Talking With Your Doctor About Your Target Blood Sugar Levels
In general, your target will be 80130 mg/dl before a meal and less than 180 mg/dl after a meal.
In addition to daily monitoring, your doctor will measure your HbA1c at regular intervals. This blood test helps your doctor understand if your treatment plan is working to control your blood sugar levels. An ideal HBA1c level should not exceed 7%.
Carrying out this test will also help you and your doctor determine the next step to take in your diabetes management plan.
What Are Blood Sugar Levels
Your blood sugar levels, also known as blood glucose levels, are a measurement that show how much glucose you have in your blood. Glucose is a sugar that you get from food and drink. Your blood sugar levels go up and down throughout the day and for people living with diabetes these changes are larger and happen more often than in people who don’t have diabetes.
Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar Level
Hypoglycemia is a condition in which your blood sugar levels are too low. It can occur if you dont eat for a while or have diabetes and take too much insulin.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can include:
- Having a fast heartbeat
If you have diabetes and think you might be experiencing hypoglycemia, its essential to check your blood sugar levels immediately. Furthermore, if theyre low, eat or drink something that will raise your blood sugar levels quickly, such as fruit juice, hard candy, crackers with peanut butter, or milk.
If an individual has diabetes, they need to keep their blood sugar levels. One can do this by managing their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
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When Should I Check My Childs Blood Sugar
The diabetes care team will tell you when to check your childs blood sugar. Most kids and teens need to test:
- before each meal
- before, during, and after exercise
Sometimes you may need to test more often, even while your child sleeps. For example, if:
- Your child was recently diagnosed with diabetes.
- Your child is sick.
- Your child is having a lot of high or low blood sugars.
- There are changes in your childs diabetes treatment or daily habits.
How Do I Prepare For A Blood Glucose Test
If your healthcare provider has ordered a fasting blood glucose test, youll need to not eat or drink anything except water for eight to 10 hours before the test.
If your blood glucose test is part of a basic or comprehensive metabolic panel, you may also need to fast for several hours before your blood draw. In any case, your healthcare provider will let you know if you need to follow any special instructions.
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How Do I Pick A Glucose Meter
Your doctor will make a recommendation. Check with your health insurance plan to see if it will pay for your BGM, its supplies, or a CGM. If so, your plan may only pay for a certain meter.
Shop around and compare costs. Consider what features are important to you. For example, some meters are made for people who have poor eyesight. If you want to pay a little more money, you can get a BGM that stores the results in its memory. This allows you to compare results from several days at one time.
Who Should Be Tested
Early testing for diabetes is important since the disease is reversible. Lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and incorporating regular exercise to lose weight, can help. Many people with type 2 diabetes don’t know they have it, so if you’re experiencing diabetes symptoms or are at risk, it’s a good idea to get tested for diabetes.
Reasons to be tested for type 2 diabetes include:
- Having overweight or obesity
- Impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, or prediabetes diagnosis
- Blood pressure reading of 140/90 millimeters of mercury or higher
- High-density lipoprotein cholesterol lower than 35 mg/dL or a triglyceride level 250 mg/dL or higher
- Family members with diabetes
- Identify as a race or ethnicity with a higher prevalence of diabetes diagnoses
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A1c Tests Can Be Affected By Changes In Red Blood Cells Or Hemoglobin
Conditions that change the life span of red blood cells, such as recent blood loss, sickle cell disease, erythropoietin treatment, hemodialysis, or transfusion, can change A1C levels.
A falsely high A1C result can occur in people who are very low in iron for example, those with iron-deficiency anemia. Other causes of false A1C results include kidney failure or liver disease.
If youre of African, Mediterranean, or Southeast Asian descent or have family members with sickle cell anemia or a thalassemia, an A1C test can be unreliable for diagnosing or monitoring diabetes and prediabetes. People in these groups may have a different type of hemoglobin, known as a hemoglobin variant, which can interfere with some A1C tests. Most people with a hemoglobin variant have no symptoms and may not know that they carry this type of hemoglobin. Health care professionals may suspect interferencea falsely high or low resultwhen your A1C and blood glucose test results dont match.
Not all A1C tests are unreliable for people with a hemoglobin variant. People with false results from one type of A1C test may need a different type of A1C test to measure their average blood glucose level. The NGSP provides information for health care professionals about which A1C tests are appropriate to use for specific hemoglobin variants.
What Is Blood Glucose
Glucose mainly comes from carbohydrates in the food and drinks you consume. Its your bodys main source of energy. Your blood carries glucose to all of your bodys cells to use for energy.
Several bodily processes help keep your blood glucose in a healthy range. Insulin, a hormone your pancreas makes, is the most significant contributor to maintaining healthy blood sugar.
If you have elevated blood glucose levels , it usually indicates diabetes. Diabetes develops when your pancreas doesnt make any insulin or enough insulin or your body isnt responding to the effects of insulin properly.
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How To Check Blood Sugar Without A Meter
Diabetes is a chronic condition where the body either doesnt make enough insulin or doesnt use insulin properly or both. This can lead to a higher than normal blood sugar level.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to complications, such as:
For these reasons, its important to monitor your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
Prior to using meters, people with diabetes would monitor their blood sugar by testing their urine. This method, however, wasnt as accurate, nor did it provide real-time results.
If you self-test your blood sugar several times a day using a glucometer, or meter, it requires that you prick your finger to draw blood to test. Due to the discomfort of this method, you might look for a way to monitor your level without this tool.
If finger pricks are very bothersome for you, dont worry theres hope. Advances in blood sugar monitoring technology could mean no more finger pricks in the future.
If you have diabetes, there are several portable devices you can use to check your blood sugar level and not all of them require a finger prick.
How The Test Is Done
You can buy a testing kit from a pharmacy without a prescription. Your provider can help you choose the right kit, set up the meter, and teach you how to use it.
Most kits have:
- Small needles that fit into a spring-loaded plastic device
- A logbook for recording your numbers that can be downloaded and viewed at home or at your provider’s office
To do the test, prick your finger with the needle and place a drop of blood on a special strip. This strip measures how much glucose is in your blood. Some monitors use blood from areas of the body other than the fingers, reducing discomfort. The meter shows your blood sugar results as a number on a digital display. If your vision is poor, talking glucose meters are available so that you don’t have to read the numbers.
Be aware that no meter or strip is accurate 100% of the time. If your blood sugar value is unexpectedly high or low, measure again with a new strip. Do not use strips if the container has been left open or if the strip has gotten wet.
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Who Is Most At Risk Of Developing Diabetes
There are known risk factors for developing diabetes, these include:
- Being overweight or obese a BMI of 27 kg/m2 for people of Mori, Pacific or South Asian ethnicities, or 30 kg/m2 for people of other ethnicities.
- Having a father, brother, mother or sister who developed type 2 diabetes at an early age, e.g. < 40 years.
- Having severe mental illness, particularly if you are on long-term antipsychotic treatment.
- Having heart disease or stroke.
These people should have regular screening tests for diabetes and prediabetes. Prediabetes is when blood glucose levels are higher than they should be but are not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis to be made. Read more about prediabetes.
Make A Note Of Your Readings
It may sound obvious, but you must record your readings. Note them down in a diary, a notebook or in your phone calendar. Some meters have software that lets you do this. You could try a diabetes app too.
You and your healthcare team can then look back over your results to see if you need to adjust your treatment.
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How Often Should I Test My Blood Sugar Level
Your family doctor will recommend how often you should test. Testing times are based on the kind of medicine you take and on how well your blood sugar levels are controlled. Youll probably need to check your blood sugar more often at first. Youll also check it more often when you feel sick or stressed, when you change your medicine, or if youre pregnant.
Get Your Blood Glucose Meter Ready
Figure 11. Put the test strip into the port
Your meter should beep and turn on after you put the test strip in the port. If it does not:
- Make sure you pushed the test strip all the way into the port.
- Make sure the end of the test strip with the grey square is in the port.
- Make sure the printed side of the test strip is facing you.
Your blood glucose meter is now ready. It will stay on for 3 minutes after you put in the test strip. If you do not apply a drop of blood to the tip of the test strip in that time, it will beep and turn off. If this happens, pull the test strip out and put it back into the port.
Do not apply blood to the test strip before you put it into the meter or when the meter is off. If you do, that strip will be ruined. Youll have to start over with a new one.
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Can The A1c Test Result In A Different Diagnosis Than The Blood Glucose Tests
Yes. In some people, a blood glucose test may show diabetes when an A1C test does not. The reverse can also occuran A1C test may indicate diabetes even though a blood glucose test does not. Because of these differences in test results, health care professionals repeat tests before making a diagnosis.
People with differing test results may be in an early stage of the disease, when blood glucose levels have not risen high enough to show up on every test. In this case, health care professionals may choose to follow the person closely and repeat the test in several months.
What Does A High Blood Glucose Level Mean
If your fasting blood glucose level is 100 to 125 mg/dL , it usually means you have prediabetes. People with prediabetes have up to a 50% chance of developing Type 2 diabetes over the next five to 10 years. But you can take steps to prevent Type 2 diabetes from developing.
If your fasting blood glucose level is 126 mg/dl or higher on more than one testing occasion, it usually means you have diabetes.
In either of these cases, your provider will likely order a glycated hemoglobin test before diagnosing you with prediabetes or diabetes. An A1c shows your average blood sugar over a few months.
There are a few different types of diabetes. The most common forms are:
- Type 2 diabetes : T2D happens when your pancreas doesnt make enough insulin or your body doesnt use insulin well , resulting in high blood glucose levels. This is the most common type of diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes : T1D is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas for unknown reasons. Your pancreas can no longer produce insulin. At diagnosis, people with Type 1 diabetes usually have very high blood glucose .
- Gestational diabetes: This condition can develop in pregnant people usually appearing during the middle of pregnancy, between 24 and 28 weeks. The high blood sugar goes away once the pregnancy is over. Pregnant people have screenings for gestational diabetes with a glucose challenge test and/or glucose tolerance test.
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Cut Sugar And Refined Carbohydrates From Your Diet
Eating foods high in refined carbohydrates and sugar increases blood sugar and insulin levels, which may lead to diabetes over time. Examples of refined carbohydrates include white bread, potatoes, and many breakfast bowls of cereal. Instead, limit sugar and choose complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, oatmeal, and whole grains.
Why Should A Person Get The A1c Test
Testing can help health care professionals
- find prediabetes and counsel you about lifestyle changes to help you delay or prevent type 2 diabetes
- find type 2 diabetes
- work with you to monitor the disease and help make treatment decisions to prevent complications
If you have risk factors for prediabetes or diabetes, talk with your doctor about whether you should be tested.
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A1c Results And What The Numbers Mean
|Diabetes||6.5 percent or above|
When using the A1C test for diagnosis, your doctor will send your blood sample taken from a vein to a lab that uses an NGSP-certified method. The NGSP, formerly called the National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program, certifies that makers of A1C tests provide results that are consistent and comparable with those used in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial.
Blood samples analyzed in a doctors office or clinic, known as point-of-care tests, should not be used for diagnosis.
The A1C test should not be used to diagnose type 1 diabetes, gestational diabetes, or cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. The A1C test may give false results in people with certain conditions.
Having prediabetes is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Within the prediabetes A1C range of 5.7 to 6.4 percent, the higher the A1C, the greater the risk of diabetes.
What Is Blood Glucose Testing
Blood glucose testing is the process used to measure the concentration of glucose in your blood. Blood glucose testing can be carried out at home using a blood glucose meter
A blood test involves pricking your finger with a small needle called a lancet, drawing a drop of blood from the finger and applying it to a test strip that has been engaged into a blood glucose meter.
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Random Blood Sugar Test
This measures your blood sugar at the time youre tested. You can take this test at any time and dont need to fast first. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.
|140 mg/dL or below||N/A|
*Results for gestational diabetes can differ. Ask your health care provider what your results mean if youre being tested for gestational diabetes.Source: American Diabetes Association
If your doctor thinks you have type 1 diabetes, your blood may also tested for autoantibodies that are often present in type 1 diabetes but not in type 2 diabetes. You may have your urine tested for ketones , which also indicate type 1 diabetes instead of type 2 diabetes.