Success Is More Than Just Blood Sugar Count
Information from the Diabetes Care medical journal indicate that there is more to managing blood sugar than merely how many times a day patients test their blood sugar. Success is determined by how well patients comply with the medication and dietary instructions provided by their physicians. This may mean that patients with type 1 diabetes or those on intensive insulin therapies may need to test their blood sugar level before exercise, at bedtime, before eating, and when they suspect low blood sugar. It may also be important to test blood sugar before performing important tasks such as driving. Depending upon the patient and the specifics of his or her particular situation, this may mean testing blood glucose six to eight times daily.
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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% .
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.
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How To Check Your Own Blood Sugar Level: Meaningful Blood Glucose Monitoring For Type 2 Diabetes
This video does not relate to any specific blood glucose monitor nor does it intend to replace the user guide supplied by the manufacturer of blood glucose monitors or any other equipment used in the process of monitoring blood glucose. Please liaise with the blood glucose monitor’s manufacturers for any specific questions. Please consult with your healthcare team before making any changes to your blood glucose monitoring routine.
Blood Glucose Testing For Other Types Of Diabetes
How often people with other types of diabetes should test their blood sugar will vary depending on what medication is taken and personal circumstances. People on multiple insulin injections per day or on an insulin pump should test as often as people with type 1 diabetes. If you are on medication that can cause hypos, you should, at the least, be able to test your blood glucose whenever you notice any possible signs of hypoglycemia. Blood glucose testing is useful for testing how much different meals and activities affect your blood glucose levels. This tends to be of particular use for people with type 2 diabetes.
- Read more about pre and post meal blood glucose testing
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Factors That Affect How Often You Need To Test Your Blood Sugar
How often you test depends on several different factors.
You should test your blood sugar at home, but how often is enough? Well, it dependsmostly on your medication, you, and your doctor.
The American Diabetes Association recommends testing your blood sugar at least three times a day if you need multiple daily insulin injections. But for the rest of those with type 2 diabetes, testing frequency should be “dictated by the particular needs and goals of the patients,” the ADA says.
That means that frequent testing is clearly necessarily for some people with type 2 diabetes, but there is a little wiggle room for others.
Some studies suggest that frequent monitoring is not always helpful for people with type 2 diabetes. But that research is still being debated. Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you determine how often and when you should be testing.
How often you test depends on the following factors.
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Blood Glucose Testing For Type 1 Diabetes
The 2015 NICE guidelines recommend that people with type 1 diabetes test their blood glucose at least 4 times per day, including before each meal and before bed.
Your doctor should also support you to test more regularly to ensure you test at the following times:
- Before driving and at least once every 2 hours on longer journeys
- Before, during and after exercise
- Testing more regularly during periods of illness
- During pregnancy or breastfeeding or when planning pregnancy
- If you are having regular hypos
- If you have an impaired ability to spot hypo symptoms
- If you are not achieving the target HbA1c of 48 mmol/mol
- If taking part in high-risk activities
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How To Do A Finger
Your healthcare team will show you how to do it the first time, but these are the key steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dont use wet wipes as the glycerine in them can affect the test result. Make sure your hands are warm so its easier to get blood and wont hurt as much.
- Take a test strip and slot it into the meter to turn it on. Some meters will have tests strips built in.
- Remove the cap from your finger prick device and put in a new lancet. Then put the cap back on and set the device by pulling or clicking the plunger.
- Choose which finger to prick but avoid your thumb or index finger . And dont prick the middle, or too close to a nail. Place the device against the side of your finger and press the plunger. Use a different finger each time and a different area.
- Take your meter with the test strip and hold it against the drop of blood. Itll tell you if the test strip is filled, usually by beeping.
- Before you look at your reading, check your finger. Use a tissue to stop bleeding, then use it to take out the lancet and throw it away in your sharps bin.
- You can use the same tissue to take out the test strip and throw that away too. Taking out the strip will usually turn the meter off.
Discuss Blood Sugar Levels With A Doctor
- Make sure to speak with your physician about how often you should be checking your blood sugar and at what times of day or week checks should be done.
- Dont forget to ask your physician: What should I do with all this information? Your overall control will likely not improve unless you know what to do with the glucose numbers you are seeing!
- If you are uncertain how to use your meter, ask to meet with a diabetes educator for additional training.
How often do you check your blood sugar?
Type 2 Diabetes: Should I Check My Blood Glucose Levels
Our resident pharmacist looks at the best blood glucose monitors for type 2 diabetes.
Concerned about monitoring your blood glucose levels? Our resident pharmacist Rita Ghelani looks at home blood glucose monitors for people with type 2 diabetes, so you can improve your diabetes control and gain a better understanding of the condition.
Other Tips For Checking:
- With some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh, or fleshy part of your hand.
- There are spring-loaded lancing devices that make sticking yourself less painful.
- If you use your fingertip, stick the side of your fingertip by your fingernail to avoid having sore spots on the frequently used part of your finger.
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Get The Best Use Out Of Your Strips
There are many times you could check. How often should you? “Everyone wants black-and-white answers,” says Mary M. Austin, R.D., CDE. “It’s not how often you do it it’s what you do with the information.”
Endocrinologist Tom Elasy says people and health care providers need to distinguish between the intensification stages of diabetes — when diabetes is newly diagnosed or when you and your provider make changes in your treatment plan — and the maintenance phase — when you are reaching your glucose goals and things are in a pretty steady state.
How to Make the Best Use of Your Strips: Medicare, for people who have Part B, covers 100 test strips every three months for a PWD who doesn’t take insulin.
For someone newly diagnosed with type 2, how can you make the best use of your strips? According to Elasy, use more strips when you’re diagnosed and learning about the impact of what you eat, your physical activity, and medications on your glucose levels. Once you get a sense of your fluctuating glucose levels, testing doesn’t need to happen as often. As type 2 diabetes progresses over time, renewed, more frequent testing often is necessary.
People who do not take any glucose-lowering medications might want to check at least once or twice a week just to keep track. It is recommended that you do monitor and use your allotted strips wisely. Monitoring can have a powerful, positive effect on how you subsequently eat or the likelihood that you’ll take a walk, Elasy notes.
Consider Testing Before A Meal
If you’re on a flexible insulin plan , you need to check before you eat to determine the dose of rapid-acting insulin you need. If you have type 2 diabetes and are starting to take insulin once a day, your provider or diabetes educator will probably adjust your dose based on your daily fasting glucose results and perhaps other results.
Below are target blood sugar guidelines for adults with diabetes who have no other health issues. There’s a slight difference between the two organizations’ recommendations. Ask your provider about specific fasting and after-eating glucose levels and A1C targets that are right for you.
Guidelines for testing before a meal:
American Diabetes Association: 70-130 mg/dl
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists: Less than 110 mg/dl
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Ways To Test Your Blood Sugar
Traditional home glucose monitoring
You prick your finger with a small, sharp needle called a lancet, put a drop of blood on a test strip, and then place the strip into a meter that displays your blood sugar levels. Record the test results so you can share them with your doctor. Based on your results, the two of you may adjust your diet, exercise, or medication.
Meters vary in features, portability, speed, size, cost, and readability . Devices deliver results in less than 15 seconds and store this information for future use.
Some meters also calculate an average blood sugar level over a span of time. Some also feature software kits that take information from the meter and display graphs and charts of your past test results. Blood sugar meters and strips are available at your local pharmacy.
Meters that test other parts of your body
Some devices let you test your upper arm, forearm, base of the thumb, and thigh.
These results may differ from the blood sugar levels gotten from a fingertip stick. Levels in the fingertips show changes more quickly. This is especially true when your sugar is changing fast, like after a meal or after exercise.
If you have symptoms of low blood sugar, donât rely on test results from other parts of your body.
Continuous glucose monitoring system
You’ll still need to check your levels throughout the day continuous glucose monitoring doesn’t replace that. It gives your doctor more information about trends that self-checking might not show.
Do You Really Have To Check Your Blood Sugar 7
Basically, we are going to start with the easiest patient example. So, basically, lets talk about a patient who just got diagnosed with diabetes. As you can imagine theyre super nervous. Theyre checking their blood sugar seven-eight times a day. Well, initially that may be exciting and you know if youre worked up you wanna get this under control. That is great but eventually, you are going to burn out. So, there is an easier way to do this than just doing seven-eight times a day. Now, if you are really wanting to you know and still have an understanding of where your blood sugars are without doing eight times a day, do the scattered method. You scatter your blood sugar checks. While doing that make sure that its organized so your doctor and yourself can actually look at it and have an understanding.
What a lot of people do they check their blood sugar first in the morning and then before bedtime every day? They keep doing the same thing over and over again. If you know it is especially similar in the mornings, meaning, similarly high or similarly low what is the point of repetition while you can discover your other blood sugars at other times of the day?
What some people think that 160 blood sugar sounds okay. They say I can live with that. However, then when they check their blood sugar after eating after breakfast they realize that they go sometimes up to 250. They would not know that unless they checked it.
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How Do I Pick A Glucose Meter
Your doctor will make a recommendation. Check with your health insurance plan to see if it will pay for your BGM, its supplies, or a CGM. If so, your plan may only pay for a certain meter.
Shop around and compare costs. Consider what features are important to you. For example, some meters are made for people who have poor eyesight. If you want to pay a little more money, you can get a BGM that stores the results in its memory. This allows you to compare results from several days at one time.
What Should I Do If My Blood Sugar Gets Too High
High blood sugar is also called hyperglycemia . It means that your blood sugar level is higher than your target level or over 180. Having high blood sugar levels over time can lead to long-term, serious health problems.
If you feel very tired, thirsty, have blurry vision, or need to pee more often, your blood sugar may be high.
Check your blood sugar and see if it is above your target level or over 180. If it is too high, one way to lower it is to drink a large glass of water and exercise by taking a brisk walk. Call your health care team if your blood sugar is high more than 3 times in 2 weeks and you dont know why.
Checking Your Blood Glucose Levels Will Help You To:
- Develop confidence in looking after your diabetes.
- Better understand the relationship between your blood glucose levels and the exercise you do, the food you eat and other lifestyle influences such as travel, stress and illness.
- Know how your lifestyle choices and medication, if used, are making a difference.
- Find out immediately if your blood glucose levels are too high or too low , helping you to make important decisions such as eating before exercise, treating a hypo or seeking medical advice if sick.
- Know when to seek the advice of your diabetes health team about adjusting your insulin, tablets, meal or snack planning when blood glucose goals are not being met.
What Causes Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar has many causes, including missing a meal, taking too much insulin, taking other diabetes medicines, exercising more than normal, and drinking alcohol. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low.
Signs of low blood sugar are different for everyone. Common symptoms include:
Know what your individual symptoms are so you can catch low blood sugar early and treat it. If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms. Low blood sugar can be dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible.
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Why You Should Check Your Blood Sugar
Testing blood glucose can help you manage diabetes by showing you:
- How well your diabetes treatment plan is working
- How exercise and food affect your blood sugar levels
- How things like stress and illness affect your levels
- How well your diabetes medication is working
- When your blood sugar levels are too high or too low