Most diabetics should have their blood sugar checked (blood sugar levels) regularly. Knowing the results can help you adjust your disease control strategy. Regular Glucose Monitoring can also help you avoid long-term health problems that can be caused by the condition, such as:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Kidney disease
- Skin problems
Research shows that in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are sticking to target blood sugar and HbA1c levels lead to fewer complications.
Different methods for glucose monitoring for diabetic patients
1. Traditional home glucose testing
You prick your finger with a tiny needle called the lancet. You can Drop a drop of blood on the test strip. Then place the strip into a meter that shows your blood sugar. Save test results so you can share them with your doctor. From your results, the two of you may adjust your diet, exercise, or medication.
The meter will vary by features, portability, speed, size, price, and readability (with a large display or voice guidance if you have visual impairments). The device renders in less than 15 seconds and stores this information for future use. Some meters also calculate average blood sugar levels over a period of time. Some also offer a software package that takes data from the meter and displays graphs and charts of your past test results. Blood glucose meters and strips are available at your local drugstore.
2. Different types of meters in the market
Some devices let you test your upper arm, forearm, the base of your thumb, and thigh. These results may differ from the blood sugar levels obtained from the fingertips. The level on the fingertip shows a faster change. This is especially true when your sugar changes rapidly, such as after meals or after exercise. If you have symptoms of low blood sugar, do not rely on test results from other parts of the body.
3. Continuous Glucose Monitoring System
Some of these devices are used in conjunction with insulin pumps. They are not as accurate as glucose bar results. But it can help you find patterns and trends in your sugar levels. You may hear your doctor call these things “Interstitial glucose meters” if you choose this method.
The doctor will place a small sensor. Put it under your skin to check your blood sugar every 5 minutes. It sends information to a monitor you wear like a pager for a few days. Continuous Glucose Monitoring doesn’t replace that. It helps your doctor know more about trends that may not show self-examination.
4. Blood testing meter
There are many new meters on the market all the time. Therefore, it can be challenging to choose a suitable meter. It’s best to ask your healthcare team for advice on which meter is right for you. If you have vision problems, you may not be able to use some meters. So your healthcare team can suggest alternatives. Some people can get the meter by prescription. But if you buy your own meter, you may not receive a prescription for the test strips to use. Talk to your healthcare team for the best result.
5. Test strips
The test strips usually come in packs of 50 and must be compatible with the meter type of your choice. But about one in four people have a regular doctor who refuses to order the test strips. You think this is unacceptable. That’s why you can campaign to make prescription test strips accessible to everyone. If this happens to you, if this doesn’t work, contact your healthcare provider.
6. Flash glucose monitor
More and more people with diabetes Opt for a flash glucose monitor to check their glucose levels. This is a needle-free blood sugar test. Instead, it uses sensors you wear on your skin and does the test without pricking your finger. But flash blood glucose monitors don’t measure your blood sugar. It measures the amount of sugar in the fluid surrounding your cells which is called interstitial fluid. This causes a delay in reading. So it’s not entirely accurate, so you will still need to test with your index finger periodically.
7. HbA1c test
The same is true for regularly testing your own blood sugar. Your healthcare team will ask you to have your HbA1c blood test at least once a year. This will check your average blood sugar levels over the past three months and help your diabetes team and you see trends over time. This is one of your essential diabetes health checks, and it is essential that you understand what your results mean.
If you have a high HbA1c means, you have too much blood sugar. This means you are more likely to develop complications from diabetes, such as severe problems with your eyes and feet. Therefore, it is very important to do this Glucose Monitoring regularly. So you can make changes and reduce your risk of complications.
8. Blood test
To check blood sugar levels, your doctor will usually draw blood from a vein inside your elbow. The steps for Glucose Monitoring are given by,
- They clean the area with a disinfectant such as alcohol to kill germs.
- They can tie an elastic band around your upper arm, causing your veins to swell with blood, and then insert a sterile needle into a vein. You may feel mild to moderate pain when the needle is inserted. But you can reduce the pain by relaxing your arms.
- Your blood will be drawn into a tube attached to the needle.
- When the blood draw is complete, the medical personnel will remove the needle and wrap a bandage over the puncture site.
- Pressure is applied to the puncture site for a few minutes to prevent bruising.
After the test, your blood sample will be sent to a laboratory for testing, and your healthcare provider will follow up with you to discuss the results.
A Glucometer is a device that checks blood sugar levels from a single drop of blood. But most people with diabetes check their blood sugar three to four times a day. No limit on the frequency of use, But you have to use a new drop of blood and a new test strip every time. You will get blood glucose results within seconds. So you know if your glucose is low, high, or within range. Most devices have the option to store results over time. This makes it easy to view patterns and share them with your provider.
Why will you test your glucose level?
Glucose Monitoring provides valuable information for managing diabetes. It can help you:
- It helps to monitor the effects of diabetes medications on blood sugar levels.
- Identify high or low blood sugar levels.
- Track progress towards meeting your overall healing goals.
- You can learn how diet and exercise affect blood sugar levels.
- Understand that other factors, such as illness or stress how it does affect blood sugar levels.
Which is the best time to check your blood sugar?
For blood sugar testing, there is no specific time. It depends on the purpose of measuring your blood sugar levels. E.g., Is it to assess the effectiveness of a drug or to learn the effect of your diet? Usually, you may be asked to check your sugar levels:
- When you are waking up and before eating or drinking
- Before and after each meal (typically two hours after meals)
- Before bedtime
- Before and after exercise (common in type 1 diabetes)
When will you test your blood sugar?
The Glucose Monitoring depends on the type of diabetes you have:
Type 1 diabetes depends on your doctor:
They can recommend that you test anywhere between four and ten times a day. For example, you can test before meals and snacks, before and after exercise, before bedtime, and even at night. You may need to be checked more often if you are sick, change your daily routine or start a new medication.
Type 2 diabetes depends on what you use to treat your diabetes:
Your doctor may tell you to test a few times a day. It depends on the type and amount of insulin you use. You may test before eating and at bedtime if you are injecting several times a day. You may only need to test twice a day before breakfast and dinner if you are using long-acting insulin only.
Suppose you are taking medications to control diabetes. Your healthcare provider will tell you how often to check your blood sugar.
If you depend on diet and exercise, you may not need to test your blood sugar every day.
Wrapping It Up
Glucose Monitoring is pretty easy to do. Although the thought of collecting your own blood samples each day can make some people uncomfortable, modern spring-loaded lancet detectors make the process simple and almost painless. Recording your blood sugar can be part of healthy diabetes treatment or diet routine. If your sugar levels are out of the normal range, you and your doctor will need to come up with a plan to determine the cause.