Knowing when to check blood glucose levels can help to improve the accuracy of your monitoring and help you manage diabetes more effectively. The ideal time depends on a number of factors, such as the type of diabetes you have.
Diabetes is a common condition. There has been a significant rise in the prevalence of diabetes in recent years. By 2014, the global prevalence was recorded at 422 million cases of diabetes.
The condition remains a major cause of death, with a consistent rise in mortality rates too. It is important to understand how to check your blood glucose levels, as well as to get the timing right. We’ll take a closer look at these factors in this article.
The Importance of Checking Blood Sugar
There are several reasons why it is important to regularly check your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. Understanding these reasons can help to motivate you to test your glucose levels frequently to better manage your condition.
One of the most important reasons is to manage diabetes. If you do not know what your blood sugar levels are, then it’s going to be difficult to effectively manage it.
When your glucose levels rise, you need to address the problem, but you only know this if you do a quick test. By managing your diabetes better through regular blood glucose checks, it is also possible to reduce your risk of complications associated with the disease.
In a situation where you are prediabetic and have not been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it is also possible to use blood glucose levels to determine the progress you are making in terms of prevention. Blood sugar testing can also help you identify cases where you have developed diabetes, allowing for early intervention.
The Right Way to Check Your Blood Sugar Level
It is important to ensure you know how to check your blood sugar levels effectively too. One thing to keep in mind here is the fact that the specific method depends on the medical device you use.
If you use a standard glucometer, then the steps are as follows:
- Make sure to wash your hands. Since you’ll be pricking your finger, you want to ensure there are no germs that could cause problems like an infection. Make sure the fingertip that you choose to use is clean.
- Use a lancet to prick the tip of your finger. It’s important not to target the same spot repetitively. Instead, alternate between different fingers and specific areas. This can help to prevent your fingers from hurting too much.
- Once you have pricked your finger, allow a drop of blood to land on the test strip, which you can already place into the glucometer beforehand.
- Make sure the meter is on before you place the drop of blood on the test strip. Once it detects the blood, it usually takes a short while for the device to test your glucose levels.
With a continuous glucose monitor, things are usually easier. You wear the device on your arm. If you want to check your blood glucose levels, simply hold your phone close to the device. If you don’t use the smartphone app, then you can also use a supported reader that can check blood glucose levels when you hold it close to the device.
Keep A Record
It is important to keep a record of your blood sugar levels. This can provide you with numerous benefits as you attempt to manage your diabetes. A record gives you the ability to reflect back on your glucose variability over a certain period of time.
There are a few options when it comes to using a record-keeping system. You can get a notebook and use it as a logbook. Every time you test your glucose levels, write down the results, along with the time of day and the date.
Digital tools can also be incredibly valuable. If you have a continuous glucose monitor, you can usually get a history report on the app that accompanies the device.
For a glucometer, you can still use certain smartphone apps to log your blood glucose levels every time you test. You’ll also be able to use the data you collect to determine the best time to check blood sugar throughout the day.
What Affects Your Results?
There are a couple of factors that can influence the results of your blood glucose levels. You should familiarize yourself with these factors and understand how they can have an impact on the test results.
When you choose the time to check blood sugar, it’s important to understand that test results will generally be higher in the morning, as well as after you have had a meal. The food you eat also affects your glucose. Foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates will cause a more significant spike in sugar levels.
Alcohol is another element that can affect results. It is possible for alcohol to either cause an increase or decrease in blood glucose. This can lead to high blood sugar or cause you to experience hypoglycemia.
Monitoring blood sugar after exercise can also reveal altered results as you burn through glucose when you work out.
Other than these, note that medications can also have an impact on your blood sugar levels. Certain medications can cause high or low blood sugar, which is something to take into consideration when you do a test.
Best Time to Check Your Blood Sugar
While there are some general recommendations in terms of when to test your glucose levels, it is also important to understand that your individual requirements play a role too.
You will need to consider factors like the specific type of diabetes you have, and the severity of the condition. Your lifestyle, when you eat, and when you sleep can also have profound effects on what the best time is to do a check.
The best time to check blood sugar is usually not in the morning. At this time, your glucose levels are likely to be elevated.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be advised to test once or twice a day. With type 1 diabetes, however, you’ll have to check your glucose levels more frequently.
The higher frequency of checking blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetes ensures you can adjust your insulin dose accordingly.
Mistakes To Avoid While Testing Blood Sugar Levels
There are a couple of mistakes that people sometimes make when they test blood sugar. Apart from choosing the right time to check blood sugar, you also must ensure you consider these mistakes:
- Failure to properly wash your hands before testing can cause the blood to be contaminated, affecting the accuracy of your results.
- If you use the same fingertip every time you test, it’s going to make the process painful.
- Using the same lancet every time you test is also something to avoid. The lancet becomes dull and makes the testing process even more painful.
- Failure to check the compatibility of testing strips with the specific glucometer you own can also cause problems.
Even if you read a Gluctose review and decide to try such a natural supplement, you still must regularly check up on your glucose levels.
Picking the right time to check blood sugar is important, but you have to ensure you also record your results. This ensures you have a report to go back on and provides your doctor with more data to work with.
What Are the Advantages & Complications Of Blood Sugar Monitoring?
Regularly testing your blood sugar levels helps to improve the management of your diabetes and can be an effective way to prevent complications. It also lets you adjust your insulin usage if you have certain types of diabetes.
There are also certain complications that can happen with regular blood sugar testing. Your fingertips may become painful, and sometimes, the glucometer does not offer accurate results. If you test on a regular basis, then regularly having to refill your testing strips can be expensive over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What time of day is blood sugar highest?
The dawn phenomenon is what causes blood sugar levels to usually be at their highest during the morning hours, even before you have breakfast. This is said to be due to a release of hormones during these hours of the day. Blood sugar is also higher after meals.
What is normal blood sugar by age?
Infants should always have a blood glucose level between 70 and 180 mg/dL. Children should have a reading between 90 and 180 mg/dL prior to a meal and the level should remain under 200 mg/dL two hours after they had a meal. In adults, the normal range is 90 to 130 mg/dL prior to meals and below 180 mg/dL two hours after they had a meal.
How does food affect your blood sugar?
Food can affect blood glucose levels in different ways. Carbohydrates in food are broken down into sugars and then processed into glucose in the body. This raises blood glucose levels.
How to use a glucometer?
Start by washing your hands and then inserting the test strip into the device. Use an appropriate device to prick your finger and allow a drop of blood to drip onto the testing area of the strip.
Choosing the ideal time to check blood sugar is important, but you also have to follow the appropriate instructions to ensure you get accurate results. Make sure you know when to test, how to test, and what factors can have an impact on the glucose results you get when using a CGM or glucometer.