Monitoring Glucose Reduces Hba1c In Type 1 And 2 Diabetes
You may already be aware that self-monitoring glucose levels is supposed to help. But did you know that continuous glucose monitoring can be even more beneficial than the standard finger-prick method?
One study found that self-checking blood sugar levels using a continuous blood glucose monitor significantly reduced hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c compared to standard glucose testing in the management of those with type 1 diabetes. Researchers have found similar benefits for type 2 diabetes management.
This may be due to 24/7 data on glucose levels allowing you to see what foods your body reacts well to. It also becomes easier for you to connect the dots and learn how to better manage your levels.
CGMs require less attention from the user. They only require minimal scanning every eight hours or less and you can have access to your glucose levels throughout that time. With a glucometer or finger-prick method, you may forget or feel aversive to pricking your finger multiple times a day.
Researchers also describe that continuous glucose monitoring can allow people to measure silent hypo or hyperglycemia .
Regardless of if you are using standard glucose testing at home or a continuous monitor, regular self-monitoring can be beneficial for improving HbA1c and managing diabetes.
What Is Normal Fasting Blood Sugar And What Is A Diabetes Blood Sugar Level
The results of the fasting blood sugar test will come back as a number:
- 99 mg/dL or lower: This is a normal fasting blood sugar level.
- 100125 mg/dL: Fasting blood sugar in this range typically indicates prediabetes. This means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
- 126 mg/dL or above: This indicates high blood sugar, the main sign of diabetes.
If you have a high fasting blood sugar level, your healthcare provider may repeat the test to make sure. If the test reveals that you have prediabetes, your healthcare provider will recommend you repeat the fasting blood sugar test every year or two. The results will help you know whether you are progressing to Type 2 diabetes.
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What Are Blood Sugar Targets
A blood sugar target is the range you try to reach as much as possible. These are typical targets:
- Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL.
- Two hours after the start of a meal: Less than 180 mg/dL.
Your blood sugar targets may be different depending on your age, any additional health problems you have, and other factors. Be sure to talk to your health care team about which targets are best for you.
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When Is The Best Time To Check Your Blood Sugar With Type 2 And No Medicine
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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
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What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels
You might want to measure your blood sugar before meals to get a baseline, and then two hours after your meal to measure your normal blood sugar level. Your doctor might also suggest measuring blood sugar before bed to be sure you have been eating well throughout the day and can go to sleep with peace of mind.
These are considered within the range of normal:
- Less than 140 mg/dl if you do not have diabetes.
- Less than 180 mg/dl if you have diabetes.
Noninvasive Methods Of Blood Glucose Monitoring
With biotechnology advancements, companies are developing noninvasive blood sugar monitoring methods. Recent technologies, still under investigation, include:
- D-Base, with a tabletop sensor that you place your finger on
- GlucoTrack, with a sensor that you clip onto your finger or earlobe
- , with a sensor that you place in the inner eyelid
- SugarBEAT, with a sensor in the form of a patch that you wear on the skin
- GlucoWise, with a sensor that you hold between your thumb and index finger
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Are Cholesterol Home Test Kits Regulated By The Fda
The FDA does regulate certain cholesterol home test kits. There are home test kits for HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, too. However, not all cholesterol home test kits you can buy meet the FDAs stringent guidelines.
If you are unsure about which cholesterol home test kit to purchase, the FDA has set up the Over-The-Counter Database. You can find it on the FDAs website. This database is an excellent resource to search for FDA-cleared cholesterol home test kits. You can also use it to find other types of home test kits.
Testing Blood Glucose Levels With Fingersticks And A Glucose Meter
When testing your blood glucose levels through a finger prick test, its important to follow the directions of your doctor or the instructions on the glucose meter. Its important never to share glucose monitoring equipment, as this can lead to infection.
Some general guidelines for testing blood glucose levels include:
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What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Continuous glucose monitoring allows you to know your blood sugar level at any time. This helps you notice patterns in blood sugar, and it can help you make decisions about food, exercise and medications. A continuous glucose monitor works with a tiny sensor thats inserted under your skin, often in your abdomen or arm. The sensor measures your blood sugar every few minutes and sends the reading to the monitor, which you can keep in your pocket. Some monitors transmit blood sugar readings directly to an app or phone. Continuous glucose monitors can be part of an insulin pump or an individual device.
Most people who use continuous glucose monitors have type 1 diabetes. Your health care provider may suggest using this tool if youre on intensive insulin therapy , have hypoglycemia unawareness or often have high or low blood sugar.
Testing your blood sugar at home as often as directed can help you learn if your diabetes treatment plan is working. Work with your health care team to learn how to interpret patterns in your readings and make adjustments in your food, exercise and medication regimen to help keep your blood sugar in a healthy range.
Originally published on June 14, 2013 clinically reviewed and updated June 17, 2021
What Medications Do You Take For Type 2 Diabetes
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Preparation For A Cholesterol Test
In some cases, your doctor may ask you to fast before having your cholesterol levels tested. If youre only getting your HDL and total cholesterol levels checked, you may be able to eat beforehand. However, if youre having a complete lipid profile done, you should avoid eating or drinking anything other than water for nine to 12 hours before your test.
Before your test, you should also tell your doctor about:
- any symptoms or health problems youre experiencing
- your family history of heart health
- all medications and supplements that youre currently taking
If youre taking medications that could increase your cholesterol levels, such as birth control pills, your doctor may ask you to stop taking them a few days before your test.
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Reduce And Manage Stress
Stress increases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to imbalances in your blood sugar and in many other hormones. Experiencing some stress from time to time is normal, but chronic stress can have serious consequences on your health and raise your blood sugar levels.
Proven ways to decrease stress are regular exercise, stretching, meditation, yoga practice, deep breathing, mindfulness practices, listening to music, family time, making time for self-care, and hobbies. Just 10 to 30 minutes a day of consistent practice of one or more of the above can make a huge difference in well-being, Dr. Raja advises.
Following a regular sleep routine, avoiding excessive screen time, and adjusting your work schedule to make time self-care is also important. I am a big proponent of taking time for self-care, family, and hobbies. These activities bring you joy and result in better health.
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What To Do For A High Blood Sugar Reading
You have high blood sugar when you get a reading:
- above your target level, which your doctor can determine
- above 130
milligrams of glucose per deciliter before eating
- higher than 180 mg/dl 2 hours after the start of a meal
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, if you get a high blood sugar reading, you should drink a glass of water and exercise to use up glucose. If you have more than three high readings in 2 weeks, contact your doctor about next steps. You may need to change your treatment plan.
What Do My Results Mean
When you finish the blood glucose 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 glucose numbers can leave you upset, confused, frustrated, angry, or down. Its easy to use the numbers to judge yourself. Remind yourself that tracking your blood glucose 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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How To Reduce Your Blood Sugar Level Naturally
Its possible to reduce your blood sugar level naturally without medication. However, you will need to make one or more significant lifestyle changes that promote better overall health and decrease insulin resistance or increase insulin sensitivity. Follow the below steps to lower your blood sugar naturally.
Dr. Raja gives her five tips that can help reduce your blood sugar, The first thing is to eat a low carb diet, low in starchy foods, highly processed foods or concentrated sugars. Second is to regularly exercise, a minimum of 30 minutes five days a week. The third way is to incorporate some form of strength conditioning, simple body weight exercises that help build muscle, since muscle decreases insulin sensitivity. The fourth way is intermittent fasting and the fifth is weight loss, even a few pounds. All these should help patients lower their insulin resistance, and lower their blood sugar naturally.
When And How Often To Check Levels
How often you should test your childâs blood sugar levels each day and when depends on a number of things and can even change from day to day. In general, most kids with diabetes test their blood sugar levels before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and at bedtime.
They may need to check more often when theyâre sick or if there are changes in their diabetes treatment or daily habits. They may also need to check more often if they use an insulin pump or have a management plan that aims for very close control of blood sugar levels. The diabetes health care team can advise you on how often and when to check.
Sometimes parents need to check their childâs blood sugar levels in the middle of the night. For example, kids having problems with hypoglycemia episodes may need middle-of-the-night tests. And those whoâve just been diagnosed with diabetes may need more frequent tests while they and their families are learning how insulin or other diabetes medicines affect blood sugar levels.
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Do Not Drive When You Have Low Blood Sugar
Its very dangerous. If youre driving and you have hypoglycemia symptoms, pull off the road, check your blood sugar, and eat a sugary food. Wait at least 15 minutes, check your blood sugar, and repeat these steps if necessary. Eat a protein and carbohydrate source before you drive on.
Be prepared. Keep a sugar source in your car at all times for emergencies.
Diabetes Testing And Monitoring
If you have diabetes, blood glucose monitoring can help you keep your glucose levels within a target range by balancing food, exercise and insulin, reducing your chances of diabetes complications. A range of testing and monitoring equipment is available to help people manage their diabetes. Your doctor or diabetes nurse or educator can advise you on the most appropriate equipment for you and your situation.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners recommends that if you have type 2 diabetes and take oral medication only, you should talk to your doctor or specialist about the need to test your blood sugar levels at home, as most people in this situation do not need to do this type of monitoring. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
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How Can I Tell If My Blood Sugar Is Irregular
Again, only a doctor can diagnose a problem with your blood sugar. But you may be wondering how to know if it’s something you should get checked out. There can be two main issues with your blood sugar — either it’s consistently too high or too low. Even if you don’t have diabetes, there are some signs that your blood sugar levels are not functioning normally.
Hypoglycemia is a condition in which your blood sugar is too low. Signs include an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, shakiness and tingling or numbness in your face. If you consistently feel this way when you get hungry or between meals, talk to your health care provider.
On the flip side, hyperglycemia happens when your blood sugar is too high, and can happen to nondiabetics. Symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst and headache. If you think you’re hyperglycemic and can’t keep fluids or food down, call for emergency medical assistance.
Common Alternatives To The Finger Prick Method
A continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, comes as a sensor, which is to be placed on your skin , with a patch on top to protect it.
These sensors are placed under your skin . These sensors directly measure glucose levels.
While the standard glucometer test measures the amount of glucose attached to red blood cells, a CGM measures interstitial glucose levels.
Usually, the patch stays attached, and the device measures your glucose levels every 15 minutesâeven as you sleep. It gives you 24/7 data on how your glucose levels fluctuate as you eat, sleep, and do your daily activities. Remember to scan your deceive to receive the data or that data will be lost.
2) Freestyle Libre
The freestyle libre is a specific type of CGM monitorâa discrete patch with a painless sensor attached. It automatically measures glucose levels. And once integrated with the app, you can start understanding your data to reach your health goals.
3) Urine Test
Urine testing for glucose levels is rarely done anymore, as better methods have become available. This type of testing involves using a dipstick to measure the amount of glucose present in the urine.
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