Checking Your Blood Glucose

Reviewed and updated by Di Bush, PhD

Q: WHY SHOULD I MONITOR MY BLOOD GLUCOSE?

A: Checking your blood glucose gives you the information you need to understand how your diabetes treatment plan is working. Check your blood glucose several times per day at specific times, such as before a meal and two hours after. Look at the results from a period of several days or a week. You can see patterns in the times your blood glucose is up or down. You’ll see how your food, a regular walk, a stressful day or the addition of a new medication affects your blood glucose.

Q: WHERE DO I BEGIN?

A: First, talk with your health care providers to set your blood glucose targets. If your blood glucose is not within your target range most of the time, work with your health care provider and your diabetes educator to review your blood glucose monitoring records. Perhaps a simple change, such as being more physically active or eating different foods, can help you get closer to your targets. Over time, you will learn more about how to keep your blood glucose levels on track.

Q: WHAT IS THE A1C TEST?

A: Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the A1c test is the most accurate, important and meaningful test for finding out your overall glucose control. A1c shows your average blood glucose for the two months to three months before the test. It also tells you your risk for complications. Research has shown that the closer your A1c is to normal (six percent or less), the less likely you are to develop complications, such as damage to the retina, kidney disease or nerve damage. It’s helpful to compare the A1c test result with your blood glucose monitoring results. Ask yourself if they make sense. If they don’t, you may need to check your blood glucose more often or at different times.

Your A1c level tells you that changes are needed. Your blood glucose test results give you clues about what to change. Checking your blood glucose at different times can help you answer questions about why your A1c doesn’t match your blood glucose readings. If your A1c test result and your blood glucose values are not on target, discuss with your health care provider ways to make changes in your diabetes care.

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