Checking Blood Glucose

Checking your blood glucose (blood sugar) is important. You can use the results to make decisions about food, physical activity, and medication. These decisions can help you feel better day to day and delay or prevent diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke, or blindness.


Before you were diagnosed with diabetes, no matter what you ate or how active you were, your blood glucose levels automatically stayed within a narrow range. But with diabetes, this is no longer true. Your blood glucose level can be higher or lower. These changes are common and can take place quickly.



HOW DO I CHECK MY BLOOD GLUCOSE?

Many people use a blood glucose meter to check their blood glucose several times a day. A meter is a small device that tests a tiny drop of blood and then displays your blood glucose level at that moment. A lancet is a device used to prick the skin to get the drop of blood. The results are used to make decisions about food, physical activity, and medications.

WHAT ARE THE BLOOD GLUCOSE TARGETS FOR PEOPLE WITH DIABETES?

The general targets recommended by the American Diabetes Association are listed below. Talk with your health care team about whether these targets are right for you.

Association targets

    When I wake up and before meals: 80 to 130 mg/dl
    2 hours after starting a meal: below 180 mg/dl


WHEN ARE THE BEST TIMES OF DAY TO CHECK BLOOD GLUCOSE?

Many people check blood glucose first thing in the morning before they eat (called “fasting”) as well as before other meals. You also may want to check after a meal (called “postprandial”) when your blood glucose is likely to be higher.

Other times to check include:

    when you’re having symptoms of high or low blood glucose
    when you’re ill, especially if you’re throwing up or dehydrated
    before, during, and after physical activity
    before you drive
    before you go to sleep


HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO CHECK?

If you’re using your blood glucose results to decide how much insulin to take, you’ll need to check several times a day. Otherwise, you may be able to check less often. When you make changes in your medication, activity, or meal plan, or when you are pregnant, you should probably check more often. Talk it over with your health care team.

Many people check blood glucose first thing in the morning before they eat (called “fasting”) as well as before other meals. You also may want to check after a meal (called “postprandial”) when your blood glucose is likely to be higher.

ARE THERE WAYS TO GET A BLOOD SAMPLE WITHOUT STICKING MY FINGER?

Some glucose meters can check blood samples from areas other than the fingertips. This can be the fleshy parts of the hand, the forearm, the outer thigh, the calf, or the abdomen. Sometimes, to get the most accurate results, experts recommend that you use your fingertips instead of these sites.

These times include when:

    your blood glucose is low or likely to be low
    you have trouble realizing that your blood glucose is low
    it’s less than 2 hours after starting a meal
    before you drive
    you’ve been physically active

If you’re seeking ways to keep your fingertips from getting sore, or you can’t get blood from alternative sites, talk with your health care team about different types of lancets or other techniques that can help.

HOW CAN I MAKE SURE THAT MY METER PROVIDES ACCURATE RESULTS?

Follow your meter’s instructions for the most accurate results.

This includes:

    keeping your meter clean
    making sure your test strips haven’t passed their expiration date
    storing your strips as recommended
    coding (setting up) your meter for your strips if necessary and using the control solution as recommended
    making sure your blood sample is big enough

Review how you use your meter with your doctor or diabetes educator once a year. You can also compare the results of a meter check to results of a blood glucose check done at the lab. Your health care team can provide more information on how to do this type of comparison. If your meter isn’t working at all, it may need new batteries. Check the back of your meter for the meter manufacturer’s phone number in case questions arise.


Ambulatory Glucose monitoring

It involves the use of a monitoring device which is as small as a button disc. This device is attached to the back of the person's arm & it stays on for 14 days continuously measuring the blood glucose levels every 15 minutes. The entire process takes only 5 minutes & is virtually painfree. The person is free to carry out his daily activities without any hassle including his bath.


After 14 days, the sensor readings are downloaded on the computer & a report print out is generated. This gives the Idea of various “highs” & “lows” suffered by the patient to the doctor & it helps him to give him an appropriate treatment. It is a very patient & pocket friendly procedure.