Commonly Asked Questions About Blood Sugar Levels
What is the difference between blood sugar and A1c?
Blood sugar is a daily reading while A1c is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar from the previous 3 month period.
You can read more about the difference between the two over here.
Will weight loss help with my diabetes management?
Yes, by default weight loss helps because it reduces inflammation in your body and improves overall metabolic function. However, weight loss alone wont lower blood sugar levels. You often have to make several diet and lifestyle changes to bring your levels within normal range.
Ive been prescribed Metformin, will that help with my blood glucose levels?
Yes, Metformin is one of the most commonly prescribed diabetes medications worldwide. It belongs to a class of medications known as Biguanides, which lower blood glucose by decreasing the amount of sugar put out by the liver. And it is one of the medications that does not increase weight gain.
We have detailed information about Metformin here.
Why does high blood sugar cause complications like neuropathy?
The body is designed to have a blood sugar level within a certain range, with a maximum of 140 after meals. Levels above normal for extended periods promote inflammation in the blood vessels throughout the body, along with damage to cells simply because the body isnt designed to operate with levels above normal.
What type of diet helps to lower blood sugar levels?
Is there a different blood sugar levels chart by age?
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.
What If I Have Trouble Getting To My Blood Sugar Goals
There may be times when you have trouble reaching your blood sugar goals. This does not mean that you have failed. It means that you and your health care team should see if changes are needed. Call your health care team if your blood sugar is often too high or too low. Taking action will help you be healthy today and in the future.
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How To Do A Test
For a video tutorial of how to conduct a test watch the video below:
- Wash your hands in warm water.
- Prick the side of your finger .
- Massage your finger from base to tip if necessary.
- Place a droplet of blood on the testing strip. You should follow the instructions on the pack precisely and always check the expiry date.
- Check visually or use a blood glucose meter.
- Keep the meter clean and care for it by following the instructions below.
- Record the result in your diary.
How do I look after my blood glucose meter?
- All meters come with instructions. You should read these and follow them closely.
- The manufacturer will normally have a helpline you can call for telephone advice.
- Dont forget to complete the warranty card and return it to the company.
- It is important to quality-control your meter regularly. You can buy a control solution for doing this.
Where do I get my strips and lancets?
Your GP will be able to prescribe the equipment you need to use your meter.
Be in control
Testing your blood glucose levels regularly is one sure way of finding out what’s happening to your body so that you control your diabetes and it doesnt control you. For further information have a look at Diabetes UK guide about monitoring your blood glucose levels.
What Type Of Insulin Is Best For My Diabetes
Your doctor will work with you to prescribe the type of insulin that’s best for you and your diabetes. Making that choice will depend on many things, including:
- How you respond to insulin.
- Lifestyle choices. The type of food you eat, how much alcohol you drink, or how much exercise you get will all affect how your body uses insulin.
- Your willingness to give yourself multiple injections per day
- Your age
- Your goals for managing your blood sugar
Your doctor may prescribe more than one type. You might need to take insulin more than once daily, to space your doses throughout the day, or to add other medicines.
Afrezza, a rapid-acting inhaled insulin, is FDA-approved for use before meals for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The drug peaks in your blood in about 15-20 minutes and it clears your body in 2-3 hours. It must be used along with long-acting insulin in people with type 1 diabetes.
The chart below lists the types of injectable insulin with details about onset , peak and duration . These three things may vary. The final column offers some insight into the “coverage” provided by the different insulin types in relation to mealtime.
|Type of Insulin & Brand Names||Onset|
|30 min.-2 1/2 hours||16-20 hours|
|*Premixed insulins combine specific amounts of intermediate-acting and short-acting insulin in one bottle or insulin pen.|
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What Does It Do
CGM measures the amount of glucose in the fluid inside your body. Different devices collect the information in different manners using tiny sensors. In some cases, the sensor is placed under the skin of your belly in a quick and painless fashion or, it can be adhered to the back of your arm. A transmitter on the sensor then sends the information to a wireless-pager-like monitor that you can clip on your belt.
The monitor displays your sugar levels at 1-, 5-, 10-, or 15-minute intervals. If your sugar drops to a dangerously low level or a high preset level, the monitor will sound an alarm.
In the past, only doctors could see the readings CGM systems collected. Now anyone can use the devices as part of at-home diabetes care. You can download data on your computer, tablet, or smartphone to see patterns and trends in your sugar levels. The information can help you and your doctor make the best plan for managing your diabetes, including:
- How much insulin you should take
- An exercise plan thatâs right for you
- The number of meals and snacks you need each day
- The correct types and doses of medications
CGM doesnât replace traditional home monitors. Youâll still need to measure your blood sugar with a regular glucose meter a few times a day to help the monitor stay accurate. Most monitors still require a finger stick and you should also replace the sensor under your skin every 3 to 7 days.
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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Blood Volume Required For Sample
The next thing is how much blood volume is required for a single test? In most of the glucose meters, the minimum requirement is about 0.3 microliters. But in some cases, it might require about 0.4 to 0.5 microliters of blood. And the thing with the blood glucose meters that requires more blood may force you to run a test all over again. Because it did not extract the needed blood volume in the first attempt.
Nuts Herbs And Spices
Nuts can be a good food choice.
Avoid salted nuts and try to limit the quantity of nuts you eat as they have a high calorific value. Dont let the calories put you off completely though, nuts are a great source of fibre and vitamins and can be beneficial for cholesterol.
Walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts and macadamia nuts are good choices.
Herbs and spices are not only a great way to add flavour to food, theyre also another good source of vitamins. Adding herbs and spices to food can help to replace adding extra salt.
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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 Can One Tell If I Have Diabetes By Examining My Blood
Your body converts sugar, also called glucose, into energy so your body can function. The sugar comes from the foods you eat and is released from storage from your bodys own tissues.
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. Its job is to move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of tissues. After you eat, the level of glucose in the blood rises sharply. The pancreas responds by releasing enough insulin to handle the increased level of glucose moving the glucose out of the blood and into cells. This helps return the blood glucose level to its former, lower level.
If a person has diabetes, two situations may cause the blood sugar to increase:
- The pancreas does not make enough insulin
- The insulin does not work properly
As a result of either of these situations, the blood sugar level remains high, a condition called hyperglycemia or diabetes mellitus. If left undiagnosed and untreated, the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, blood vessels and other organs can be damaged. Measuring your blood glucose levels allows you and your doctor to know if you have, or are at risk for, developing diabetes.
Much less commonly, the opposite can happen too. Too low a level of blood sugar, a condition called hypoglycemia, can be caused by the presence of too much insulin or by other hormone disorders or liver disease.
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How Do I Prepare For The Plasma Glucose Level Test And How Are The Results Interpreted
To get an accurate plasma glucose level, you must have fasted for at least 8 hours prior to the test. When you report to the clinic or laboratory, a small sample of blood will be taken from a vein in your arm. According to the practice recommendations of the American Diabetes Association, the results of the blood test are interpreted as follows:
Fasting blood glucose level
- If your blood glucose level is 70 to 99* mg/dL . . .
- What it means: Your glucose level is within the normal range
*Values between 50 and 70 are often seen in healthy people
**The condition of “prediabetes” puts you at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood lipid disorders
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/21/2018.
How To Track Blood Sugar Levels
Blood sugar vacillates throughout the day due to many factors, says Megan Wolf, a registered dietitian and diabetes care and education specialist at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. The preferred way to keep track of it? Whatever works best for you. This may include journaling numbers into a logbook or typing blood sugar readings into an app, says Wolf. A lot of my patients find continuous glucose monitors helpful. Glucometers and continuous glucose monitoring systems store glucose data that can be uploaded to a computer. Then the patient can review their blood sugar data on their device or keep a detailed written log.
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Alex Prefers To Know What Is Happening To Him And Keep His Diabetes Under Control And Checks His
Testing blood glucose is particularly important when you are feeling unwell for any reason or if blood glucose levels are unstable. If blood glucose levels dip too low, usually below 4 mmol/l, that is hypoglycaemia . Too much glucose in the bloodstream is called hyperglycaemia . Both hypos and hypers can, if left untreated, lead to coma .
What Equipment Do I Need To Test My Blood Glucose At Home
You will need:
- a lancing device
- blood glucose diagnostic test strips
- a notebook, diary or app to record your blood glucose levels.
In New Zealand a blood glucose test meter, together with lancets and diagnostic test strips, are only subsidised if you are taking insulin, glipizide, gliclazide, glibenclamide or if you have diabetes and are pregnant.
These criteria can change, so check with your diabetes nurse or doctor.If you dont qualify for a subsidised blood glucose meter, you can expect to pay between $5070 to get fully set up with testing equipment. If you are buying or applying for a home testing meter, you will also need a finger-pricking device. See these videos about blood glucose meters.
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When Is Regular Blood Glucose Testing At Home Recommended
For people with type 2 diabetes, regular testing of blood glucose levels at home using a blood glucose test meter is generally not needed unless you are:
- starting or already taking glipizide, gliclazide or glibenclamide this is because the risk of hypoglcaemia is higher with these medicines
- starting or already taking insulin
- at risk of frequent episodes of low blood glucose
- planning a pregnancy or are pregnant.
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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Other Tips For Checking:
- With some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh, or fleshy part of your hand.
- There are spring-loaded lancing devices that make sticking yourself less painful.
- If you use your fingertip, stick the side of your fingertip by your fingernail to avoid having sore spots on the frequently used part of your finger.
When To Test Your Blood Sugar
by Health Writer
If youve got diabetes, keeping blood glucose levels steady is the name of the game. Normally, your body regulates blood sugar well, thanks to a series of feedback mechanisms that involve the secretion of the hormone insulin. But in people with type 1 diabetes, your body doesnt make enough insulin in type 2 diabetes, an inability to effectively use insulin causes glucose levels to swing around. The complex regulation of glucose is one reason that managing diabetes can be challenging for patients, says Jacob Kohlenberg, M.D., assistant professor in the division of diabetes, endocrinology, and metabolism at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, MN. Here, tips for tracking your blood sugar levels.
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