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Monitoring Your Blood Glucose

What is blood glucose monitoring?

Blood glucose monitoring is a wonderful tool that will allow you to learn more about your diabetes and your body.

Blood glucose values are like pieces to a puzzle. The more pieces of the puzzle you have, the clearer the big picture will be.

Blood glucose monitoring provides data for you and your healthcare team to:

  • Identify trends in glucose control
  • Identify factors that may cause high or low glucose values
  • Evaluate the impact of food, activity or medications on your diabetes
  • Identify where changes in the treatment plan are needed
  • Decide what you need to do when you are sick
  • Confirm whether or not the feelings you have are the result of a low or high blood glucose, or if it is something unrelated to your diabetes.

When to check your blood glucose

Ask your healthcare team when it is best to check your blood glucose. You may want to check at different times of the day to get an idea of how well your treatment program is working for you.

The best times to check are before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner, and at bedtime snack. Sometimes it is helpful to check blood glucose 1-2 hours after a meal to see the effect of food on your glucose levels, and sometimes it is helpful to check in the middle of the night.

When to increase the frequency of blood glucose checks

There are times when you will want to check your blood glucose more often than usual. You may think of other times as well.

  • During periods of stress, illness, or surgery
  • When you are pregnant
  • When low blood glucose is suspected or when you are having low or high blood glucose symptoms
  • When there are changes made in your treatment program — such as a change in medication doses, meal plan or activity
  • When taking new medications, like steroids

Tips on getting a good drop of blood

Before sticking your finger:

  • Wash your hands with warm water.
  • Shake your hands below your waist.
  • Squeeze or milk your finger a few times.

Keep a log book

Keep a record of your blood glucose values in a log book. Ask your healthcare provider for one if you do not already have one.

  • Write down your glucose levels in the space provided.
  • Write down your medication dose, especially any changes in your medication.
  • In the note or comment section, write down changes in food, activity, illness, stress, or insulin reactions.
  • Bring your log book to all your appointments with your diabetes healthcare providers.

Date

Breakfast

Lunch

Supper

Bedtime

Medications

Comments

2/20

165

--

140

--

DiaBeta - 5 mg at breakfast

Walked after lunch

2/21

123

92

--

254

Same

Dined out at supper

Storage & disposal of supplies

  • Store supplies in a dry, cool place. Avoid extreme temperature.
  • Dispose lancets in an opaque, plastic container.
  • Seal container with tape when nearly full and discard according to local guidelines for contaminated waste products.

Six steps to using glucose monitoring as a TOOL

  • Know your target blood glucose range.
  • Learn how to check your glucose.
  • Decide when to check your glucose levels.
  • Identify glucose patterns.
  • Determine what causes blood glucose changes.
  • Decide what to do to get your blood glucose levels back on target.

Ask a diabetes educator about how to use blood glucose monitoring as a tool.

For more information, you may want to purchase our book What You Need to Know About Diabetes - A Short Guide, which can be ordered online.

Page last updated: October 01, 2014