Diabetes Self-Management Articles

Keeping your blood glucose levels in a healthy range may require monitoring several times a day. The articles in this section discuss how often to check your blood glucose, how to do it properly, and how to interpret the numbers. You’ll also find tips for reducing the pain of finger sticks, getting accurate results from your meter, and keeping records of your readings.


Alternate-Site Testing by Marie Rosenthal, MS

If fingertip pain or callusing is getting in the way of regular blood glucose monitoring — or just causing you more discomfort than you care to live with — consider giving alternate-site testing a try…


Analyze This! by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE

Picture this: You’re sitting in an exam room at your doctor’s office. The nurse pokes her head in and says, “Sorry for the wait. He’ll be right with you.” Yeah, you’ve heard that before. To kill some time, you start building a miniature fort out of tongue depressors on the examination table. Add some gauze for fences and an odd instrument for a flagpole, and you have quite a little scene going…

Also inside: Simple Record-Keeping System, Connie's Records, Daniel's Records, Renee's Records

Blood Glucose Monitoring by Virginia Peragallo-Dittko, APRN, MA, BC-ADM, CDE

“I must admit that I stopped checking my blood sugar,” Dave said. “I used to stick myself and write the numbers in a book, but I had no idea what they meant. I’d eat the same thing and get different numbers. Finally, I just…

Also inside: Blood Glucose Meter Averages: Don't Be Fooled

Blood Glucose Monitoring by Johanna Burani, MS, RD, CDE

Monitoring your blood glucose gives you real-time information about how the decisions you make throughout the day affect your blood glucose levels. Regular blood glucose monitoring may help you resolve problems with your diabetes management…

Also inside: Good Monitoring Technique, What Makes Blood Glucose Go Up or Down?

Blood Glucose Monitoring: When to Check and Why by Rebecca K. Abma

Managing diabetes is one part investigation and two parts action. Unlike some other diseases that rely primarily on professional medical treatment, diabetes treatment requires active participation by the person who has it. Monitoring your blood glucose level on a regular basis and analyzing the results is believed by many to be a crucial part of the treatment equation…

Also inside: Getting Accurate Readings, When Your Fingers Have Had Enough

Continuous Glucose Monitoring by Laurie Block, RD, CDE

Blood glucose monitoring has gotten easier, more accurate, and less painful over the years, but it still provides only snapshots of a person’s blood glucose level. Even a person who monitors several times a day really only knows what his blood glucose level…

Also inside: for Sample Data Printout

Continuous Glucose Monitoring by Linda Mackowiak, M.S., R.N., C.D.E.

Even with regular blood glucose monitoring, one of the big unknowns in diabetes self-management is what happens to glucose levels between blood glucose checks. In recent years, however, the development of continuous glucose monitors that check glucose…

Also inside: Devices on the Market

Continuous Glucose Monitoring by Neesha Ramchandani, PNP, CDE

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) can be a wonderful tool to help people with diabetes manage their blood glucose levels. But as helpful as the data from a CGM can be, getting accustomed to using one can take some time and can sometimes be frustrating. This article addresses some of the common questions that come up about CGMs and presents strategies for getting the most from continuous glucose monitoring…


Continuous Glucose Monitoring: Making Sense of Your Numbers by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE

A1c. HDL. LDL. Fasting blood glucose levels. Postprandial blood glucose levels. Grams of carbohydrate. Insulin-to-carbohydrate ratios. Correction factors.

Ever feel like you”re drowning in numbers? Diabetes care is chock full of numerical data…


H-B-A-1-C by Mark Nakamoto

You’ve pulled out your logbook and are taking off your jacket to bare your upper arm for the blood pressure cuff, when the nurse walks in and asks you to hold out a finger. “Does it matter that I had breakfast this morning?” you ask…

Also inside: Blood Glucose Correlations

Making Your Meter Work for You by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE

It is well documented that keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible can reduce the risk of the chronic or long-term complications of diabetes, including eye disease (retinopathy), kidney disease (nephropathy), and nerve damage…

Also inside: Blood Glucose Targets

Managing Your Blood Glucose Ups and Downs by Stacy Griffin, PharmD, RPh, and Diane Ballard, RN, BSN, CDE

High blood glucose is the defining characteristic of diabetes: It’s what leads to a diagnosis of diabetes, and it’s what can lead to long-term diabetes complications if sustained over time. Consequently, the medicines prescribed to treat diabetes lower blood glucose in one way or another. Exercise, too, usually lowers blood glucose, which is one of the reasons it’s an important part of a diabetes treatment regimen. But too-low blood glucose, or hypoglycemia, is no good, either, since it can cause you to lose consciousness.

Also inside: Continuous Glucose Monitoring, Blood Glucose Targets, Twice-A-Day Monitoring Schedule, Average Blood Glucose

Talking Meters by Ann S. Williams, Ph.D., R.N., C.D.E.

Self-monitoring of blood glucose is one of the areas of diabetes self-management that is deeply affected by severe visual impairment. When people with diabetes learn they have permanent visual impairment, one of the first questions they often ask a…

Also inside: Insurance Coverage for Talking Meters, Resources, Strips: Which End is Which?, Getting a Blood Drop onto a Strip

Ten Good Reasons to Hate Blood Glucose Monitoring by William H. Polonsky, PhD, CDE

Checking blood glucose is now so quick, easy, and relatively painless — and the information you can obtain is so valuable — that you would think everybody would be monitoring regularly. But this is far from true. If you don’t check your blood glucose as often as you should, you aren’t the only one. An American Diabetes Association survey found that 21% of adults with Type 1 diabetes never checked their blood glucose…


The Benefits of Tight Control by Wayne Clark

It has been 16 years since the results of the landmark Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) were published. Despite its continuing legacy of proof that maintaining blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible reduces the risk of…


The Great Blood Glucose Balancing Act by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE

Recently, I saw two very different clients with a very similar problem: difficulty controlling blood glucose levels during physical activity…

Also inside: Adjusting Premeal Insulin for Activity, Carbohydrate Needed per Hour of Activity

Top 10 Tips for Better Blood Glucose Control by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE

Parents need to stay involved in their child’s management. Find out how to make things just a little bit better, both for you and for your kids…


Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

My insulin requirements have changed since I became pregnant. Why might this be? Get tip


Carbohydrate Restriction: An Option for Diabetes Management
Some people find that decreasing the amount of carbohydrate they eat can help with blood glucose control. Here’s what to know about this approach.

Insulin Patch Pumps: A New Tool for Type 2
Patch pumps are simpler to operate than traditional insulin pumps and may be a good option for some people with Type 2 diabetes who need insulin.

How Much Do You Know About Vitamins?
Learn what these micronutrients can and can’t do for you.

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