Exercise plays a critical role in the prevention and treatment of insulin resistance, prediabetes, GDM, type 2 diabetes, and diabetes-related health issues. Hence, its ideal to follow a regular workout regime to maintain healthy blood glucose levels and thereby manage diabetes.
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 .
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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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What To Do For A Low Blood Sugar Reading
You have low blood sugar when you get a reading below 70 mg/dl. Without treatment, this can damage the nervous system and cause seizures. If your blood sugar drops to this level and you are an adult, you need to consume about 15 grams of carbohydrates to raise it to 70 mg/dl or higher.
Wait 15 minutes and check your blood sugar. If it is still lower than 70 mg/dl, consume an additional 15 g of carbs. Repeat these steps until your reading is 70 mg/dl or more. Eat a snack until your next meal.
If you often have low blood sugar levels, check your blood sugar level before driving and address it if it is low.
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Do You Still Need Hemoglobin A1c Tests If You Monitor At Home
At-home blood sugar monitoring doesnt replace your regular hemoglobin A1C test. While at-home monitoring gives you snapshots of your blood sugar levels in real-time, the A1C test gives you and your care team a big-picture look at your average blood sugar levels over the past three months.
Normal:< 5.7% = < 140 mg/dL
Prediabetes: 5.7% to 6.4% = 140 to 199 mg/dL
Diabetes: 6.5% or higher = 200 mg/dL or higher
Getting And Testing A Sample
This process is quick, but doing it right will help you avoid having to re-stick yourself.
If you often have trouble getting a good blood sample, warm your hands with running water or by rubbing them briskly together. Be sure they are dry again before you stick yourself.
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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
Get A Blood Sugar Meter
If youâre like most people, you probably use a blood sugar meter to track blood sugar levels. But there are other ways to check blood sugar levels without a meter. In this guide, youâll learn how to read blood sugar levels in the comfort of your own home. Youâll also find out how to test your blood sugar levels in a variety of scenarios, including when youâre fasting, during exercise, or after eating a low-carbohydrate meal.
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How Do I Measure Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, you probably already keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar through the use of a continuous glucose monitor or a blood sugar meter . Blood sugar measurement is also typically included in routine lab work for people without diabetes your physician will usually order a glycated hemoglobin test, which measures your average blood sugar over the past two to three months.
Say your A1C test comes back with no sign of diabetes constantly measuring your blood sugar can still be helpful. For instance, some people experiment with using a CGM to see how their body responds to different types of food. However, its good to note that this is a fairly cost-intensive way of figuring out your nutrition, and writing down a food diary that includes how you felt after each meal will also help you figure out what to eat.
Check out these blood sugar monitors if youre looking for recommendations on how to keep track of your levels at home.
What Can Affect My Results
If you consistently see results that arenât expected, recalibrate your meter and check the strips.
The chart below shows you the ideal blood sugar ranges for most adults except for pregnant women. Your ideal range may be different from another person’s and will change throughout the day, so check with your doctor for your targets.
Time of Test
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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.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring: An Alternative
Because you need to test your sugars more often if you have type 1 diabetes, you may want to look into a continuous glucose monitor rather than a traditional glucometer.
With a CGM, a tiny sensor is inserted under your skin. It usually goes in the:
The sensor transmits a glucose readout to a special monitoring device or smartphone, usually every five to 15 minutes.
Because the sensor is not replaced for several days, this technology reducesbut may not eliminatethe need for finger pricks.
Ask your healthcare provider if a CGM is right for you.
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How Does A Glucometer Help You
With a glucometer or blood glucose meter, you can check your blood sugar level at any time of the day. So you dont have to wait for a lab appointment or fast before you can have your blood glucose checked.
A glucometer is very useful for people with diabetes because it can help them:
- Manage their blood sugar levels
- Avoid low blood sugar levels
- Prevent high blood sugar levels
- Detect early signs of diabetes
- Find out if their diabetes treatment is working
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How To Use A Blood Sugar Meter
There are different kinds of meters, but most of them work the same way. Ask your health care team to show you the benefits of each. In addition to you, 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 blood sugar meter.
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Managing Blood Sugar When Youre Ill
When you get sick, your blood sugar levels may fluctuate and become unpredictable.
If you’re sick, it’s very important that you:
- drink plenty of water or sugar-free fluids
- check your blood sugar levels more often than usual
- take 15 grams of carbohydrate every hour if you are not able to follow your usual meal plan
- replace food with fluids that contain sugar if you can’t eat solid food
- continue to take your insulin or other diabetes medication
If you have a cold or flu and want to use a cold remedy or cough syrup, ask your pharmacist to help you make a good choice. Many cold remedies and cough syrups contain sugar, so try to pick sugar-free products.
As an extra precaution, you should always check with your health-care team about guidelines for insulin adjustment or medication changes during an illness.
How To Check Blood Sugar At Home Without A Meter
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Fda Approves First Blood Sugar Monitor Without Finger Pricks
Associated PressSept. 28, 2017
U.S. regulators have approved the first continuous blood sugar monitor for diabetics that doesnt need backup finger prick tests.
Current models require users to test a drop of blood twice daily to calibrate, or adjust, the monitor.
The pain of finger sticks and the cost of testing supplies discourage many people from keeping close tabs on their blood sugar, which is needed to manage insulin use and adjust what they eat.
Abbotts new FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System, approved Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration, uses a small sensor attached to the upper arm. Patients wave a reader device over it to see the current blood sugar level and changes over the past eight hours.
Most of the 30 million Americans with diabetes use standard glucose meters, which require multiple finger pricks each day and only show current sugar level. More-accurate continuous glucose monitoring devices are used by about 345,000 Americans.
But most dont do the finger pricks to calibrate them and may get inaccurate readings, said Dr. Timothy Bailey, who helped test FreeStyle Libre.
Were able to lower blood sugar safely with this technology, said Bailey, director of the Advanced Metabolic Care and Research Institute in California. He receives consulting fees from various diabetes device makers.
Linda A. Johnson