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When To Check Blood Sugar Levels

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How Do I Test My Blood Sugar

How to test your blood glucose (sugar) levels

Consider testing your blood sugar at the same time as your ketones to get a more holistic perspective of whatâs happening in your body. For instance, is that new low-carb protein bar going to keep you in ketosis without spiking your blood sugar? Thereâs really only one way to find out: Testing both ketones and blood glucose.

You can even use both of these readings to determine where you sit on the Glucose Ketone Index .

Extremely Low Blood Sugar

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What Are The Different Types Of Insulin

Several types of insulin are available. Each type starts to work at a different speed, known as onset, and its effects last a different length of time, known as duration. Most types of insulin reach a peak, which is when they have the strongest effect. After the peak, the effects of the insulin wear off over the next few hours or so. Table 1 lists the different types of insulin, how fast they start to work, when they peak, and how long they last.

Table 1. Types of insulin and how they work1,2

Insulin Type
does not peak 36 hours or longer

Another type of insulin, called premixed insulin, is a combination of insulins listed in Table 1. Premixed insulin starts to work in 15 to 60 minutes and can last from 10 to 16 hours. The peak time varies depending on which insulins are mixed.

Your doctor will work with you to review your medication options. Talk with your doctor about your activity level, what you eat and drink, how well you manage your blood glucose levels, your age and lifestyle, and how long your body takes to absorb insulin.

Follow your doctors advice on when and how to take your insulin. If youre worried about the cost, talk with your doctor. Some types of insulin cost more than others. You can also find resources to get financial help for diabetes care.

Also Check: When To Take Long Acting Insulin

What Other Tests Can Help Me Keep Track

Using a glucose meter can help you check your blood sugar levels, but other tests can help you know how well you’re controlling your diabetes too.

The glycosylated hemoglobin test will tell you how you’ve been controlling your blood sugar levels over the past few months. It’s usually done during regular visits with your diabetes health care team.

Hemoglobin is the substance inside red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells of the body. The higher the glucose level in the blood, the more the glucose sticks to the hemoglobin. And once hemoglobin picks up glucose, the glucose stays on it for the life of the red blood cell, which is about 2 to 3 months.

The most commonly measured type of hemoglobin in the blood that has glucose attached to it is called HbA1c. In general, the lower your HbA1c, the better you’ve been controlling your blood sugar levels over the last 2 to 3 months. Having lower HbA1c levels may make it less likely that you’ll develop long-term diabetes problems.

Ketones are something else you’ll need to check for sometimes. Ketones are chemicals that show up in the urine and blood after the body breaks down fat for energy. The body will break down fat when it can’t use glucose. This can happen when you haven’t taken enough insulin to help the glucose get into the cells, or when you haven’t eaten enough to provide glucose for energy .

The Worst Drinks For Lowering Blood Sugar

Is a one

“Drinks with added sugar are absorbed rapidly in the body, which can spike blood sugar and insulin levels,” says Palinski-Wade. This is especially true when you’re drinking them on an empty stomach.

So, when picking a beverage to drink, look at the label to help spot any blood sugar sabotagers. “Drinks high in added sugar with little nutritional value are going to be the worst drinks for blood sugar,” says Palinski-Wade.

This includes sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, which will rapidly spike insulin and blood sugar levels. Energy drinks are also a poor choice because both excessive caffeine intake and added sugar can contribute to a blood sugar spike.

Read Also: How Do You Treat Type 1 Diabetes

What If I Cant Get A Drop Of Blood For A Fingerstick

If you want to get blood from your fingertip, try washing your hands in hot water to get the blood flowing. Then dangle your hand below your heart for a minute. Prick your finger quickly and then put your hand back down below your heart. You might also try slowly squeezing the finger from the base to the tip.

What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level

Achieving a normal blood sugar or glucose level is a bit of a misnomer. Often, the word normal is used to reference what someones blood sugars might be if they didnt have diabetes.

However, this terminology is flawed because even people without diabetes do see blood sugar spikes, especially after eating and when consuming something with high amounts of sugar, or a complex carbohydrate like pizza or pasta.

Even though that persons body will immediately start working to counterbalance that rising glucose level by producing more insulin, their blood sugars may still spike for a brief time even beyond those normal ranges. The same can happen with intense exercise or in high-stress situations if the persons natural glucose metabolizing cannot quickly balance everything out.

For those with diabetes, the fact that our bodies dont make or use insulin correctly means we must manually keep tabs on blood sugar levels and take enough insulin or glucose-lowering medication to balance everything out.

Read Also: How Can I Find Out If I Am Diabetic

Sleep And Blood Sugar Testing

Testing your blood sugar before you go to sleep and after you awaken will reveal if it is high or lowand what might be causing that. Normally, the body releases insulin in the early morning to keep glucose levels, which naturally rise in the a.m., in check. If you have diabetes and your blood sugar is high when you awaken, you may need medication adjustments, says Wolf. On the other hand, if you check your blood sugar before you go to sleep and its on the lower end, you may want to eat a snack, adds Wolf. This applies for anyone taking insulin to control their blood sugar. Your physician will likely adjust your medication if your blood sugar is consistently low before bedtime.

How Often Should You Check Your Blood Sugar

Checking Blood Sugar (Glucose) Level | How to Use a Glucometer (Glucose Meter)

As with most things dealing with diabetes, this all depends on your particular body and lifestyle. Work with your care team and doctor to determine the appropriate number of times per day that you should be checking your blood sugars.

Know that not only is everyone different, but peoples needs for more or less frequent checking can change over their lifetime.

For instance, when someone is pregnant, their need for checking goes up immensely, and conversely, if someone with type 2 diabetes weans their way off of insulin, they may need to check less frequently as their likelihood of hypoglycemia is lower without exogenous insulin in their system.

According to the Mayo Clinic, people with type 1 diabetes should at a minimum check between 4 and 10 times per day, and people with type 2 diabetes may only need to check a few times a day , and maybe not at all if they are not on insulin.

But lets be clear: you can check as many times as you need to, and however often youd like . There is nothing wrong with checking more often or whenever you like.

Also Check: Glucose In Urine Normal Range

Treating Low Blood Glucose If You Take Medicines That Slow Down Digestion

Some diabetes medicines slow down the digestion of carbohydrates to keep blood glucose levels from rising too high after you eat. If you develop low blood glucose while taking these medicines, you will need to take glucose tablets or glucose gel right away. Eating or drinking other sources of carbohydrates wont raise your blood glucose level quickly enough.

Consequences Of Blood Sugar Levels

Whilst most symptoms of low and high blood sugar levels are mild, they can worsen if left untreated and sometimes have long term consequences and/or complications. Overtime, a high blood sugar level is what can cause consequences. Lack of treatment can cause severe damage to the blood vessels and lead to complications such as:

  • Damage to the eyes and/or loss of vision
  • Nerve problems in the feet leading to infections

To avoid long term consequences and complications, it is advised to take all precautionary measures and treat your blood sugar level so that it can be maintained at your ideal reading. So do so, follow all treatment methods, stay on track with checking your level daily and seeking help if symptoms persist.

If you have any more questions, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions which may answer your concerns:

Also Check: Best Diet For Type One Diabetes

A1c Blood Sugar Tests

The A1C test measures the percentage of glucose bound hemoglobin in a persons blood.

According to The National Institutes of Health , this gives a general picture of a persons blood glucose levels over the past 23 months .

Abnormal A1C test results do not necessarily mean a person has diabetes. A doctor will confirm these findings with another blood glucose test.

The doctor may recommend running more tests, such as blood work, to rule out other conditions that can affect blood sugar levels.

What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring

They include:

Continuous glucose monitoring is another way to check your glucose levels. Most CGM systems use a tiny sensor that you insert under your skin. The sensor measures glucose levels in the fluids between your bodys cells every few minutes and can show changes in your glucose level throughout the day and night. If the CGM system shows that your glucose is too high or too low, you should check your glucose with a blood glucose meter before making any changes to your eating plan, physical activity, or medicines. A CGM system is especially useful for people who use insulin and have problems with low blood glucose.

Read Also: Type 2 Diabetes Blood Sugar Range

What Is The Best Medicine To Lower Blood Sugar

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Checking Your Blood Glucose Levels Will Help You To:

  • Develop confidence in looking after your diabetes.
  • Better understand the relationship between your blood glucose levels and the exercise you do, the food you eat and other lifestyle influences such as travel, stress and illness.
  • Know how your lifestyle choices and medication, if used, are making a difference.
  • Find out immediately if your blood glucose levels are too high or too low , helping you to make important decisions such as eating before exercise, treating a hypo or seeking medical advice if sick.
  • Know when to seek the advice of your diabetes health team about adjusting your insulin, tablets, meal or snack planning when blood glucose goals are not being met.

Read Also: When Blood Glucose Levels Are High

Why Is It So Important To Check My Blood Levels

Regular checking and recording of your blood glucose level can reinforce your healthy lifestyle choices as well as inform you of your response to other choices and influences.

Importantly, blood glucose level pattern changes can alert you and your health care team to a possible need for a change in how your diabetes is being managed.

What Number Should My Blood Glucose Be

How To Test Your Blood Sugar Levels | 7 Simple Steps | Diabetes UK

Blood glucose is measured in mg/dl. The normal range for blood glucose for people without diabetes is 70 to 120 mg/dl.

The Diabetes Center has guidelines for blood glucose readings. This is called a target range. There may be times when your healthcare provider gives you a different target range, like for bedtime, with exercise, or after eating.

Nationwide Childrens Hospital Diabetes Center Target Blood Glucose Ranges

Age

Recommended Reading: What Should Your Sugar Level Be If You Have Diabetes

Also Check: Insulin Pump For Type 2 Diabetes

Blood Sugar Levels: Whats Normal Whats Not And How To Measure

What do blood glucose levels mean and what range is healthy? Heres what you need to know.

Caroline Roberts

Digital Editorial Intern

Caroline Roberts writes articles and notifications for CNET. She studies English at Cal Poly, and loves philosophy, Karl the Fog and a strong cup of black coffee.

We all want to keep track of our health in every way we can you may weigh yourself, keep track of your blood pressure or monitor your resting heart rate. But how close of an eye do you keep on your blood sugar?

People with diabetes are all too familiar with their blood sugar levels, but the rest of us might not even think about it much. However, consistently high blood sugar levels can coexist with Type 2 diabetes and cause serious health conditions like kidney disease, nerve problems or stroke.

While thats no reason to panic, when it comes to our health, its important to know exactly whats going on inside of our bodies. Without further ado, lets get into what blood sugar means, how to measure it and everything else you need to know.

How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies

Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.

Also Check: Blood Sugar Vs Blood Glucose

How To Test Your Blood Sugar

To test your blood sugar at home, all you need is a very inexpensive piece of equipment you can find at any drug store or pharmacy called a glucose meter or glucometer.

Glucose testing from home using a glucometer is typically done by a finger stick test. This involves pricking the tip of your finger and collecting a small drop of blood onto the testing strip.

The test itself is very mildly painful but if you are feeling squeamish, I recommend having someone else help you with the finger stick because it may be harder to do on yourself.

Here are the data points that you will want to track when assessing your bodys response to meals: :

  • fasting blood sugar levels
  • blood sugar 1 hour after eating
  • blood sugar 2 hours after eating
  • blood sugar 3 hours after eating
  • how long it takes for blood sugar to return to fasting levels after eating
  • a diary of foods eaten before the tests

Lets work through the best way to test your blood sugar and get all these data points.

First: Test your blood sugar first thing in the morning before you have eaten anything.

This is called your fasting blood sugar level. Optimally this level should be between 82-88 mg/dL . Conventional medicine considers anything < 100 mg/dL as normal.

Second: Test your 1-hour post-meal blood sugar.

Third: Test your 2-hour post-meal blood sugar.

This reading tells you how efficient your body is at balancing your blood sugar. Optimally this level should be less than 120 mg/dL . The closer to 100, the better.

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