Blood Glucose Monitoring

What is Blood Glucose Monitoring

Blood glucose monitoring involves checking your blood glucose as often as directed, and keeping a record (log) of your results over time.

Monitoring your blood sugar (glucose) helps you manage your diabetes. It also helps you and your health care provider determine how well your diabetes management plan is working.

Why should I monitor my blood glucose?

Checking your blood glucose regularly can:

  • Help you understand how food, exercise, illnesses, and medicines affect your blood glucose.
  • Let you know what your blood glucose is at any time. You can quickly tell if you are having low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) or high blood glucose (hyperglycemia).
  • Help you and your health care provider adjust your medicines as needed.

When should I check my blood glucose?

Follow instructions from your health care provider about how often to check your blood glucose. This may depend on:

  • The type of diabetes you have.
  • How well-controlled your diabetes is.
  • Medicines you are taking.

If you have type 1 diabetes:

  • Check your blood glucose at least 2 times a day.
  • Also check your blood glucose:
    • Before every insulin injection.
    • Before and after exercise.
    • Between meals.
    • 2 hours after a meal.
    • Occasionally between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., as directed.
    • Before potentially dangerous tasks, like driving or using heavy machinery.
    • At bedtime.
  • You may need to check your blood glucose more often, up to 6–10 times a day:
    • If you use an insulin pump.
    • If you need multiple daily injections (MDI).
    • If your diabetes is not well-controlled.
    • If you are ill.
    • If you have a history of severe hypoglycemia.
    • If you have a history of not knowing when your blood glucose is getting low (hypoglycemia unawareness).

If you have type 2 diabetes:

  • If you take insulin or other diabetes medicines, check your blood glucose at least 2 times a day.
  • If you are on intensive insulin therapy, check your blood glucose at least 4 times a day. Occasionally, you may also need to check between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., as directed.
  • Also check your blood glucose:
    • Before and after exercise.
    • Before potentially dangerous tasks, like driving or using heavy machinery.
  • You may need to check your blood glucose more often if:
    • Your medicine is being adjusted.
    • Your diabetes is not well-controlled.
    • You are ill.

What is a blood glucose log?

  • A blood glucose log is a record of your blood glucose readings. It helps you and your health care provider:
    • Look for patterns in your blood glucose over time.
    • Adjust your diabetes management plan as needed.

Every time you check your blood glucose, write down your result and notes about things that may be affecting your blood glucose, such as your diet and exercise for the day.

  • Most glucose meters store a record of glucose readings in the meter. Some meters allow you to download your records to a computer.

How do I check my blood glucose?

Follow these steps to get accurate readings of your blood glucose:

Supplies needed

  • Blood glucose meter.
  • Test strips for your meter. Each meter has its own strips. You must use the strips that come with your meter.
  • A needle to prick your finger (lancet). Do notuse lancets more than once.
  • A device that holds the lancet (lancing device).
  • A journal or log book to write down your results.

Procedure

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Prick the side of your finger (not the tip) with the lancet. Use a different finger each time.
  • Gently rub the finger until a small drop of blood appears.
  • Follow instructions that come with your meter for inserting the test strip, applying blood to the strip, and using your blood glucose meter.
  • Write down your result and any notes.

Alternative testing sites

  • Some meters allow you to use areas of your body other than your finger (alternative sites)to test your blood.
  • If you think you may have hypoglycemia, or if you have hypoglycemia unawareness, do notuse alternative sites. Use your finger instead.
  • Alternative sites may not be as accurate as the fingers, because blood flow is slower in these areas. This means that the result you get may be delayed, and it may be different from the result that you would get from your finger.
  • The most common alternative sites are:
    • Forearm.
    • Thigh.
    • Palm of the hand.

Additional tips

  • Always keep your supplies with you.
  • If you have questions or need help, all blood glucose meters have a 24-hour “hotline” number that you can call. You may also contact your health care provider.
  • After you use a few boxes of test strips, adjust (calibrate) your blood glucose meter by following instructions that came with your meter.
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