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.
How To Check Blood Sugar
A glucometer is used to determine blood sugar levels. Only a drop of blood is needed. People with diabetes will use a specialized pen to prick a finger. The blood droplet will is placed on a disposable test strip and the glucometer relays the results on a computerized screen. Blood can be taken from any part of the body however, the results are most accurate when taken from the fingers.
Continuous glucose monitors are another option. A small sensor with a needle is attached to the skin. The sensor reads the blood glucose levels every few minutes. The information is relayed back to a data receiver. The data receiver can be carried in a pocket or purse. Alarms can be set to go off if glucose reaches certain levels. Many factors can affect insulin levels. CGMs relay more accurate results than finger pricks secondary to continuous glucose monitoring around the clock.
Blood Sugar Monitoring: When To Check And Why
Managing diabetes is one part investigation and two parts action. Unlike some other diseases that rely primarily on professional medical treatment, diabetes treatment requires active participation by the person who has it. Monitoring your blood sugar level on a regular basis and analyzing the results is believed by many to be a crucial part of the treatment equation.
When someone is first diagnosedwith diabetes, he is usually given a blood sugar meter and told how and when to use it, as well as what numbers to shoot for. However, the advice a person receives on when to monitor and what the results should be generally depend on his type of diabetes, age and state of overall health. It can also depend on a health-care providers philosophy of care and which set of diabetes care guidelines he follows. At least three major health organizations have published slightly different recommendations regarding goals for blood sugar levels.
There is some common ground when it comes to blood sugar monitoring practices. For example, most people take a fasting reading before breakfast every morning. Some people also monitor before lunch, dinner and bedtime some monitor after each meal and some monitor both before and after all meals. However, when monitoring after meals, some people do it two hours after the first bite of the meal, while others prefer to check one hour after the start of a meal.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
When visiting your doctor, you might keep these questions in mind to ask during your appointment.
- What is my target blood sugar range?
- How often should I check my blood sugar?
- What do these numbers mean?
- Are there patterns that show I need to change my diabetes treatment?
- What changes need to be made to my diabetes care plan?
If you have other questions about your numbers or your ability to manage your diabetes, make sure to work closely with your doctor or health care team.
The Big Picture: Checking Your Blood Sugar
Blood sugar monitoring is the primary tool you have to find out if your blood glucose levels are within your target range. This tells you your blood glucose level at any one time.
Its important for blood sugar levels to stay in a healthy range. If glucose levels get too low, we can lose the ability to think and function normally. If they get too high and stay high, it can cause damage or complications to the body over the course of many years.
The logging of your results is vital. When you bring your log to your healthcare provider, youll have a good picture of your body’s response to your diabetes care plan. To help keep track of your levels, we have a glucose log. We also have a blood glucose log available for purchase that is smaller so you can carry it with you.
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How Do I Pay For These Tests And Supplies
Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and some of the cost of supplies for checking your blood sugar. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low cost or free supplies. Ask your health care team what to do if you run out of test strips. For more information about Medicare and diabetes, go to .
Are Fingersticks Necessary On Dexcom G6 Or Freestyle Libre Cgm
Lets talk about when to check your blood sugars when youre using a CGM like Dexcom G6 or libre. The CGM companies like Dexcom or freestyle Libre or Medtronic, they all advertise no finger stick. No finger sticks are true to a point but they dont really tell you downsides of the products they sell. Heres what happens if youre on CGM: Any CGM is somewhat delayed when the blood sugars are changing rapidly. If you check the fingerstick you will see that if your blood sugars are changing rapidly your Dexcom is not going to be true. One typical example that a lot of people do wrong is this.
Dexcom G6 will show that their blood sugar is low and its true. Its typically low when it says so. Its generally correct although freestyle libre has not been the most correct CGM,. Anyhow, then you eat something, and then Dexcom will keep it showing still low. They end up to keep eating more and more and next, you see blood sugar is 300.
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Ahmet Ergin, MD, FACE, CDCES, ECNU Endocrinology
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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
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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The Importance Of Checking Blood Sugar Levels
Besides helping to keep blood sugar levels under control, checking them according to the diabetes management plan will help you and your child:
- feel more aware and in control of what is happening with your child’s diabetes
- prevent short-term diabetes symptoms and future health problems
- troubleshoot problems and make changes to the diabetes management plan promptly and effectively
- better understand of the impact of food, exercise, and medicines on blood sugar levels
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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What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels
- Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
- Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
- Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
- Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
- Drink water instead of juice or soda.
- Limit alcoholic drinks.
- For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
- Control your food portions .
How Do I Test My Blood Sugar Levels
Testing your blood sugar levels can be done in a few different ways. Anyone can have the testing done quickly at a doctor’s office, but people with diabetes or other illnesses that can affect blood sugar may need to know what it is on a daily basis. Checking your blood sugar levels at home can typically be done with either a urine test or a blood test. Of the two types of tests, a blood test is generally considered to be the most accurate. The instructions for both urine and blood tests may vary depending on the manufacturer of the test, but most work in a similar manner.
To check your blood sugar levels using a urine test, you will need some specialized urine test strips. These may be given to you by your doctor or purchased at various pharmacies. The process of checking the blood sugar with a urine test involves urinating into a cup and dipping the urine test strip into the urine sample. The strip changes colors to show where your blood sugar is at. These tests normally come with a color-coded reference chart so that you can compare your test results to the chart to find out what your levels are.
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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.
When To Check Blood Sugar
Testing frequency will depend largely on a persons lifestyle, diet, and medications. Testing should be performed before meals and snacks, before/after exercise, and before bed. Medicines for other medical conditions can alter the effectiveness of diabetic treatment plans. When starting new medications or changing routines, extra blood glucose monitoring may be necessary. Depending on what type of insulin and medications, a person dramatically affects the frequency of checking sugars. Speaking to the physician who is monitoring the diabetic regimen about glucose checks is the best approach.
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When Should I Check My Blood Sugar
How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.
Typical times to check your blood sugar include:
- When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.
- Before a meal.
- Two hours after a meal.
- At bedtime.
If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after youre physically active.
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.
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How To Stay In Target
Eating healthy, exercising and taking medication, if necessary, will help you keep your blood sugar levels within their target range. Target ranges for blood sugar can vary depending on your age, medical condition and other risk factors.
Targets are different for pregnant women, older adults and children 12 years of age and under.
How Do I Measure My Blood Sugar Level
Follow your doctors advice and the instructions that come with the BGM or CGM. Different meters work differently, so be sure to check with your doctor for advice specifically for you. With a BGM, youll usually follow the steps below:
- Wash your hands and dry them well before doing the test.
- Use an alcohol pad to clean the area that youre going to prick. For most glucose meters, you will prick your fingertip. However, with some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh, or the fleshy part of your hand. Ask your doctor what area you should use with your meter.
- Prick yourself with a sterile lancet to get a drop of blood.
- Place the drop of blood on the test strip.
- Follow the instructions for inserting the test strip into your glucose meter.
- The meter will give you a number for your blood sugar level.
If you have a CGM, youll follow the insertion directions that come with the monitor. Once its warmed up, the transmitter wirelessly sends the data to your computer or smartphone.
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