Ten Reasons For Checking Your Blood Glucose

| Jan 1, 2003

People with diabetes know that we are all supposed to check our blood glucose. But some of us do a better job of it than others. Frankly, it's sometimes frustrating to look at the results and see a number that's too high or too low.

If you think about it, though, that number is giving you information you need to maintain the best possible control.

Here are 10 good reasons for checking your blood glucose:

  1. Helping You Make the Right Decisions
  2. This reason is the most important, says Barbara Bradley, RN, MS, CDE. "Checking your blood glucose helps you make the right decisions about your self-management."

  3. Improving Your Control
  4. As reported in the October 2002 issue ("No Surprise: Cost of Strips Limits Testing," p. 67), a recent study confirmed that people who tested more often had better blood-glucose control.

  5. Helping You Make Insulin and/or Medication Adjustments
  6. If you find that your blood glucose is always higher or lower than your target range at certain times of the day, you and your healthcare provider can adjust dosages to help you maintain better control in the long run.

  7. Providing Immediate Feedback
  8. Testing gives you immediate feedback, allowing you to take quick action to either bring down that high or raise a low blood glucose.

  9. Gauging the Effect of New Foods
  10. Check your blood glucose before you eat that new dish—and then again two hours after you have taken the first bite. The result will let you know whether you will need to adjust the amount you eat in the future or adjust your insulin dosage.

  11. Gauging the Effect of Exercise
  12. Are you exercising? What does the exercise do to your blood-glucose levels? Does walking lower your blood glucose more than swimming? How about riding a bicycle, lifting weights, shoveling snow or gardening? The only way you can determine how your activity affects your blood glucose is to test before, after—and sometimes during—exercise.

    As always, be sure to check with your healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise regimen. Some diabetes complications rule out certain types of exercise.

  13. Keeping You Out of Danger
  14. If you are no longer able to detect the symptoms of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia unawareness), you need to test more frequently. Testing will alert you that your blood glucose is dropping before you get into the danger zone.

  15. Keeping You Safe Behind the Wheel
  16. Don't forget to test before you drive. Low blood glucose while you are driving can put you at risk for having an accident. And an accident could result in injury—or even death—to you, your passengers and people in any other vehicle that gets in your way.

  17. Letting You Know Just How Ill You Are
  18. Test often when you are sick. The stress of an illness such as a cold or the flu can increase your blood-glucose levels. Keeping your numbers in range as much as possible will help you to recover faster. You might also need to be checking for ketones when you are sick.

    Don't forget to take your insulin or medication, even if you're not eating. Your body still needs help to control your diabetes. Talk to your doctor about how to adjust your usual doses.

    Even before you have an illness, you need to discuss sick day plans with your diabetes educator so that you'll know what to do when you're "under the weather." Review the plan every few months to make sure you're familiar with what you need to do. Also review the plan with your educator when your diabetes regimen changes.

  19. Helping You Adjust Basal Rates and Bolus Doses
  20. If you're an insulin pumper, testing helps you adjust your basal rates and bolus doses. When your basal rates are set so that your blood glucose stays in optimal range and your insulin-to-carbohydrate ratios are accurate, it's much easier to maintain good control.

    How often should you check? That depends on your diabetes and your treatment plan. Some people can stagger their testing patterns and get a good picture of their blood-glucose control by testing only twice a day, while others test 10 or more times per day.

    Check with your healthcare provider to determine what is best for you.

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Categories: Blood Glucose, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Food, Hypoglycemia Unawareness, Insulin, Insulin Pumps, Low Blood Sugar

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Posted by Anonymous on 5 January 2008

I was just recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and am still trying to regulate my blood sugar.What is normal blood sugar levels? What should it be before eating? after eating?

Posted by anonymous8888 on 5 January 2008

I was just recenlty diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and am becoming very frustrated. Can you tell me what the normal blood sugar level should be before and after meals? It seems that no matter what I eat, example, salad with no dressing and dry chicken breast, for dinner, my sugar levels are always in the upper 200's....Help

Posted by Joy on 11 January 2008

I have Not been diagnosed a diabetic, but when my bg was 99 I got really scared..gave up sugar and lost 27 lbs...got my number down to 85 and got relaxed and went back to eating sugar. I got 3 or 4 home monitoring kits to keep check of my blood glucose and I'm back to being scared again because it is now 106 or so, and this a.m. when it was 112 and I had enough blood I could hurry up with another test strip and it was 107 with the same prick...I was still scared and decided to do it again and it was 126 with a different prick, then I used a different kit and of course, a different finger, and it was 102. I hate pricking my finger, but I thought it was worth it to find out the truth and that's what I can't figure out. Do you think home kits are accurate? I have a Rx for a real blood test, but don't want to go for it until I try to see if I can get the number down myself, but it seems like it is getting higher. I know this is a lot of words, but I'm wondering what I should do, I don't want to keep pricking my fingers and keep getting higher numbers if the kits may not be accurate, but as it is...may have a nervous breakdown worry if it is too late.

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