Testing your blood sugar is an essential part of treating and managing your diabetes.
Being able to quickly determine your blood sugar level lets you know if your blood sugar level is above or below the target range. This will help you to better manage your disease, help to prevent diabetic complications, and may prevent an emergency situation.
Over time, by tracking and recording blood sugar readings, you will be better able to monitor how food, medicine and exercise affect your levels.
Testing your blood sugar can be done anywhere, and at any given time. In less than two minutes you can test your blood sugar using a blood sugar meter or blood glucose monitor.
Here are some ways that diabetics can successfully measure and manage their blood glucose levels.
1. Keep Your Meter and Supplies with You at All Times
It’s important to keep your blood sugar meter and all the supplies you require to test your blood glucose level with you, no matter where you are.
The supplies you require include lancets (to draw blood from your finger), alcohol swabs, and testing strips. You should record your values in a log book, or hold the values in the meter, which can be later downloaded into a computer.
Not having the proper equipment and supplies on hand to test your blood sugar means that you are not in a position to modify your diet, medicine or lifestyle if your blood sugar is not in the proper range, or if it’s higher or lower than normal.
2. Make Sure the Test Strips You Use Have Not Expired
When testing blood sugar levels for your diabetes, you want the results to be accurate. If you are using out-of-date test strips, your run the risk of not having true results.
Using old strips and having inaccurate numbers may start to affect your daily log of blood sugar levels. It may also cause your doctor to think there is an issue, when in reality there is no problem. Or there may be a problem that goes undetected.
You can also avoid potential errors by keeping test strips out of sunlight and away from moisture. Keep strips at room temperature or cooler, but do not freeze them.
3. Establish a Routine for How Often and When to Test Your Blood Sugar
Talk to your doctor about a routine for how often and when to check your blood sugar. You may need to check while you are fasting, before and after meals, or before bedtime.
Everyone’s situation is different, so it’s important to choose an option that will work for you.
When a schedule has been created for you, make the task of checking your blood sugar part of your daily routine. This will help you become less likely to forget to check your blood sugar.
It will also help to create an accurate log of your blood sugar levels.
Make sure to take your blood glucose meter to your next doctor’s appointment, as well as any log books containing your blood sugar level recordings.
4. Check The Accuracy of Your Blood Sugar Meter
Don’t assume that your blood glucose meter is accurate. Many meters come with a control solution, used to test the accuracy of your strips and/or meter.
You can also compare your results with your doctor’s machine, to determine if there are any possible discrepancies.
5. Talk to Your Primary Care Physician
Managing your diabetes and blood glucose levels takes a great deal of effort over time, and may require assistance.
Book a visit to your doctor if you have an experience of very low blood glucose, or hypoglycemia. If your blood sugar levels are consistently too high, you should also contact your doctor.
You should also visit your doctor if you want to change or modify your diabetes treatment plan.
6. Visit an Endocrinologist
Everyone has a different way to manage their diabetes, and sometimes visiting your primary care physician isn’t enough.
Your doctor can refer you to an endocrinologist if your blood glucose levels are consistently higher than you would like them to be.
You should also visit an endocrinologist if you have one or more medical conditions or diabetes complications that makes it difficult for you to manage your diabetes.
Talk to an endocrinologist if you want to change or modify your diabetes plan.
7. Talk to a Nurse or Nurse Practitioner
Living with diabetes can be physically and emotionally overwhelming. A nurse or nurse practitioner can provide you with tools and information to help manage your diabetes and blood glucose.
Talk to a nurse/nurse practitioner if you’re struggling with at least one diabetes-related task, such as monitoring your blood glucose.
Nurse/nurse practitioners can also help you to better understand how diabetes affects your entire body. They will also help you if you’re having difficulty coping with the emotional aspect of diabetes.
Also, a nurse/nurse practitioner can help you find physical activities or start an exercise program, to keep your diabetes in better control.
8. Discuss Meal Plans with a Dietician
A large part of managing your diabetes is having a healthy meal plan. Many diabetics don’t understand what types of food they should eat, or how much they are able to eat per meal.
A dietician can help with this. Take the time to discuss options with a dietician if you don’t have a food plan, or if your current food plan is more than two years old.
9. Reducing Diabetic Risk
As a diabetic, you are the main person in charge of managing your diabetes. Managing your blood glucose levels takes a great deal of time and effort, and isn’t always easy. But doing so will help to reduce the risk of diabetic complications. You can also reduce your risk by not smoking, keeping your blood pressure under control, maintaining a healthy weight and diet, and by regularly checking your feet for any swelling or sores that may appear. You should also maintain your personal care records, and book appointments for regular foot, eye, and dental examinations.
Educating yourself by talking to healthcare providers, attending regular checkups, and obtaining valuable tools and information to effectively manage your diabetes will help you stay on track. A good online place to start is at the Canadian Diabetes Association. Talk to your healthcare team if you have questions or concerns.