Thursday, April 25, 2024

When Should You Check Your Blood Sugar

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Why Checking Your Blood Sugar Is Crucial

When to Check Your Blood Sugar

Monitoring your blood sugar helps your doctor determine if your treatment plan is working and if your medication needs adjusting. Blood sugar thats too high, referred to as hyperglycemia, or too low, known as hypoglycemia can cause health problems such as dizziness, confusion, blurred vision and even coma. The good news: A patient with well-controlled type 2 diabetes whos treated with metformin may only check their glucose a few times a week or month, says Dr. Kohlenberg.

Times To Check More Often

There will be times when you need to check more often, however you should first discuss this with your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator. Example of these times include when you are:

  • Being more physically active or less physically active
  • Sick or stressed
  • Experiencing changes in routine or eating habits, e.g. travelling
  • Changing or adjusting your insulin or medication
  • Experiencing symptoms of hypoglycaemia
  • Experiencing night sweats or morning headaches
  • A female planning pregnancy or are pregnant.
  • Pre/post minor surgical day procedures
  • Post dental procedures

Your Credentialled Diabetes Educator can help you work out self-monitoring approach especially for you.

How Long Does An Insulin Shot Take To Lower Blood Sugar

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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.

How Food Affects Blood Sugar Testing

Checking your blood sugar levels

Testing your blood sugar both right before and after meals will give you an idea of how food affects your sugar levels. Ideally, youre looking for numbers of 80-130mg/dL before and less than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after eating. According to Wolf, Someone should check blood sugar before meals when they are on a medication, such as insulin, that requires them to adjust their dose based on their blood sugar reading. This so-called correction dose is given if your blood sugar is above your target. It is helpful to check blood sugar one to two hours after eating as well because it tells you how your body responded to your meal.

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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar

Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.

What Are Blood Glucose Tests Used To Diagnose

Glucose testing is primarily done to diagnose or manage type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Diabetes is a condition that causes your blood glucose levels to rise.

The amount of sugar in your blood is usually controlled by a hormone called insulin. But if you have diabetes, your body either doesnt make enough insulin or the insulin produced doesnt work properly. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.

If left untreated, chronically elevated levels of blood sugar can lead to other serious conditions including kidney disease, blindness, and heart disease.

In some cases, blood glucose testing may also be used to test for hypoglycemia. This condition occurs when the levels of glucose in your blood are too low, usually lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter .

Hypoglycemia can occur in people with diabetes if they take too much of their medication, like insulin, exercise more than usual, or skip a meal. Less commonly, hypoglycemia can be caused by other underlying conditions or medications.

Doctors consider very low blood sugar to be a medical emergency, as it can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.

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How Do Carbs Affect Blood Sugar

Carbs in food make your blood sugar levels go higher after you eat them than when you eat proteins or fats. You can still eat carbs if you have diabetes. The amount you can have and stay in your target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors. Counting carbs in foods and drinks is an important tool for managing blood sugar levels. Make sure to talk to your health care team about the best carb goals for you.

How Is Blood Sugar Calculated

When should you test your Blood Sugar

There are two formulas for calculating blood sugar levels. In the US, the most popular measurement is milligrams per deciliter . In the UK, its millimoles per liter .

If you need to convert measurements, use these formulas:

To go to mmol/L from mg/dL: mmol/L = mg/dL / 18

To go to mg/dL from mmol/L: mg/dL = 18 × mmol/L

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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 .

The Best Time To Check Blood Sugar

Kathi Valeii is a freelance writer covering the intersections of health, parenting, and social justice.

Living with diabetes includes monitoring your blood sugar levels. Most people do this by pricking their fingers with a blood sugar meter , which measures sugar in a small amount of blood.

Some people use a continuous glucose monitor , a sensor under the skin that checks blood sugar every few minutes. People who use a CGM must also use a blood sugar meter daily to ensure their CGM is accurate.

When you have diabetes, monitoring blood sugar levels is crucial because keeping blood sugar in a target range can help prevent complications, including:

  • Vision problems

When you check your blood sugar matters. There are several times throughout the day that health experts recommend checking your blood sugar.

This article explains the importance of monitoring your blood sugar, how blood sugar is measured, and how to check it.

MixMedia / Getty Images

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Blood Sugar Monitoring: When To Check And Why

Managing diabetes is one part investigation and two parts action. Unlike some other diseases that rely primarily on professional medical treatment, diabetes treatment requires active participation by the person who has it. Monitoring your blood sugar level on a regular basis and analyzing the results is believed by many to be a crucial part of the treatment equation.

When someone is first diagnosedwith diabetes, he is usually given a blood sugar meter and told how and when to use it, as well as what numbers to shoot for. However, the advice a person receives on when to monitor and what the results should be generally depend on his type of diabetes, age and state of overall health. It can also depend on a health-care providers philosophy of care and which set of diabetes care guidelines he follows. At least three major health organizations have published slightly different recommendations regarding goals for blood sugar levels.

There is some common ground when it comes to blood sugar monitoring practices. For example, most people take a fasting reading before breakfast every morning. Some people also monitor before lunch, dinner and bedtime some monitor after each meal and some monitor both before and after all meals. However, when monitoring after meals, some people do it two hours after the first bite of the meal, while others prefer to check one hour after the start of a meal.

Blood Sugar Can Determine Treatment Options

Blood Sugar Chart: Levels &  Ranges (Low, Normal &  High) â 20 Free Charts

The 2018 standards of care in diabetes have recommended the following:

Most patients using intensive insulin regimens should perform self-monitoring of blood glucose prior to meals and snacks, at bedtime, occasionally postprandially, prior to exercise, when they suspect low blood glucose, after treating low blood glucose until they are normoglycemic, and prior to critical tasks such as driving.” 2

When prescribed as part of a broad educational program, SMBG may help to guide treatment decisions and/or self-management for patients taking less frequent insulin injections or noninsulin therapies.”2

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Why The Test Is Performed

Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of diabetes . More than likely, the doctor will order a fasting blood sugar test.

The blood glucose test is also used to monitor people who already have diabetes.

The test may also be done if you have:

  • An increase in how often you need to urinate
  • Recently gained a lot of weight

SCREENING FOR DIABETES

This test may also be used to screen a person for diabetes.

High blood sugar and diabetes may not cause symptoms in the early stages. A fasting blood sugar test is almost always done to screen for diabetes.

If you are over age 45, you should be tested every 3 years.

If youre overweight and have any of the risk factors below, ask your health care provider about getting tested at an earlier age and more often:

  • High blood sugar level on a previous test
  • Blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher, or unhealthy cholesterol levels
  • History of heart disease
  • Close relative with diabetes
  • Not physically active

Children age 10 and older who are overweight and have at least two of the risk factors listed above should be tested for type 2 diabetes every 3 years, even if they have no symptoms.

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How To Test Blood Sugar

People with diabetes usually check their blood sugar levels themselves. However, its a good idea to have a roommate, friend, or family member also know how to do it if you are sick and cant do it yourself.

To use a blood sugar meter, follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Insert a test strip into the meter.
  • Obtain a drop of blood by pricking the side of your fingertip with the device.
  • Place the edge of the test strip to the blood and await the results to appear on the display.
  • If you are interested in CGM, you should talk to your healthcare provider since these are prescription devices. To use CGM, follow these steps:

  • Place the sensor under the skin on your belly or arm.
  • Most CGM devices check glucose levels every five minutes, around the clock. You dont need to do anything for this to occur.
  • View the information that the sensor transmits. This data may go to a separate receiver, your cellphone, or an insulin pump.
  • You will also need to change the sensors on the CGM regularly, usually every one to two weeks.

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    Stress And Blood Sugar Testing

    How Often Should I Check My Blood Sugar Level?

    Whether physical or psychological, any stress has the same effect. Stress hormones such as cortisol push the liver to produce more sugars and make the body more resistant to insulin, says Dr. Hatipoglu. The result: higher blood sugar levels. Of course, everyone gets stressed at times. But its chronic stress and its effect among people with diabeteswho are not able to process the additional sugarthats especially problematic. Your best strategy: Monitor blood sugar levels frequently and, if needed, adjust the treatment to prevent any complications, he says.

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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.

    Why Check Blood Sugar

    Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, checking your blood sugar lets you see what makes your blood sugar go up or down. For example, some factors that can make blood sugar rise are:

    • Too much food, especially carbohydrates
    • Some medications
    • More physical activity than usual

    Understanding your bodys patterns can help you and your healthcare provider know how to manage your diabetes best. For example, monitoring your blood sugar levels and keeping your blood sugar within your target range reduce the risk of diabetes complications.

    In addition, managing your diabetes can help prevent severely high blood sugar and severely low blood sugar .

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