An important part of diabetes care is self-monitoring. Blood sugar testing is an important component of diabetes care that helps you take charge. Self-monitoring blood sugar is an important tool for managing a treatment plan and preventing long-term complications of diabetes. It is very important to measure your blood sugar level regularly to monitor whether you have symptoms of hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia or prediabetes.
Blood sugar testing can help you in a number of ways, such as:
It helps you evaluate your overall treatment goals.
It helps you understand the impact of diet and exercise on blood sugar levels.
It helps you measure whether factors such as illness or stress are affecting blood sugar levels.
It helps you monitor the effect of diabetes medications on blood sugar levels.
It helps you monitor whether blood sugar levels are high or low.
Know Your Target Range
Blood sugar test results are based on a number of factors, including:
Diabetes type - Diabetes duration - Age - Pregnancy status - Presence of diabetes complications -
The blood sugar level in the target range for people with diabetes is as follows:
Before breakfast: 70-130 mg/dl
Before lunch and dinner, snacks: 70-130 mg/dl
Two hours after meals: < 180 mg/dl
Before bed: 90-150 mg/dl
A1C (glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1C): < 7% (according to the American Diabetes Association)
Why is it important to control blood sugar levels?
Most people with diabetes do not feel any symptoms unless they experience hyperglycemia (high glucose levels) or hypoglycemia (low glucose levels). Hyperglycemia can cause damage to some organs, leading to complications of diabetes. These complications can include serious problems such as diabetic nephropathy, diabetic retinopathy, cardiovascular diseases.
Monitoring blood sugar can help you keep your blood sugar under control and reduce the risk of hyperglycemia. Self-monitoring your blood sugar levels is an important part of diabetes management and helps you monitor the effectiveness of treatment plans being used. It also helps you understand which methods are more effective.
How Often Should You Test Blood Sugar?
How often you monitor your blood sugar level is personal and depends on many factors. Your doctor or a certified diabetes educator will recommend testing frequency based on your type of diabetes, treatment methods used, and your goals. Possible testing times include before breakfast, before lunch/dinner, two hours after meals, before bed, before intense exercise, and when you feel unwell.
People with type 1 diabetes are generally recommended monitoring 4 times a day. However, those who use insulin pumps can test more frequently. Regular monitoring of blood sugar has been associated with better diabetes control and may reduce the risk of complications. When you understand the benefits of keeping blood sugar under control, diabetes management becomes more effective and protects your long-term health. Understanding who should monitor their blood sugar is a critical step in managing diabetes.
How can I record my glucose readings?
Keeping a record of your blood sugar readings is only useful if you will use the results to manage your diabetes. Share your records with your diabetes health care advisors and ask them how they would interpret your readings to make decisions about your diabetes management.
A paper diary. Write your records aside. Some blood glucose meter manufacturers keep a diary, or your healthcare team may have one for you to use.
Phone apps. Some meters can connect glucose readings via Bluetooth directly to your smartphone via an app. The app stores this information for you and can also be sent directly to your healthcare team.