Diabetes and Testing
Checking your blood glucose levels at home can give you invaluable insights about how your treatment plan is working.
When you know what’s making your blood glucose levels rise and fall you can take steps to help keep yourself on target based on your health care provider’s recommendations. Fortunately, there’s a wide range of blood glucose meters – also called blood glucose monitors – that enable you to easily and accurately check your blood glucose with just a tiny drop of blood.
You’ve probably already talked with your health care provider about blood glucose testing but here’s a quick summary of what you’ll want to know about why, how and when to test.
Why to test
Self-monitoring helps you understand how you eat, portion sizes, weight loss, exercise, stress, illness, and medications affect your blood glucose levels.
While seeing a health care provider for testing is very important, self-testing is likely going to be an essential part of staying on top of your treatment plan. Testing itself has no direct impact on your blood glucose but it enables you and your health care team to continually assess your condition and determine if changes are necessary.
When you test regularly – and log faithfully – you’ll not only know if your blood glucose level is out of range on a particular day, you’ll see important trends that will help you and your healthcare practitioner set and manage goals.
How to test
In a matter of seconds, blood glucose meters accurately measure your blood sugar levels at a certain point in time.
Here’s what you’ll be using to perform your test:
A glucose meter – also called a monitor. There’s a wide range of products available so it will be easy to find one that suits you
A lancet or tiny needle and a device to hold the lancet
A blood glucose logbook or tracking software
Today’s tests are quick and easy
- After washing your hands, put a new test strip into your meter and a lancet into the lancing device
- Use the lancet to gently prick your finger – preferably on the side of your finger to prevent sore fingertips. (Your meter may enable you to use an alternate site like your forearm or upper arm. Ask your doctor if that will work for you.)
- Place a drop of blood onto the test strip and watch for your results
- Wash your hands following the test
- Log your reading
Track those results!
Keeping a log of your results on a blood glucose chart will give you an excellent picture of your body’s response to your actions and care plan. Whether you record on your computer, phone or on paper be sure and save your results and share them with your health care provider. Your treatment will very likely be more effective if you participate in identifying patterns and spotting potential problems based on your Health Care Provider’s recommendations.
Make a habit of Logging:
Date and time of the test
Medications you’re taking and dosage
Whether it was before or after a meal
What foods you ate (if after a meal, note the carbohydrate content)
Any exercise you did that day
The target range for blood glucose test results should be recommended by your Health Care Provider. They could be based on several factors, including:
Type and severity of diabetes
How long you’ve had diabetes
Your overall health and the presence of other medical conditions
When to test
How often and what time of day you’ll test will depend on your personal diabetes management plan and your Health Care Provider’s recommendations. It may include factors such as what type of diabetes you have, your age, overall health, diet, medications, level of physical activity, and how much fluctuation there is in your blood glucose levels.
Your healthcare team might suggest you test at any of these times:
1 or 2 hours after meals
Before, during or after physical activity
Try to make a habit of looking back at your logbook to see if your numbers are out of range for several days. If you start to see a pattern you can consult with your healthcare team to see if it might be time to make some changes.
Remember, it’s only natural that you might get frustrated at times. You might even be tempted to give up on testing. Please don’t! Try and make these quick, easy tests a regular part of your day. Also, try to look at every test as an opportunity to safeguard your well-being and your health!
The information provided is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician or qualified health provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Individual symptoms, situations and circumstances may vary.