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When To Test Your Blood Sugar


Using The Same Finger All The Time

How to Test Your Blood Sugar

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.

Stress And Blood Sugar Testing

Whether physical or psychological, any stress has the same effect. Stress hormones such as cortisol push the liver to produce more sugars and make the body more resistant to insulin, says Dr. Hatipoglu. The result: higher blood sugar levels. Of course, everyone gets stressed at times. But its chronic stress and its effect among people with diabeteswho are not able to process the additional sugarthats especially problematic. Your best strategy: Monitor blood sugar levels frequently and, if needed, adjust the treatment to prevent any complications, he says.


How Do I Record My Blood Sugar Test Results

Keep good records of any blood, urine, or ketone tests you do. Most glucose monitors also have a memory. Your records can alert you to any problems or trends. These test records help your doctor make any needed changes in your meal plan, medicine, or exercise program. Bring these records with you every time you see your doctor.

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How Often Should You Check Your Blood Sugar

As with most things dealing with diabetes, this all depends on your particular body and lifestyle. Work with your care team and doctor to determine the appropriate number of times per day that you should be checking your blood sugars.

Know that not only is everyone different, but peoples needs for more or less frequent checking can change over their lifetime.

For instance, when someone is pregnant, their need for checking goes up immensely, and conversely, if someone with type 2 diabetes weans their way off of insulin, they may need to check less frequently as their likelihood of hypoglycemia is lower without exogenous insulin in their system.


According to the Mayo Clinic, people with type 1 diabetes should at a minimum check between 4 and 10 times per day, and people with type 2 diabetes may only need to check a few times a day , and maybe not at all if they are not on insulin.

But lets be clear: you can check as many times as you need to, and however often youd like . There is nothing wrong with checking more often or whenever you like.

If Knowledge Is Power Why Not Monitor Your Blood Sugar

The Big Picture: Checking your Blood Glucose

So, why would a person who doesnt have diabetes want to monitor their blood sugar? Possible reasons include

  • Detecting prediabetes. In prediabetes blood sugar is slightly high, but not high enough to meet the definition of diabetes. For healthy people, blood sugar testing is typically recommended every three years or so if prediabetes is diagnosed, repeat testing is recommended more often, at least yearly. CGM might allow earlier diagnosis of prediabetes or diabetes. This could be particularly helpful for people at higher risk for diabetes due to family history or other factors, and people taking medicines that can raise blood sugar.
  • The notion of “optimizing” blood sugar for peak mental or physical performance. Not surprisingly, some CGM makers suggest knowing your blood sugar can help you make changes to keep it in an “ideal range” that will help you perform your best, prevent diabetes, or improve health in some other way. For example, you might change what or when you eat. None of these marketing notions has been proven, or even well studied. And guess what even the ideal blood sugar range for a person who isnt diabetic is uncertain.
  • The illusion of control. Having more information about your body may provide you with a sense of control over your health, even if you take no immediate action.
  • Curiosity. Lets face it, its tempting to gather information about our bodies that might be interesting .

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What Is Hemoglobin A1c

Hemoglobin A1C is a lab test. It indicates an average blood glucose reading for the last 90 days. It is done when you find out you have diabetes, and every 3 months after that at clinic visits. A person without diabetes has a Hemoglobin A1C of less than 5.6%.


Target Hgb A1C is 7.5% for all children and adults with diabetes.

The chart below shows the Hemoglobin A1C result compared with the blood glucose number.

How And When To Test Your Blood Sugar With Diabetes

If you are a Diabetic, Blood Glucose testing is an important part of diabetes care. You Need Check Blood Sugar levels regularly with monitor .

How to use Safe AQ Smart Blood Glucose Meter Videos Show

What happens during a blood glucose test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. For some types of glucose blood tests, you will need to drink a sugary drink before your blood is drawn.

If you have diabetes, your health care provider may recommend a kit to monitor your blood sugar at home. Most kits include a device to prick your finger . You will use this to collect a drop of blood for testing. There are some newer kits available that dont require pricking your finger. For more information on at-home test kits, talk to your health care provider.


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.

Are there any risks to the test?

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Who Is Most At Risk For Developing Diabetes

The following categories of people are considered “high-risk” candidates for developing diabetes:

  • Individuals who are overweight or obese
  • Individuals who are 45 years of age or older
  • Individuals with first-degree relatives with diabetes
  • Individuals who are African-American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asia American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders,
  • Women who developed diabetes while they were pregnant or gave birth to large babies
  • Individuals with high blood pressure
  • Individuals with high-density lipoprotein below 25 mg/dl or triglyceride levels at or above 250 mg/dl
  • Individuals who have impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance
  • Individuals who are physically inactive engaging in exercise less than three times a week
  • Individuals who have polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS
  • Individuals who have acanthosis nigricans — dark, thick and velvety skin around your neck or armpits

In addition to testing the above individuals at high risk, the American Diabetes Association also recommends screening all individuals age 45 and older.


What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring

How to test your blood glucose (sugar) levels

Continuous glucose monitoring is another way to check your glucose levels. Most CGM systems use a tiny sensor that you insert under your skin. The sensor measures glucose levels in the fluids between your bodys cells every few minutes and can show changes in your glucose level throughout the day and night. If the CGM system shows that your glucose is too high or too low, you should check your glucose with a blood glucose meter before making any changes to your eating plan, physical activity, or medicines. A CGM system is especially useful for people who use insulin and have problems with low blood glucose.

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Completing Your Blood Sugar Routine

  • 1Dispose of your lancet and test strip carefully. Lancing needles should be disposed of in a sharps container, and test strips should be thrown away in a biohazard container. Using a new lancet each time reduces the pain involved in pricking your finger.
  • Always use a new lancet for every test. Never reuse them.
  • 2Record your blood glucose result in your glucose diary. Keeping a diary can help you to spot patterns and discuss your results with your healthcare team.XResearch source Make sure you note the day, time, and whether your reading was fasting, post-prandial , or otherwise how recently you ate.
  • Some glucometers store the readings for you in their on-board memory, but it may still be helpful to write your records down. Go the extra step of recording what you ate that day, and what dosage of medication you take, if applicable.
  • 3Bring your record to your doctor visits. Your glucometer may store your results so that your doctor can see the results of all your previous tests. If it does not have this function, make sure you bring a log of all your readings. Bring your glucometer as well so your doctor can make sure it’s calibrated and working correctly.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to sourceAdvertisement
  • What Is The Normal Range For Blood Sugar

    In general, the American Diabetes Association’s recommended blood sugar levels are9:

    • Between 70 and 130 mg/dL before meals
    • Less than 180 mg/dL after meals

    Your range is yours alonebased on your health, age, level of activity and other factors. And remember that your target is a range you’d like to stay within, not a single number.

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    Normal And Diabetic Blood Sugar Ranges

    For the majority of healthy individuals, normal blood sugar levels are as follows:

    • Between 4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L when fasting
    • Up to 7.8 mmol/L 2 hours after eating

    For people with diabetes, blood sugar level targets are as follows:

    • Before meals : 4 to 7 mmol/L for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
    • After meals : under 9 mmol/L for people with type 1 diabetes and under 8.5mmol/L for people with type 2 diabetes

    How Do I Check

    How to test your blood sugar level?

    People with diabetes check their blood sugar levels by poking their fingertips and using a blood glucose meter or a continuous glucose monitor to measure the blood glucose level at that moment. Read on to find out how to use a blood glucose meter. To find out more about CGMs, start by talking to your doctor.

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    Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Level

    Last Updated February 2021 | This article was created by familydoctor.org editorial staff and reviewed by Robert “Chuck” Rich, Jr., MD, FAAFP


    If you have diabetes, its important to monitor your blood sugar at different times of the day and throughout the year. There are 3 tools that can help you do this and, therefore, manage your diabetes: A blood test done every three months, blood tests taken every day, and a system that constantly monitors your blood glucose.

    The 3-month blood test is called an A1C test. This test reflects your blood sugar control over the past 2-3 months. Testing your A1C level every 3 months is the best way for you and your doctor to understand how well your blood sugar levels are controlled. Your doctor will likely be the one who orders an A1C test. However, you can also purchase over-the-counter A1C testing kits that you can use at home. Your A1C goal will be determined by your doctor. However, the goal is generally less than 7% or 8%, depending on your age.

    The daily blood test is done with a blood glucose monitor . This is also called a home blood sugar meter, a glucometer, or a glucose meter. This type of testing is often referred to as self-monitoring of blood glucose. Your doctor may prescribe a BGM, especially if your blood sugar fluctuates. They will show you how to use it.

    Sleep And Blood Sugar Testing

    Testing your blood sugar before you go to sleep and after you awaken will reveal if it is high or lowand what might be causing that. Normally, the body releases insulin in the early morning to keep glucose levels, which naturally rise in the a.m., in check. If you have diabetes and your blood sugar is high when you awaken, you may need medication adjustments, says Wolf. On the other hand, if you check your blood sugar before you go to sleep and its on the lower end, you may want to eat a snack, adds Wolf. This applies for anyone taking insulin to control their blood sugar. Your physician will likely adjust your medication if your blood sugar is consistently low before bedtime.

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    The Best Time To Check Blood Sugar

    Kathi Valeii is a freelance writer covering the intersections of health, parenting, and social justice.

    Living with diabetes includes monitoring your blood sugar levels. Most people do this by pricking their fingers with a blood sugar meter , which measures sugar in a small amount of blood.

    Some people use a continuous glucose monitor , a sensor under the skin that checks blood sugar every few minutes. People who use a CGM must also use a blood sugar meter daily to ensure their CGM is accurate.

    When you have diabetes, monitoring blood sugar levels is crucial because keeping blood sugar in a target range can help prevent complications, including:

    When you check your blood sugar matters. There are several times throughout the day that health experts recommend checking your blood sugar.


    This article explains the importance of monitoring your blood sugar, how blood sugar is measured, and how to check it.

    How To Reduce The Pain Of Blood Sugar Checks

    How to Test Your Blood Sugar

    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.


  • Make sure that your hands are clean and dry. Washing your hands with warm water and hanging your hand at your side for a few minutes may increase blood flow.3
  • Lance on the side of the fingertip rather than the pad. The pad of your fingertipwhere your fingerprints are most visibleare some of the most sensitive parts of your body.8
  • Keep the skin taut by pressing the lancing device firmly against the skin.
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    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.

    Check Your Blood Sugar Often

    Not everyone with diabetes needs to check their blood sugar every day. Others need to check it many times a day.

    Usual times to test your blood sugar are before meals and at bedtime. Your provider may ask you to check your blood sugar 2 hours after a meal or even sometimes in the middle of the night. Ask your provider when you should check your blood sugar.

    Other times to check your blood sugar may be:

    • If you are having symptoms of low blood sugar
    • After you eat out, particularly if you have eaten foods you don’t normally eat
    • If you feel sick
    • Before or after you exercise
    • If you have been under a lot of stress
    • If you eat too much or skip meals or snacks
    • If you are taking new medicines, took too much insulin or diabetes medicine by mistake, or took your medicine at the wrong time
    • If your blood sugar has been higher or lower than normal
    • If you are drinking alcohol

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    Diabetes And The Blood Glucose Test

    Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and teenagers whose bodies arent able to produce enough insulin. Its a chronic or long-term condition that requires continuous treatment. Late-onset type 1 diabetes has been shown to affect people between the ages of 30 and 40.

    Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in overweight and obese adults, but it can develop in younger people as well. This condition occurs when your body doesnt make enough insulin or when the insulin you produce doesnt work properly. The impact of type 2 diabetes may be reduced through weight loss and healthy eating.

    Gestational diabetes occurs if you develop diabetes while youre pregnant. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after you give birth.

    After receiving a diagnosis of diabetes, you may have to get blood glucose tests to determine if your condition is being managed well. A high glucose level in a person with diabetes may mean that your diabetes isnt being managed correctly.

    Other possible causes of high blood glucose levels include:


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