How Typically Ought to I Verify My Blood Sugar?

Medically reviewed by Anna Goldman, MD.

If you happen to’re utilizing a blood glucose meter or glucometer (BGM) to handle your diabetes, checking your blood sugar is essential — and for those who take insulin, you’ll have to examine a number of instances per day. The numbers in your BGM can inform you how nicely your physique is dealing with the meals you eat and in case your medicine dosages should be adjusted. Checking your blood sugar every single day can be to your quick and long-term security. 

Issues to contemplate about when and infrequently it’s best to examine your blood sugar:

  • What the American Diabetes Affiliation (ADA) says: The ADA’s suggestion is broad however features a few essential factors: If you happen to take insulin, you ought to be monitoring your blood sugar each day. Total, blood sugar monitoring frequency ought to be tailor-made to every particular person primarily based on objectives, present blood sugar ranges, adjustments in drugs, and so on.
  • If you happen to take insulin through injections or pump, your healthcare group ought to prescribe a BGM and/or CGM (steady glucose monitor) that can assist you monitor your blood sugars. When taking insulin, your blood sugars can fluctuate shortly and dramatically in case your doses aren’t fine-tuned to your physique’s wants! In case your BGM says your blood sugar spikes 100 factors after breakfast, for instance, that tells you and your healthcare group that your insulin doses want a significant adjustment!
  • If you happen to don’t take insulin, checking your blood sugar every single day remains to be essential. Your ranges could possibly be creeping up regularly or shortly, however you’re not feeling the signs or conscious of the fluctuations. In case your healthcare group feels comfy with the soundness of your blood sugar ranges — which means you’re sustaining your A1C purpose — you is likely to be given the inexperienced gentle to chop again considerably on common monitoring.

You may’t handle what you don’t know! Right here’s a have a look at what instances of day you would possibly contemplate checking your blood sugar.

Uninterested in pricking your finger?

The tedious (and painful) act of pricking your finger can get tiring. If you happen to’re bored with pricking your finger, positively take a look at as we speak’s steady glucose monitoring choices:

When you would possibly really feel hesitant about carrying one thing in your pores and skin all day, as we speak’s CGM know-how is fairly darn comfy. In reality, you’ll seemingly overlook it’s even in your pores and skin. 

CGMs provide you with extra knowledge than a BGM or A1C check ever may, like time-in-range (TIR). TIR tells you what proportion of the day you’re inside, above, or beneath your goal blood sugar ranges.

Analysis continues to display that utilizing a CGM — even in individuals who aren’t taking insulin — improves A1c ranges and reduces the frequency and severity of low blood sugars. Latest analysis from T1D Trade discovered important advantages of utilizing a CGM inside six months of being identified with kind 1 diabetes.

You may attempt the Libre or Dexcom sensors without cost with the Hi there, Dexcom and My Freestyle trial applications.

Okay, let’s check out necessary instances of day to examine the ol’ blood sugar.

Whenever you get up

Your blood sugar very first thing within the morning says quite a bit about how your physique and drugs are working. It’s been no less than eight hours because you ate something, in order that removes the most important variable: meals! That is most likely an important time of the day to examine your blood sugar, particularly you probably have kind 2 diabetes and don’t use insulin.

If you happen to’re constantly waking up above your goal blood sugar vary, that’s a transparent signal for you and your healthcare group. Whereas being a bit of bit above your goal vary isn’t essentially trigger for alarm, being considerably above your goal vary means it’s time to take motion.

It may imply it’s essential regulate current medicine dosages, contemplate beginning a brand new medicine, or make some changes in your total way of life habits that affect insulin resistance. 

However, for those who’re waking up low, it may recommend you’re getting an excessive amount of of a drugs — particularly insulin or sulfonylureas! Take into account that for those who begin one other medicine, like Ozempic or Mounjaro, this might imply it’s essential regulate your insulin doses to forestall lows, despite the fact that Ozempic and Mounjaro don’t trigger hypoglycemia on their very own. Both method, it’s time to speak along with your healthcare group.

Earlier than consuming

Checking earlier than each meal sounds tedious, however it’s essential — particularly for those who take insulin or your A1c is larger than your purpose.

It’s necessary to know what your blood sugar is earlier than consuming as a result of we’re additionally going to speak about checking your blood sugar after consuming! In case your blood sugar was excessive earlier than the meal, that’s essential info for you and your healthcare group.

Heading right into a meal with a excessive blood sugar may imply a number of issues:

  • You didn’t get sufficient insulin along with your final meal.
  • You aren’t getting sufficient basal/background insulin.
  • It’s essential contemplate beginning insulin remedy or one other diabetes medicine.
  • Your physique, usually talking, wants extra help managing your blood sugar.

Checking your blood sugar earlier than consuming units you up for achievement!

Two hours after consuming 

Whereas it may definitely take greater than two hours for a meal to digest, it is a good indicator of how nicely your physique is dealing with the meal you ate.

  • If you happen to take insulin, excessive or low blood sugars after consuming recommend you’re getting too little or an excessive amount of insulin. This tells your healthcare group your doses and insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio want fine-tuning!
  • If you happen to don’t take insulin, excessive blood sugars after consuming suggests your physique wants extra help from diabetes drugs otherwise you would possibly contemplate making adjustments in your meal selections.

The data you get from that post-meal BGM examine may inspire you to make some changes in what you’re consuming. That enormous bowl of cereal or pasta is likely to be greater than your physique can deal with. Whenever you see the proof in your BGM, it’s onerous to disregard. That doesn’t imply you may’t ever eat pasta, however it would possibly imply you need to contemplate lowering the portion measurement.

Earlier than and after bodily exercise 

Train could cause speedy adjustments in your blood sugar degree as a result of your physique wants extra gas to carry out!

Cardio train: Also called “cardio train,” one of these bodily exercise will increase how shortly your cells take up glucose to make use of that glucose for vitality. If you happen to take insulin, this implies your blood sugar can drop in a short time. Cardio train consists of strolling, jogging, vacuuming the home, gardening, biking, and so on

Anaerobic train: Anaerobic train is completely different! It might probably truly trigger your blood sugar to rise because of “gluconeogenesis” — when your physique converts lactic acid into glucose to make use of for gas! Your liver may launch saved glucose throughout and after anaerobic train. Anaerobic train consists of issues like energy coaching, CrossFit, and sprinting.

Studying how one can handle your blood sugar throughout train — particularly for those who take insulin — takes time. Work along with your healthcare group and take good notes!

No matter what kind of train you’re doing, all the time carry fast-acting carbohydrates with you to deal with potential hypoglycemia.

Earlier than mattress

Earlier than you compromise in for the night time, it’s essential to your well being and security to offer that ol’ blood sugar degree a glance. You’re going to be snoozing for eight hours! 

Verify your blood sugar earlier than mattress is essential as a result of:

  • If you happen to take insulin or different diabetes drugs, you’ll need to ensure you’re in a protected vary earlier than falling asleep. If you happen to’re low, you’ll want a small snack. If you happen to’re excessive, you might want a correction dose. This time of day additionally lets you know the way nicely your insulin dose lined your dinner and/or dessert.
  • If you happen to don’t take insulin, that pre-snooze blood sugar tells you the way nicely your physique is dealing with dinner and/or dessert. If you happen to’re constantly above your goal vary, it’s a transparent signal that your meals selections would possibly want some adjusting or that you simply want help from diabetes drugs.

That 8-hour snooze is 25% of your whole day’s price of blood sugar ranges! Getting your blood sugar into your purpose vary all through the night time can have a big effect in your A1c, too. However you may’t handle what you don’t know — so that you’ve gotta begin checking your blood sugar earlier than mattress.

The underside line

Gather that knowledge and discuss to your healthcare group! The extra usually you examine your blood sugar, the higher you’ll perceive your situation and how one can handle it.

If you happen to don’t use insulin, your physician could advocate solely checking as soon as a day or a number of instances per week, however the extra knowledge you collect, the extra you recognize about your diabetes well being. You may additionally discover you simply have to examine extra usually for per week or two to see how issues are going. Get that knowledge, discuss to your healthcare group, and by no means quit!

American Diabetes Affiliation Skilled Apply Committee. Diabetes Expertise: Requirements of Care in Diabetes—2024. Diabetes Care. December 11, 2023.

Gavin and Bailey. Steady Glucose Monitoring Impression and Implications of Actual-World Proof: Previous, Current, and Future. Diabetes Expertise & Therapeutics. June 2023.

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