In order to manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes, monitoring your blood sugar levels on a regular basis plays a very important role. You’ll be able to see what causes your numbers to rise or fall, such as eating different foods, taking your medication, or exercising. With this information, you can collaborate with your health care team to determine the best diabetes care plan for you.
Diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation can be avoided by monitoring and controlling blood sugar levels. Your doctor will advise you on when and how frequently you should check your blood sugar levels.
Most diabetics patients should test their blood sugar (also known as blood glucose) levels on a regular basis. Knowing the results allows you to control your disease-fighting strategy.
Regular testing can also help you avoid long-term health issues.
However, some people may not know the proper ways to check their blood sugar levels at home. Here is a guide on how to check your blood sugar levels easily and correctly at home-
Traditional glucose monitoring at home
Pricking your finger with a small, sharp needle called a lancet, put a drop of blood on a test strip, and then insert the strip into a meter that displays your blood sugar levels. Make a note of the test results so that you can share them with your doctor. Based on your findings, the two of you may modify your diet, exercise routine, or medication.
Meters differ in terms of features, portability, speed, size, price, and readability (with larger displays or spoken instructions if you have vision problems). Devices produce results in less than 15 seconds and save this data for future use.
Some meters also compute an average blood sugar level over time. Some models also include software kits that use data from the meter to display graphs and charts of previous test results. Blood glucose meters and strips can be purchased at your local pharmacy.
Other parts of your body can be tested using meters – Some devices allow you to test your upper arm, forearm, thumb base, and thigh.
These results may differ from those obtained from a finger-stick blood sugar test. Changes in levels in the fingertips are more noticeable. This is especially true when your blood sugar is rapidly changing, such as after a meal or after exercise.
If you have low blood sugar symptoms, don’t rely on test results from other parts of the body.
System for continuous glucose monitoring
Some of these devices are used in conjunction with insulin pumps. They are not as precise as finger-stick glucose tests. They can, however, assist you in identifying patterns and trends in your sugar levels. Doctors may also refer to these as “interstitial glucose measuring devices.” If you choose this method, your doctor will insert a tiny sensor under your skin every 5 minutes to monitor your blood sugar levels. For a few days, it sends data to a monitor that you wear like a pager.
You will still need to check your levels throughout the day; continuous glucose monitoring does not take the place of this. It provides your doctor with information about trends that self-checking may not reveal.
When to do testing
A doctor may advise testing at three different times, usually over the course of several days:
- Checking the morning readings: This gives information about blood glucose levels before a person eats or drinks anything. Taking blood glucose readings before eating gives you a starting point. This number provides information about the glucose processes that occur throughout the day.
- Prior to a meal: Because blood glucose levels tend to be low before a meal, the high blood glucose reading at this time indicates trouble managing blood sugar.
- Following a meal: Post-meal testing provides information about how the body reacts to food and whether sugar can reach the cells efficiently. Blood glucose levels after a meal can aid in the diagnosis of gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy. The majority of doctors recommend testing at around 2 o’clock in the morning.
Any glucose monitoring strategy for checking blood sugar levels should be done before meals to see if you are meeting your goals. Once your pre-meal readings are within the target range, you can check your blood sugar before a meal and again 1-2 hours later to see how the food directly affected your blood sugar level – this is known as paired readings and can be tried with different meals and when introducing new activities.
Simply collecting numbers is meaningless unless some action is taken. As a result, it is critical to share the information with your healthcare team and meet with a diabetes care and education specialist on a regular basis to learn how to take action and increase the amount of time you spend in the target range.