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Do disappointing blood glucose results make you feel like a failure? Don’t let them. They aren’t report cards, and you can’t pass or fail. These numbers are not there to hurt you, but to help direct you.
Laura Menninger, a comedian known as the “Glucose Goddess,” says this about her meter:
“If I were climbing Mount Everest and I was 30 degrees S.E. of where I needed to be, I wouldn’t sit and say, ‘Oh, I stink at this! I give up!’ I would correct my course and continue on. Your meter just tells you where you’re at, so you can take corrective action in order to reach your goal. No room for guilt. Just do what you can do.”
Your blood glucose meter
Home blood glucose meters are not always accurate—they have a 1015 percent error rate or greater if the results are extremely high or low. Fortunately, they do a superb job of highlighting trends. Are you higher at a certain time of day? Are you lower at other times? Knowing this information helps you adjust your diabetes regimen. The following are popular blood checking times and suggested ways to interpret the results:
In the morning
Suggested goal: 90130 mg/dl
Your blood glucose level at this time can be affected by nighttime hormonal surges, the state of your health (maybe you have an infection or a cold), physical activity you’ve done during the past 2448 hours and any medications you’ve taken.
Immediately after eating
A blood check at this time has little use. Your body needs time to digest the food before you observe its effect on blood glucose levels.
Two hours after eating
Suggested goal: less than 180 or 160 mg/dl
Check two hours after the first bite of a meal. If your level is higher than desired, either your carbohydrate servings were too large or your medication dose was inadequate for that meal. Alcohol usually causes a drop in blood glucose levels, but a sweetened drink, such as a sweet wine or piña colada, can cause them to climb.
Physical activity normally lowers blood glucose levels for several hours afterward. But, if you don’t have adequate insulin in your system during the activity, your blood glucose level may climb instead. Many experts recommend checking before, during and after prolonged activity in order to catch changes in blood glucose levels as they occur. Treat high and low levels as recommended by your healthcare provider.
A high result at any time can be caused by
A low reading can be caused by
Blood glucose data can help you improve your diabetes control. Take advantage of the information provided by your meter, and use it wisely.
Sep 1, 2005
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.