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When Should I Test My Blood Sugar

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Factors That Can Affect Blood Sugar Levels

When should you test your Blood Sugar

If you have prediabetes or diabetes, you may have insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. This means your body has difficulty regulating blood sugar levels on its own.

Its a delicate balance to maintain, so the following list can help you familiarize yourself with factors that can cause your blood glucose levels to go up or down.

How Do I Check My Blood Glucose

  • Wash your hands.
  • Put the lancet in the lancet device.
  • Put the test strip into the blood glucose meter.
  • Stick the finger on its side near the top of the finger .
  • Squeeze the finger so a drop of blood comes up on the skin.
  • Touch the blood sample to the test strip.
  • Read the blood glucose number on meter.
  • Picture 1: Poke the side of the finger with the lancet

    High Blood Sugar In The Morning: Is It The Dawn Phenomenon

    If you have high blood sugar levels in the morning, you may be experiencing the dawn phenomenon, the name given to an increase in blood sugar that usually occurs between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m., according to the Mayo Clinic. One reason this occurs: During the early hours of the morning, our bodies secrete higher levels of a hormone called cortisol, says Dr. Spratt. When cortisol levels are high, it can make you more resistant to insulin, a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels.

    “Some people have a striking dawn phenomenon,” says Dr. Spratt. “You can look at their continuous glucose tracing and see that their blood sugar level suddenly goes up at 3 a.m.” If this is the case for you, your doctor may adjust your insulin medication or suggest you use an insulin pump .

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    Check Your Blood Glucose Levels

    For many people with diabetes, checking their blood glucose level each day is an important way to manage their diabetes. Monitoring your blood glucose level is most important if you take insulin. The results of blood glucose monitoring can help you make decisions about food, physical activity, and medicines.

    The most common way to check your blood glucose level at home is with a blood glucose meter. You get a drop of blood by pricking the side of your fingertip with a lancet. Then you apply the blood to a test strip. The meter will show you how much glucose is in your blood at the moment.

    Ask your health care team how often you should check your blood glucose levels. Make sure to keep a record of your blood glucose self-checks. You can print copies of this glucose self-check chart. Take these records with you when you visit your health care team.

    Why Do Diabetics Need To Check Blood Sugar Levels

    The 6 Best Ways to Test Blood Sugar Levels

    Monitoring blood sugar levels is essential for diabetic management. Levels will be affected by exercise, diet, age, family history, and weight. People with diabetes either cannot produce insulin or do not produce sufficient amounts. Insulin regulates blood glucose levels. Glucose is energy for the cells and food for the brain. When blood sugar levels fall or go too high, the individual can become very sick.

    Blood sugar levels can reveal the condition of the liver and pancreas. To keep organs functioning properly and to prevent further medical complications, diabetics need to check blood sugar levels. Monitoring blood sugar will help the diabetic understand which factors affect insulin levels. The monitoring will also reveal the effectiveness of diabetic treatment.

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    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.

    If You Dont Have Diabetes Should You Monitor Your Blood Sugar

    Several companies are working hard to make this sort of ad a reality, as they begin marketing implantable blood sugar measuring devices to people without diabetes. Called continuous glucose monitoring systems, or CGMs, they are often used by people who do have diabetes. These companies could reap enormous profits by convincing healthy people to start monitoring blood sugar. Already, many of us monitor our weight, heart rate, or steps per day.

    CGMs use tiny sensor wires, or filaments, that pierce the skin to frequently and easily assess blood sugar levels. The filaments remain in place, usually on the upper arm or abdomen, protected by an adhesive patch. Results are displayed on a receiver or transmitted to the users phone.

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    What Causes Low Blood Sugar

    Low blood sugar has many causes, including missing a meal, taking too much insulin, taking other diabetes medicines, exercising more than normal, and drinking alcohol. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low.

    Signs of low blood sugar are different for everyone. Common symptoms include:

    Know what your individual symptoms are so you can catch low blood sugar early and treat it. If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms. Low blood sugar can be dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible.

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    How Do I Record My Blood Sugar Test Results

    How to Test Your Blood Sugar

    Keep good records of any blood, urine, or ketone tests you do. Most glucose monitors also have a memory. Your records can alert you to any problems or trends. These test records help your doctor make any needed changes in your meal plan, medicine, or exercise program. Bring these records with you every time you see your doctor.

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    Diabetes Medications And Classes

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    What Affects Your Results

    If you have certain conditions, like anemia or gout, or if it’s hot or humid or you’re at a high altitude, that can affect your blood sugar levels.

    If you keep seeing unusual results, recalibrate your meter and check the test strips.

    The chart below gives you an idea of where your blood sugar level should be throughout the day. Your ideal blood sugar range may be different from another person’s and will change throughout the day.

    Time of Test

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    How To Monitor Your Blood Glucose Levels

    Watch this film from Diabetes UK or read the instructions below.

    Tip

    There is less sensation in the sides of your fingers than the tips or the underneath. Try to prick the side of your finger, near the tip.

    To monitor your glucose, you will be given a blood glucose monitor. This is designed for you to measure your own blood glucose levels at home, or wherever you happen to be, by checking a drop of your blood. You produce the blood by using a finger pricker.

    To monitor your glucose, you will be given a blood glucose monitor. This is designed for you to measure your own blood glucose levels at home, or wherever you happen to be, by checking a drop of your blood. You produce the blood by using a finger pricker.

    There are many different brands of meter on the market, but they all work in similar ways:

    Step 1 Wash your hands.

    Step 2 Set up a finger pricker with a clean needle.

    Step 3 Insert one end of a test strip into the meter.

    Step 4 Use the finger pricker to prick the side of your finger.

    Step 5 When a spot of blood appears where you pricked you finger, place it onto the end of the testing strip that is sticking out of the meter to transfer the blood.

    Step 6 After a few seconds, the meter will display your blood glucose level.

    Step 7 Clean the blood off your finger.

    Step 8 Record the results in your blood glucose diary or diabetes journal, or you may have a phone app that you use.

    Step 9 Throw away the test strip.

    What Can Help Bring Down Blood Sugar

    How Do I Measure My Blood Sugar?

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    What Can I Do To Bring My Blood Sugar Level Number Down Quickly

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    Can I Test My Blood Too Few Times

    Depending on how your diabetes is treated, it is possible to test too little. For example, people with type 1 diabetes that are testing less than 4 times per day are likely to find it more difficult to understand their sugar levels and are likely to experience poorer control than someone testing at least 4 times per day.

    Struggling to test your blood glucose levels as often you should can often be linked with psychologiocal issues such as being in denial about your diabetes , experiencing diabetes burnout or suffering from depression

    If youre on medication that can cause hypos, you must by law test your blood sugar levels before each drive and at least as often as once every 2 hours of a journey. Failure to do this could lead to a hypo at the wheel and a number of road accidents happen every year in the UK as a result of hypoglycemia.

    Diabetes.co.uk has been made aware that many people have experienced difficulty with being prescribed sufficient blood glucose testing supplies to adequately manage their diabetes.

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    If Knowledge Is Power Why Not Monitor Your Blood Sugar

    So, why would a person who doesnt have diabetes want to monitor their blood sugar? Possible reasons include

    • Detecting prediabetes. In prediabetes blood sugar is slightly high, but not high enough to meet the definition of diabetes. For healthy people, blood sugar testing is typically recommended every three years or so if prediabetes is diagnosed, repeat testing is recommended more often, at least yearly. CGM might allow earlier diagnosis of prediabetes or diabetes. This could be particularly helpful for people at higher risk for diabetes due to family history or other factors, and people taking medicines that can raise blood sugar.
    • The notion of “optimizing” blood sugar for peak mental or physical performance. Not surprisingly, some CGM makers suggest knowing your blood sugar can help you make changes to keep it in an “ideal range” that will help you perform your best, prevent diabetes, or improve health in some other way. For example, you might change what or when you eat. None of these marketing notions has been proven, or even well studied. And guess what even the ideal blood sugar range for a person who isnt diabetic is uncertain.
    • The illusion of control. Having more information about your body may provide you with a sense of control over your health, even if you take no immediate action.
    • Curiosity. Lets face it, its tempting to gather information about our bodies that might be interesting .

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    How Often to Check Blood Sugar? Diabetes Specialist Gives Advice.

    If you had a fasting blood glucose test:

    • A level of 100 to 125 mg/dL means you have impaired fasting glucose, a type of prediabetes. This increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
    • A level of 126 mg/dL or higher usually means you have diabetes.

    If you had a random blood glucose test:

    • A level of 200 mg/dL or higher often means you have diabetes.
    • Your provider will order a fasting blood glucose, A1C test glucose tolerance test , depending on your random blood glucose test result.
    • In someone who has diabetes, an abnormal result on the random blood glucose test may mean that the diabetes is not well controlled.

    Other medical problems can also cause a higher-than-normal blood glucose level, including:

    • Overactive thyroid gland
    • Swelling and inflammation of the pancreas ( pancreatitis
    • Stress due to trauma, stroke, heart attack, or surgery
    • Rare tumors, including
    • Weight loss after weight loss surgery
    • Vigorous exercise

    Some medicines can raise or lower your blood glucose level. Before having the test, tell your provider about all the medicines you are taking.

    For some thin young women, a fasting blood sugar level below 70 mg/dL may be normal.

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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.

    What Causes Blood Sugar To Be High

    Many things can cause high blood sugar , including being sick, being stressed, eating more than planned, and not giving yourself enough insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term, serious health problems. Symptoms of high blood sugar include:

    • Feeling very tired.
    • Having blurry vision.
    • Needing to urinate more often.

    If you get sick, your blood sugar can be hard to manage. You may not be able to eat or drink as much as usual, which can affect blood sugar levels. If youre ill and your blood sugar is 240 mg/dL or above, use an over-the-counter ketone test kit to check your urine for ketones and call your doctor if your ketones are high. High ketones can be an early sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.

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