Blood glucose monitoring provides you with a sense of whether or not your blood glucose levels are in a healthy range. In this video, hosted by certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian Alison Massey, learn recommended blood glucose levels, when to monitor your blood glucose, how to perform a blood glucose check, and more.
Monitoring Blood Glucose
Hi, I’m Alison Massey, Registered Dietician, Certified Diabetes Educator and Contributor to Diabetes Self-Management Magazine.
How to Monitor Blood Glucose
Monitoring your blood glucose levels is one important aspect in diabetes care. Glucometers or glucose meters tell you where your blood glucose is at a specific moment in time. Monitoring provides you with a sense of whether or not your glucose levels are in a healthy range or not so healthy range.
What are Normal Blood Glucose Levels
So, what are healthy ranges for blood glucose. The American Diabetes Association recommends that fasting blood glucose levels or blood glucose before meals be between 80 and 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). If you monitor after meals, you should check two hours after the start of your meal. The American Diabetes Association recommend that after meal blood glucose levels should be lower than 180 mg/dl.
Generally, how often you monitor your blood glucose level will depend on your diabetes medication regimen. Your healthcare provider or certified diabetes educator can guide you as to the best times per day for you to monitor your blood glucose.
When is the Best Time to Monitor Blood Glucose Levels
The times of day that people most typically monitor their blood glucose include, first thing in the morning, also known as fasting level, before meals and/or two hours after meals, before bedtime and before or after exercising.
You can use your data about your levels to find patterns or trends on how your blood glucose varies on certain times of the day, and to determine what food or lifestyle factors may be contributing to fluctuations in your blood glucose. You can share and discuss this information with your healthcare provider at your next clinic visit.
How to Use a Blood Glucose Monitor
So, how do you monitor your blood glucose levels exactly? Your glucometer kit will come with three different parts. The meter, the lancet, and the test strips.
Wash your hands with soap and water.
Next, if you’re starting to use a brand-new meter, you’ll want to set it up with the correct date and time. Each meter is different, but the instruction guide should tell you how to set this information up.
The third step is loading the lancet into the lancet device. The lancet is the tool used to prick your finger for the blood sample. Lancet devices can vary slightly, but typically your spring-loaded gadgets into which you’ll load small needles. On most devices, you can adjust how deep you want the lancet to prick you. The higher the number, typically the deeper the prick to your finger. The lancet should be changed for each finger stick.
Once your lancet device is loaded and ready to go. Place one test strip into the meter. Usually inserted the test strip into the meter will turn the meter on. You’ll want to wait until you see a display sign that the meter is ready to collect the blood sample.
Use the lancet device to prick one of your fingers. You can use any of your ten fingers, or if your blood glucose meter is approved for alternate site testing, certain other areas of your body. If you are monitoring frequently, you’ll likely want to rotate the sites where you are pricking your fingers.
Place the drop of blood onto the test strip. Often you just need a small sample of blood. It should take only a few seconds to see your blood glucose result.
Daily blood glucose monitoring is an important part of diabetes self-management. Talk with your healthcare provider or diabetes educator if you have questions about your blood glucose goals or about how often you should be monitoring your blood glucose levels. For more tips on how to best manage your diabetes, visit DiabetesSelfManagement.com and subscribe to Diabetes Self-management magazine.
More about Monitoring Blood Glucose
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This blood sugar chart shows normal blood glucose levels before and after meals and recommended HbA1c levels for people with and without diabetes.
Diabetes treatment requires active participation by the person who has it. Find out what the recommended glucose levels are and when to monitor.
Do you experience frequent urination, blurry vision, or excessive hunger? Learn about these and other common symptoms of high blood sugar.