How Do I Check
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.
Amy Campbell Ms Rd Ldn Cde
A Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at Good Measures, LLC, where she is a CDE manager for a virtual diabetes program. Campbell is the author of Staying Healthy with Diabetes: Nutrition & Meal Planning, a co-author of 16 Myths of a Diabetic Diet, and has written for publications including Diabetes Self-Management, Diabetes Spectrum, Clinical Diabetes, the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundations newsletter, DiabeticConnect.com, and CDiabetes.com
Learn more about the health and medical experts who who provide you with the cutting-edge resources, tools, news, and more on Diabetes Self-Management.
What Is The A1c Test
The A1C test is a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 2 or 3 months. The test is done at a lab or your doctors office in addition tonot instead ofregular blood sugar testing you do yourself.
A1C testing is part of the ABCs of diabetesimportant steps you can take to prevent or delay health complications down the road:
- A: Get a regular A1C test.
- B: Try to keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg .
- C: Manage your cholesterol levels.
- s: Stop smoking or dont start.
The A1C goal for most adults with diabetes is between 7% and 8%, but your goal may be different depending on your age, other health conditions, medicines youre taking, and other factors. Work with your doctor to establish a personal A1C goal for you.
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What Is The Normal Blood Sugar Level For Teens
Teenagers are recommended to have a blood sugar range between 70-150 mg/dL. It’s not easy for a teenager to maintain a tight range, therefore it’s important to aim for these numbers to give them a bit more flexibility.
- Fasting: 70-150 mg/dL
- Preprandial : 90-130 mg/dL
- Postprandial : Less than 140 mg/dL
- Bedtime: 90-150 mg/dL
Avoid Excessive Exercise Late At Night
Try to avoid any exercise late at night before going to bed. If your blood sugar is less than 5.6 mmol/L or 100 mg/DL before sleeping and you do want to exercise make sure you double your food portion. If you do excessive exercise late at night this can lead to increased blood sugar during the next day.
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Is Diabetes Diagnosed The Same Way In Every Country
There are four methods of diagnosing diabetes, which are used around the world. They are:
Low Blood Sugar Symptoms
Hypoglycemia happens when blood glucose levels drop too low. Low blood sugar can be caused by many things including the two different types of diabetes, certain medications, alcohol, endocrine disorders, eating disorders, pregnancy , and disorders of the liver, kidneys, or heart.
Here are some of the most common symptoms that someone with low blood sugar might experience:
- Tingling lips
If your blood sugar is low you might start to feel some of the first signs of hypoglycemia like dizziness, lightheadedness, or sweating. The only way to know for sure if your blood sugar is low is to test it with a glucose meter or other glucose monitoring device.
If you dont have access to these tools and start to feel the symptoms of low blood sugar, consume 15 grams of carbs or take a quick dissolve glucose tablet to raise your blood sugar levels and avoid further symptoms, according to the American Diabetes Association . Once your blood sugar is back in its target range, you can have a snack or meal to make sure it doesnt drop again.
Here are some other lifestyle and medicinal treatments that can help treat hypoglycemia:
- Eat a healthy diet full of whole foods that are minimally processed.
- Take prediabetes or diabetes medications as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Use a glucagon kit in emergencies. Glucagon is a hormone that raises blood sugar levels quickly.
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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.
When To Consult A Doctor
According to Dr. Gladd, you should visit your primary healthcare provider annually, especially if you have certain factors that put you at a greater risk of developing diabetes, such as:
Previous history of abnormal glucose levels
Previous history of gestational diabetes
Family history of type 1 or type 2 diabetes
History of cardiovascular disease
High blood pressure
Unhealthy cholesterol levels
Limited physical activity
If your glucose levels fall out of the normal range, you may be wondering if you should consult a doctor.
Dr. Hennis says, If you have very high blood glucose levels and also experience frequent urination and keep drinking liquids even when you arent thirsty, you should go get checked as soon as you can as these are possible signs of Type 2 diabetes.
If you experience low or high glucose levels combined with any of the aforementioned symptoms, you should consider consulting a doctor in the short-term and in the long-term, and make a plan with the help of your physician.
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What Is A Good Blood Sugar Level For Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a complex condition that can interfere with daily activities and well-being. Fortunately, researchers know more about type 2 diabetes now than ever, which gives those with the condition more treatment options and hope of living a long, healthy life.
One of the best ways to reduce the unpleasant symptoms that can accompany type 2 diabetes is by keeping your blood sugars at normal levels But what blood sugar readings are considered normal?
What Causes Blood Sugar To Be High
Many things can cause high blood sugar , including being sick, being stressed, eating more than planned, and not giving yourself enough insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term, serious health problems. Symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Feeling very tired.
- Having blurry vision.
- Needing to urinate more often.
If you get sick, your blood sugar can be hard to manage. You may not be able to eat or drink as much as usual, which can affect blood sugar levels. If youre ill and your blood sugar is 240 mg/dL or above, use an over-the-counter ketone test kit to check your urine for ketones and call your doctor if your ketones are high. High ketones can be an early sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.
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Caution: Birth Control Pills
Types that have estrogen can affect the way your body handles insulin. Still, oral contraceptives are safe for women with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association suggests a combination pill with norgestimate and synthetic estrogen. The group also says birth control shots and implants are safe for women with the condition, though they can affect your blood sugar levels.
What Is The Normal Range For Blood Sugar Levels And What Blood Sugar Level Constitutes A True Emergency
Dr. Horton answers the question: ‘Normal Range For Blood Sugar Levels?’
— Question:What is the normal range for blood sugar levels, and what blood sugar level constitutes a true emergency?
Answer:Now, in a normal individual we measure blood sugar under different circumstances. What we call fasting blood sugar or blood glucose levels is usually done six to eight hours after the last meal. So it’s most commonly done before breakfast in the morning and the normal range there is 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter.
Now when you eat a meal, blood sugar generally rises and in a normal individual it usually does not get above a 135 to 140 milligrams per deciliter. So there is a fairly narrow range of blood sugar throughout the entire day.
Now in our diabetic patients we see both low blood sugar levels that we call hypoglycemia, or elevated blood sugars, hyperglycemia. Now, if the blood sugar drops below about 60 or 65 milligrams per deciliter, people will generally get symptoms, which are some shakiness, feeling of hunger, maybe a little racing of the heart and they will usually be trenchant or if they eat something, it goes away right away. But if blood sugar drops below 50 and can get down as low as 40 or 30 or even 20, then there is a progressive loss of mental function and eventually unconsciousness and seizures. And of course that is very dangerous and a medical emergency.
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What You Can Drink With Meals
Add a low-calorie, low-sugar drink or choose water. Proper hydration is essential to helping your body remove excess sugar.
Some drinks that are good for keeping your blood sugar level low include:
- Unsweetened tea
- Unsweetened coffee
- Sparkling water or club soda
- Flavored water or sparkling water without added sugar
- Diet soda or other diet drinks
What Is The Test To Check Blood Sugar Levels For Type 2 Diabetes
You can check your blood sugar levels several times a day at home with a blood glucose monitor, which uses a drop of blood from your finger. A better measure of how well your diabetes is being managed, however, is a blood test called the A1C.
The A1C test involves a blood test that measures the percentage of hemoglobin proteins in your blood that are bound to sugar. In a more practical sense, these tests show how well your blood sugar levels have been managed in the last two to three months.
Instead of relying on occasional blood glucose tests that can spike or drop for many reasons, A1C tests provide a more accurate picture of how well your diabetes has been managed on average across the preceding three months.
Some people are diagnosed with diabetes using the A1C test, and doctors often recommend that those with prediabetes should get a yearly A1C test. Those with diabetes who don’t use insulin may only need two of these tests per year. People who use insulin, or struggle to keep blood sugar levels within their target range, may get four A1C tests per year.
A1C tests don’t require any preparation for fasting beforehand, so you can have this blood test any time of the day, even after eating and drinking normally.
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Risk Of High Blood Sugar
- Not utilizing sufficient insulin or oral diabetes medications
- Not injecting insulin appropriately or utilizing expired insulin
- Avoiding or not following your diabetes eating plan
- Being inactive
- Having a disease or infection
- Utilizing certain prescriptions, like steroids
- Being harmed or having a surgery
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.
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How Do I Check My Blood Glucose
Picture 1: Poke the side of the finger with the lancet
What Do My Results Mean
When you finish the blood sugar check, write down your results and note what factors may have affected them, such as food, activity, and stress. Take a close look at your blood glucose record to see if your level is too high or too low several days in a row at about the same time. If the same thing keeps happening, it might be time to change your diabetes care plan. Work with your doctor or diabetes educator to learn what your results mean for you. It can take time to make adjustments and get things just right. And do ask your doctor if you should report results out of a certain range right away by phone.
Keep in mind that blood glucose results often trigger strong feelings. Blood sugar numbers can leave you upset, confused, frustrated, angry, or down. It’s easy to use the numbers to judge yourself. Remind yourself that tracking your blood sugar level is simply a way to know how well your diabetes care plan is working, and whether that plan may need to change.
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Your Blood Sugar Isnt Just Because Of What You Eat
Mainstream media would have you believe that your blood sugar levels are impacted only by what you eat and how much you exercise, but people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who test their blood sugars frequently could tell you otherwise.
Its especially important to keep this mind when looking at your own blood sugars and your goals because there are certain variables and challenges that impact blood sugar levels that you cant always control.
- Menstrual cycles: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Adrenaline rushes from competitive sports, heated arguments, rollercoaster rides: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- The common cold and other illnesses: usually raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Hormonal changes due to puberty and healthy growth in young adults: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- An injury which raises overall inflammation levels: raises blood sugar and insulin needs
- Glucogenesis during anaerobic exercise: raises blood sugar
While you cant necessarily prevent these factors that affect your blood sugar from occurring, you can work with your diabetes healthcare team to adjust your insulin, other diabetes medications, nutrition and activity levels to help compensate for them when they do occur.
For example, when engaging in anaerobic exercise like weightlifting many people with type 1 diabetes find it necessary to take a small bolus of insulin prior to or during their workout because anaerobic exercise can actually raise blood sugar.
What Should Your Blood Sugar Be When You Wake Up
Whenever possible, aim to keep your glucose levels in range between 70 and 130 mg/dL in the morning before you eat breakfast, and between 70 and 180 mg/dL at other times. For some people, including older adults or pregnant women, a slightly looser or tighter glucose range might be best, and you should discuss with your healthcare provider what your goals may be.
Managing your glucose levels is key to preventing short and long-term complications. Though the occasional high blood glucose wont put you in immediate danger consistently high glucose levels over a long period of time are associated with complications of diabetes such as heart disease and stroke, chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, eye disease and more.
Additionally, high glucose levels especially in people with type 1 diabetes can put you in immediate danger. These high levels, if combined with high blood ketone levels, can cause diabetic ketoacidosis , a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when a person has high blood ketones and not enough insulin. Symptoms of DKA include shortness of breath, fruity-smelling breath, nausea and vomiting, confusion, or loss of consciousness.
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