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.
Why Test Blood Sugar Levels
If you take certain medication, like insulin or sulphonylureas, checking your blood sugars is a vital part of living with diabetes. It can help you work out when you need to take more medication, when you need to eat something or for when you want to get up and move around more.
Routine checks can help you know when you might be starting to go too low or too high . Its a way of getting to know your body and how it works. It can help you and your healthcare team spot patterns too. Do you write your results down? You might find that helpful.
But importantly, it will help you stay healthy and prevent serious diabetes complications now and in the future. By complications, we mean serious problems in places like your feet and your eyes. This happens because too much sugar in the blood damages your blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow around your body. This can lead to very serious problems like sight loss and needing an amputation.
The higher your blood sugar levels are and the longer theyre high for, the more at risk you are.
Who Can Use A Cgm
CGMs are approved for use by adults and children with a doctors prescription. Some models may be used for children as young as age 2. Your doctor may recommend a CGM if you or your child:
- are on intensive insulin therapy, also called tight blood sugar control
- have hypoglycemia unawareness
- often have high or low blood glucose
Your doctor may suggest using a CGM system all the time or only for a few days to help adjust your diabetes care plan.
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What Happens With The Test Results
Your childs health care team can look at the data online when you need them to or at clinic visits. They will review your child’s glucose levels to look for patterns, like high or low sugars at certain times of the day. Patterns can help the doctor adjust medicines and the dietitian make diet changes.
If your childs glucose level is higher or lower than you expect from time to time, try not to get discouraged. Ask your childs care team if there are some changes you should try. Together youll figure out the best way to keep your childs sugar in the healthy range as much as possible.
Tips For Checking Your Blood Sugar With Less Pain
Fingertips have more nerve endings, so this part of the finger tends to be the most sensitive.
If you use a finger prick to check your blood sugar level, a few techniques can make the process less painful whether youre using a glucometer or a continuous glucose monitor.
Blood sugar testing is crucial to diabetes management because high or low blood sugar can cause severe complications. If too much blood sugar accumulates in your bloodstream, you can experience major complications such as:
- difficulty speaking
Blood sugar can fluctuate throughout the day especially after meals, after exercising, and during stressful events. So its important to carefully monitor your blood sugar and keep it within a healthy range.
A blood sugar level less than 140 milligrams per deciliter , but greater than 70 mg/dL is typically considered in the target range.
You should check your blood sugar regularly, even if you arent experiencing symptoms of a high or low glucose level. Some people with high and low blood sugar dont have any symptoms.
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Why Would I Need This Test
You might need this test if you are at risk of developing diabetes, or if you have had any symptoms or test results suggesting diabetes.
The standard blood glucose tests measure your blood sugar level at a particular time. The OGTT measures how you respond to glucose.
Pregnant women can develop a particular type of diabetes called gestational diabetes, and will be asked to have an OGTT around 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born.
Weighing Your Risk Factors
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If You Have Questions About Your Diagnosis
It’s usually difficult to take in everything the GP tells you during the appointment.
Talk to family and friends about what the GP told you, and write down any questions you have.
Then make another GP appointment and take your list of questions with you.
There’s also a lot of information on diabetes available.
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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.
Where To Buy Supplies
Talk with your diabetes healthcare provider to get a refill prescription for blood glucose test strips and lancets. You must get refills from your local pharmacy. MSKs outpatient pharmacy does not carry these supplies.
If your blood glucose meter is battery-powered, make sure to always have extra batteries. The Contour Next One blood glucose meter uses 2 CR-2032 batteries. You can buy these batteries online or at your local electronics store, hardware store, or supermarket.
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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.
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.
When Would I Need A Blood Glucose Test
There are three main reasons why you may need a blood glucose test:
- Your healthcare provider may have ordered routine bloodwork called a basic metabolic panel or a comprehensive metabolic panel , which both include a glucose blood test.
- You may be having symptoms of high blood sugar or low blood sugar, which could indicate diabetes or another condition.
- If you take a long-term medication that affects your blood sugar levels, such as corticosteroids, you may need routine glucose blood tests to monitor your levels.
The most common use of a blood glucose test is to screen for Type 2 diabetes , which is a common condition. Certain people are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. If you have risk factors, your provider will likely recommend regular screening no matter your age. The American Diabetes Association recommends regular screening for anyone age 35 or older.
Your provider will also order a blood glucose test if you have symptoms of high blood sugar or low blood sugar .
Symptoms of diabetes and high blood sugar include:
- Feeling very thirsty .
- Intense hunger.
- Anxiousness or irritability.
You need to consume carbohydrates to treat hypoglycemia, such as a banana or apple juice. Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.
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Completing Your Blood Sugar Routine
What Is Being Tested
This test measures the amount of glucose in your blood. Glucose is a simple sugar that provides energy for the body.
People with diabetes often monitor their own blood glucose at home. This is done using a finger-prick test and a special machine, rather than a blood sample taken from a vein.
You might have blood taken for a blood sugar level. You might or might not be asked to fast beforehand.
There is also a test called an oral glucose tolerance test, abbreviated as OGTT or GTT. For this test you fast, then have a blood sample taken, then drink glucose, then have a number of samples taken over a few hours.
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How To Test Your Blood Sugar At Home
Follow these steps:
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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Tests For Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests. Youll probably be tested between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If your risk is higher for getting gestational diabetes , your doctor may test you earlier. Blood sugar thats higher than normal early in your pregnancy may indicate you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes rather than gestational diabetes.
When To Talk With A Pro
Testing your blood sugar is crucial to diabetes management. Using a meter or continuous glucose monitoring can provide accurate results. But you might seek a pain-free method to check blood sugar.
Talk with your doctor or a certified diabetes educator. You might be a candidate for a glucose monitoring device that involves fewer finger pricks or no finger pricks.
Additionally, making a few adjustments in the way you collect your blood sample might reduce the level of pain and discomfort.
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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.
Special Features Of A Cgm
CGMs are always on and recording glucose levelswhether youre showering, working, exercising, or sleeping. Many CGMs have special features that work with information from your glucose readings:
- An alarm can sound when your glucose level goes too low or too high.
- You can note your meals, physical activity, and medicines in a CGM device, too, alongside your glucose levels.
- You can download data to a computer or smart device to more easily see your glucose trends.
Some models can send information right away to a second persons smartphoneperhaps a parent, partner, or caregiver. For example, if a childs glucose drops dangerously low overnight, the CGM could be set to wake a parent in the next room.
Currently, one CGM model is approved for treatment decisions, the Dexcom G5 Mobile. That means you can make changes to your diabetes care plan based on CGM results alone. With other models, you must first confirm a CGM reading with a finger-stick blood glucose test before you take insulin or treat hypoglycemia.
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