Whether you’ve been living with diabetes for many years or you were recently diagnosed, monitoring your blood sugar is an important part of your everyday life. Knowing your blood sugar levels tells you if your exercise, diet and insulin (or pills) are balancing well, or if you need to make some changes. Because blood sugar monitoring is so important, here are five practical tips to help get the most from this daily routine.
1.Keep a log or diary.
Testing your blood sugar every day tells you what your blood sugar levels are in real time, but a log or diary of your levels can tell a different story. By keeping track of your blood sugar over time, you and your doctor (or nurse practitioner) may be able to find patterns when your blood sugar goes too high or too low. If there is a pattern, you may be able to make some changes to prevent these swings from happening.
2.Know your target range.
The amount of sugar in your blood changes throughout the day, depending on if you have just eaten and how long it has been since you have consumed anything. So it’s important to know what your target range should be, depending on the time. There are generally accepted guidelines, but your doctor or nurse may want you to focus on different numbers that are best for your health. So be sure you know what your personal targets should be.
3.Know when to check your blood sugar.
Since everyone is an individual and treatment for diabetes varies, not everyone tests their blood sugar at the same times of the day. Some people may check just before eating and bedtime, while others may also check in between meals. Speak with your doctor or nurse to see how often and at what times you should be testing your blood. Of course, if you are ill or if you have some reason to suspect your blood sugar is too high or low, you can do additional blood checks.
4.Understand and care for your glucose monitor.
All glucose monitors do the same thing—measure the sugar levels detected in a drop of blood—but not all work in the same way. If you have any questions, your pharmacist may be able to help you. Or you can call the company that manufactured your device. Many of these companies have consumer help lines, so they can answer your questions. Also, be sure to keep your machine clean and to have backup batteries handy, so you can replace them if needed.
5.Check expiration dates on the testing strips.
Like many products we buy, testing strips for glucometers do have expiration dates. For the best possible results, be sure yours have not expired.
Living with diabetes means you need to take extra care of yourself. By taking care to monitor your blood sugar properly, you are on your way to taking control of your diabetes.