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Checking Glucose Levels


Too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause diabetes problems. This high blood glucose, also called blood sugar, can have a damaging effect on the body if not treated earlier enough. People with diabetes should test their blood sugar levels on a regular basis. Type 1 diabetics and as well as type 2 diabetics can help reduce complications from diabetes by getting tested regularly. Blood glucose testing is one of the best tools for keeping diabetes in control. Studies show that even long-time users of glucose meters can make errors that lead to misleading or incorrect blood glucose results. To maintain accuracy, you and your child should periodically complete a blood glucose check in the presence of a diabetes educator.

What should my blood glucose numbers be? (The following information is from the NIH government website)

Keeping track of your blood glucose on target can prevent or delay diabetic problems. Here is a chart of glucose levels for the average person that have diabetes.

Average Blood Glucose Levels for People with Diabetes
Before meals 90-130
1 to 2 hours after the start of a meal Less than 180

Talk to your health care provider about what your blood glucose numbers should be and write them down on a piece of paper

Before meals _____to_____
1 to 2 hours after the start of a meal _____to_____
  Talk to your health care provider about when you need to check your blood glucose levels using a blood glucose meter. You can keep track of your blood glucose using our record page  

which you can print out. Show the records to a medical professional so they can talk about and help you reach your glucose levels.


Some questions to ask a healthcare provider are the following:

1 How much blood to be drawn for the testing?
2 The type (and cost) of testing strips to use with the meter.
3 How to clean the meter?
4 How to check if the meter is accurate?
5 How to calibrate the meter
6 Any special features on the meter (for example, some have large displays or backlighting).
  How can I find out what my average blood glucose levels are?  

Ask your health care provider for the A1C test. This blood test shows the average amount of glucose in your blood during the past 2 to 3 months. Have this test done at least twice a year. If your A1C result is not on target, your health care provider may do this test more often to see if your result is improving as your treatment changes. Your A1C result plus your blood glucose meter results can show whether your blood glucose is under control.

Aim for a result below 7 percent. If your A1C test result is below 7 percent, then your blood glucose is in a desirable range and your diabetes treatment plan is working. The lower your A1C is, the lower your chance of having health problems.
If your result is more than 8 percent, you may need a change in your diabetes plan. Your health care team can help you decide what part of your plan to change. You may need to change your meal plan, your diabetes medicines, or your physical activity plan.

  Different Ways of Testing Your Blood Glucose (Source of the following information taken from the WebMD website)  
  You watch an informational video which shows how to take your own blood glucose levels. To view the video, click here.  
  The Mayoclinic website has a visual slide show to show you how to check your blood sugar levels. Click here to view the slideshow  
Traditional Home Blood Glucose Monitoring- It is advised to wash your hands first, and then prepare the glucose meter. Use an alcohol pad to clean the area that you're going to prick. People can test their glucose levels at home with using a lancet and pricking their finger to draw out a small amount of blood and putting it on a test strip, then placing the diabetic testing strip into a meter that displays the blood level sugars (glucose). Remember not to check on the same finger all the time. Choose a different finger each time you test.  Remember to record the results in a log book. Different meters vary in features, readability, portability, speed, size and cost. Which is why carry the best diabetic testing supplies on the market. Blood glucose levels in the fingertips can show changes more quickly than those of other alternative testing sites. You can purchase a software kit that retrieve information from the meter and display graphs and charts of your past results.
Meters that Test Alternative Sites- Some meters allow you to test sites other than your fingertips, these alternative testing sits include upper arm, forearm, base of the thumb and thigh. Sometime, testing at other sites of the body can give different results than the blood glucose levels from the fingertips. Remember, that blood from the fingertips show up more quickly than other parts of the body.
There are also lasers to that can draw blood which created a certain beam of light that penetrates the skin on the finger instead of pricking it, which can be less painful
4 In 2001, the FDA approved a GlucoWatch, which is a special watch for diabetics that can help peoples blood glucose via tiny electric currents. It can draw smalls amounts of fluid from the skin and measure blood glucose levels three times per hour for up to 12 hours. According to the FDA, the newer devices should not replace the traditional daily finger blood glucose testing. (Studies show that even long-time users of glucose meters can make errors that lead to misleading or incorrect blood glucose results. To maintain accuracy, you and your child should periodically complete a blood glucose check in the presence of a diabetes educator.)

When Should I Test my Blood Glucose


Blood glucose testing is usually recommended before meals and bedtime. Daily blood glucose checks are really important for people on insulin or the sulfonylureas class of antidiabetes drugs.

Frequency and timing of blood glucose measurements should be individualized. Your doctor or health care provider will tell you when and how often you should check your blood glucose levels.

  What should my blood pressure be?  

Normal blood pressure will help prevent damage to your eyes, kidneys, heart, and blood vessels. Blood pressure is written with two numbers separated by a slash. For example, 120/70 is said as “120 over 70.” The first number should be below 130 and the second number should be below 80. Keep your blood pressure as close to these numbers as you can. If you already have kidney disease, ask your doctor what numbers are best for you.

Meal planning, medicines, and physical activity can help you reach your blood pressure target.

  What should my cholesterol be?  

Normal cholesterol and blood fat levels will help prevent heart disease and stroke, the biggest health problems for people with diabetes. Keeping cholesterol levels under control can also help with blood flow. Have your blood fat levels checked at least once a year. Meal planning, physical activity, and medicines can help you reach your blood fat targets.

Target Blood Fat Levels for People With Diabetes
Total cholesterol below 200
LDL cholesterol below 100
HDL cholesterol above 40 (men)
above 50 (women)
Triglycerides below 150
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