Blood glucose testing is a method of checking glucose (sugar) levels in the blood. It’s an important part of diabetes management: It can show how well insulin supplementation, medicine, lifestyle modifications, and other parts of diabetes care are keeping your blood glucose levels from soaring too high (hyperglycemia) or sinking too low (hypoglycemia) when conducted on a regular basis (hypoglycemia).
Either condition can harm your body over time, eventually resulting in significant issues. It is believed that regular glucose testing minimizes the likelihood of this occurrence.
To do so, you’ll need a blood glucose meter, which can detect the amount of glucose in the bloodstream with only a single drop from your fingertip (although some monitors can be used on the forearm, thigh, or fleshy part of the hand). Although most devices are designed to perform single tests, some do enable continuous glucose monitoring (CGM).
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or if you’re pregnant and have gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy and disappears after the child is born, testing your blood sugar levels on a continuous basis and at specific periods throughout the day will be an important part of managing your condition.
How to Monitor Blood Sugar level from Home
The majority of diabetics should check their blood sugar (also known as blood glucose) levels on a regular basis. Understanding the outcomes allows you to fine-tune your disease-control plan. Regular testing can also prevent you from getting long-term health complications that may arise as a result of the condition, such as:
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Kidney disease
• Skin problems
Glucose monitoring at home is an old practice:
- You use a lancet to pierce your fingertip, place a drop of blood on a test strip, and then insert the strip into a meter that shows your blood sugar levels. Make a note of the test results so you can talk to your doctor about them. Your diet, exercise, or medications may need to be adjusted as a result of your findings. The features, mobility, speed, size, price, and legibility of meters vary.
- The features, mobility, speed, size, price, and legibility of meters vary. Some meters also compute an average blood sugar level over a period of time, which they transmit in much less than 15 seconds and save for future usage. Some models come with software kits that collect data from the meters and show graphs and charts of previous test results. At your local drugstore, you can get blood sugar meters and strips.
- Meters that check the health of your various bodily components You can examine your upper arm, forearm, the base of the thumb, and thigh with some gadgets. The blood sugar readings obtained from a fingertip stick might vary from all these results. Variations in levels at the fingertips occur more rapidly. This is especially the case when you check your blood sugar levels after eating, because it fluctuates a lot. Don’t depend on test findings from other sections of your body if you have symptoms such as low blood sugar.
- Meters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all function in the very same way. Request that your healthcare team demonstrates the advantages of each. In addition to you, teach someone else how to operate your meter in case you become ill and are unable to monitor your blood sugar.
The following are some pointers on how to utilize a blood sugar meter:
- Make sure the meters are fresh and ready to use and cover the test strip container securely after withdrawing a test strip. When test strips are subjected to dampness, they can be contaminated.
- Use soap and warm water to wash your hands. Allow plenty of time for drying. To get blood into your finger, stimulate your hand. Alcohol dries the skin out too much, so avoid it.
- Prick your finger with a syringe. Gently squeeze a small sample of blood onto the test strip from the base of the finger.
- Insert the strip into the meter; the measurement will emerge after a few seconds. Keep track of your progress and keep a journal. Make a note of anything that may have caused the reading to fall outside of your desired range, such as food, activity, or other factors. Place the lancet and strip in a garbage container and dispose of them appropriately.
- Don’t share lancets as well as other blood sugar monitoring systems with anyone, including members of the family.
It’s also a good idea to check your HbA1c level. Several home glucose monitors can show you your average blood sugar level, which is similar to the HbA1c test.
How frequently do you need to check for Blood Sugar levels
Most people with prediabetes, also called as impaired glucose tolerance, don’t need to keep track of their blood sugar levels. The most important thing is to take efforts to prevent type 2 diabetes by changing your food, increasing your physical exercise, and other parts of your lifestyle.
A person with prediabetes will have their blood sugar levels checked at regular yearly checks. This is typically done with an A1C blood test, which measures average blood sugar levels over the previous two to three months. If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, though; it’s not a bad idea to ask your doctor about blood glucose monitoring. This will show you where your blood sugar is at all times of the day, which may encourage you to keep making the changes and doing the measures that will help you avoid contracting type 2 diabetes.
Your doctor will tell you how often you should monitor your blood sugar. The regularity of testing is usually determined by your diabetes type and management strategy.
Type 1 diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, your doctor may advise you to check your blood sugar four to ten times every day. It’s possible that you’ll have to put the following things to the test:
• Before meals and snacks
• Before and after exercise
• Before bed
• Occasionally during the night • More frequently if you’re sick
• More frequently if you change your regular routine
• More frequently if you start a new medicine
Type 2 diabetes
If you take insulin to treat type 2 diabetes, your doctor may suggest that you test your blood sugar multiple times a day. Testing is usually recommended before meals and at bedtime if you’re taking multiple daily injections. You may need to test only before breakfast and dinner if you use just intermediate- or long-acting insulin.
If you manage type 2 diabetes with non-insulin medications or with diet and exercise alone, you may not need to test your blood sugar daily.
What is the time duration for checking Blood Sugar
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or if you’re pregnant and have diabetes during pregnancy, a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy and disappears after the child is born, testing your blood sugar levels on a regular basis and at particular times throughout the day would be an important part of managing your illness.
Keeping a record of your findings, as well as specifics about what you’ve consumed as well as how much regular exercise you’ve done, will be beneficial. You and your healthcare practitioner can use this information to figure out how particular foods or activities affect your sugar levels and what changes you should make to accomplish your desired objectives.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the pancreas fails to generate enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. People with this type of diabetes will need to take supplemental insulin and check their blood sugar levels for the rest of their lives.
CGMs can be used by people with diabetes, especially those with type 1 diabetes. These gadgets use a sensor implanted under the skin to test your blood sugar every few minutes. Usually, these sensors are maintained for a week or two before they need to be replaced.
A sensor inserted in the new type of persistent glucose monitor may measure blood sugar levels for up to three months. Blood sugar data is wirelessly transmitted from the sensor to a smartphone app via a transmitter worn on the body.
This could involve testing four to ten times a day:
• Before meals
• Before snacks
• Before and after exercise
• Before bed
• Before meals
The following situations may necessitate more frequent testing:
• When you’re sick
• When your daily routine changes
• When you start a new medicine
Type 2 Diabetes
The pancreas doesn’t stop producing insulin entirely in type 2 diabetes; instead, it produces less, or the body becomes less responsive to it. A person with type 2 diabetes may need to take additional insulin depending on the severity of the situation, in which case blood glucose testing is generally recommended.
The frequency will be determined by the type of insulin utilized. Someone who takes many injections during the day may need to check their sugar levels before meals and sleep. Testing twice a day is sufficient for persons who only use long-acting insulin.
The majority of pregnant women who develop diabetes are advised to monitor their blood sugar up to five times per day. Here’s when it happens:
- First thing in the morning before eating to determine fasting glucose
- One to two hours after breakfast
- One to two after lunch
- One to two after dinner
- Just before bedtime
Screening tests may vary slightly depending on your healthcare provider, but generally include:
- The first glucose challenge test will be performed. You’ll be given a syrupy glucose solution to consume. You’ll undergo a blood test an hour later to determine your blood sugar level. Gestational diabetes is defined as a blood sugar level of 190 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 10.6 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
- On a glucose challenge test, a blood sugar level of less than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) is generally deemed normal, though this varies by hospital or lab. If your blood sugar level is higher than usual, you’ll need to do another glucose tolerance test to see if you have diabetes.
- Follow-up glucose tolerance testing. This method is very similar to the first, except your blood sugar will be measured every hour for three hours, and the sweet solution will include much more sugar. You’ll be diagnosed with gestational diabetes if at least two of your blood sugar levels are higher than anticipated.
When you’re dealing with diabetes on a daily basis, it’s natural and healthy to have a series of doubts. Your doctor is well-versed in the various aspects of diabetes, and their expertise extends well beyond medicine. It’s simpler to stay vigilant when you understand how vital it is to monitor blood sugar levels and the benefits they can have in terms of preventing issues. When diabetes is treated seriously, it is a disease that can be successfully treated.