Smart Testing Can Help You Control Your Diabetes
Testing your blood sugar is a basic part of life for most people with diabetes. The numbers tell you and your health care team if your condition is under control. Still, for such a simple concept, it raises many questions. How often should you test? What time of the day should you do it? You and your doctors will work closely together to find the answers that will keep you healthy. Setting Goals You’re shooting for an A1c level of 7% or less, which equals an average glucose (or eAG) of 154 mg/dL. Your doctor will give you an A1c test every 3-6 months. When you should test and what goals you’re aiming for depend on: Your personal preferences How long you’ve had diabetes Your age Other health problems you may have Medicines you’re taking If you have low blood sugar (your doctor may call this hypoglycemia) without warning signs Testing Times Once you and your doctors figure out where your levels should be and the best way to get there (through diet, exercise, or medications), you’ll decide when you should check your blood sugar. A fasting blood glucose level (FBG), taken in the morning before you eat or drink anything, is the go-to test for many. Another test at bedtime is common. But what about other times? Testing 1 to 2 hours after breakfast or before lunch gives a more complete picture of what’s going on, says Pamela Allweiss, MD, of the CDC. The American Diabetes Association says testing right after a meal can provide your doctor with good info when your pre-meal blood-sugar levels are OK but you haven’t reached your A1c goal. “Monitoring is really important, particularly if you take insulin or medicine that can cause hypoglycemia,” says David Goldstein MD, professor at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. And measuring both before and afte Continue reading >>
Blood Sugar Testing – The Basics
Blood sugar testing is a relatively simple process that can reveal a wealth of valuable information about your health. From early detection of diabetes (and pre-diabetes) to healthy weight loss and stable energy levels, we recommend that all Heads Up Health users complete some basic testing to understand their blood sugar. Yes, you will need to prick your finger to draw a droplet of blood. Yes, it sucks at first. But stick with us (pun intended) for the remainder of this post. Hopefully we can convince you that the benefits of testing and educating yourself on blood sugar far outweigh the modest discomfort. Heads Up Health was designed to help you track your blood sugar along with all of your other important health data. You can get started now using the button below. Or, read on for for some great reasons to consider your own blood sugar testing along with some information to get your started. Benefits of blood sugar testing – establish your own baseline Our own unique blood sugar responses are a function of our genetics and our own unique lifestyle choices up to this moment in time. One person’s body may tolerate a burger and fries just fine, while the other may see their blood sugar levels go through the roof from the very same meal. Do you know how well your body’s blood sugar mechanisms would handle a burger and fries? What about your favorite breakfast? You should know these numbers. They have important implications for your long-term health and wellness. The only way to know your own body’s tolerance is to perform your own blood sugar testing and gather your own data. The data can help you learn which choices make the most sense for your own body. Benefits of blood sugar testing – assess your risk for diabetes (or pre-diabetes) You may be thinking “I Continue reading >>
Why Is Blood Sugar Highest In The Morning?
Many people with diabetes find that their fasting blood sugar first thing in the morning is the hardest blood sugar to control. In addition, they find that if they eat the same food for breakfast as they do for lunch or dinner they will see a much higher blood sugar number when testing after breakfast than they see at the other meals. The reason for this is a normal alteration in hormones experienced by many people not just people with diabetes. It is called "Dawn Phenomenon." What Causes Dawn Phenomenon? The body prepares for waking up by secreting several different hormones. First, between 4:00 and 6:30 a.m. it secretes cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. You may recognize these as the hormones involved in the "fight or flight response." In this case, their job is more benign, to give you the energy to get up and moving so you can find the food your body needs for energy. To help you do this, these hormones also raise your blood sugar. After a long night's sleep, the fuel your body turns to to get you going is the glucose stored in the liver. So after these stress hormones are secreted, around 5:30 a.m., plasma glucose rises. In a person with normal blood sugar, insulin will also start to rise at this time but many people with diabetes won't experience the corresponding rise in insulin. So instead of giving their cells a dose of morning energy, all they get is a rise in blood sugar. Not Everyone Experiences Dawn Phenomenon Researchers who have infused different hormones into experimental subjects have found that the trigger for dawn phenomenon is a nocturnal surge in growth hormone. If they block the growth hormone, blood sugars stay flat. This may explain why some people, particularly older people, do not experience a rise in blood sugar first thing in the mor Continue reading >>
5 Factors That Affect How Often You Need To Test Your Blood Sugar
How often you test depends on several different factors.(FOTOLIA)You should test your blood sugar at home, but how often is enough? Well, it dependsmostly on your medication, you, and your doctor. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing your blood sugar at least three times a day if you need multiple daily insulin injections. But for the rest of those with type 2 diabetes, testing frequency should be "dictated by the particular needs and goals of the patients," the ADA says. That means that frequent testing is clearly necessarily for some people with type 2 diabetes, but there is a little wiggle room for others. (All type 1 diabetics take multiple daily insulin injections and need to monitor blood sugar frequently.) Some studies suggest that frequent monitoring is not always helpful for people with type 2 diabetes. But that research is still being debated. Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you determine how often and when you should be testing. Testing Each DayI test morning, evening, and before meals Watch videoMore about blood sugar monitoring How often you test depends on the following factors. Medication: Some classes of oral drugs can cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, so you may need to test more often. "Generally, anyone who takes insulin should test several times a day as well as individuals who take sulfonylureas or meglitinides," says Nadine Uplinger, a spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators and director of the Gutman Diabetes Institute at the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia. Changes: If you've just been diagnosed with diabetes, started on a new medication, added a new type of food, or recently changed some other factor (for example, you have gained or lost weight, or are exercising more or l Continue reading >>
Why Is My Blood Glucose So High In The Morning?
I am puzzled by my blood sugar pattern. I am not on any medications. My morning fasting blood sugar is always the highest of the day—between 120 and 140 mg/dl. The rest of the day it is in the normal range. Why does this occur? Continue reading >>
Even after a long period of stability, your dog or cat's insulin requirements may change as a result of: Change in exercise regimen This is why it's important to continually monitor your pet's progress and consult your veterinarian if there are sudden changes or if anything unusual happens. Monitoring your dog's or cat's glucose level Monitoring your pet's glucose level is an important part of the overall therapy for diabetes and can be done in 2 ways: Checking your pet's urine for the presence of glucose and ketones (a chemical produced by the body when it burns fat for energy). This is not as accurate as measuring glucose in the blood, but can be done at home easily. Measuring glucose level in your pet's blood. This is the most accurate method and is done either by your veterinarian in the clinic or at home with a portable glucometer and blood test strips. If your pet has significant weight gain or loss, talk to your veterinarian about how this may affect diabetes treatment. Monitoring glucose and ketones in your pet's urine Immediately following diagnosis, your veterinarian may ask you to check your pet's urine glucose, 1 to 3 times a day: FOR DOGS Early in the morning, just prior to the time of the Vetsulin injection and first meal. Late in the afternoon, before the second meal. Late in the evening. As your pet's management progresses, less frequent testing will be needed. Regular examinations remain important though, because your pet's insulin needs can change. What you need Clean containers for collecting urine. Urine dipsticks from your veterinarian. A place to record results. Collecting urine For dogs: take your dog out for a walk on a leash. Keep your dog on a leash so that it will be within reach when it urinates. For cats: place your cat in its litter box.* H Continue reading >>
When Is The Best Time To Check Your Blood Pressure At Home?
It seems we’re all concerned about our blood pressure, whether it’s too high or too low. If your doctor has raised concerns about blood pressure, you may have gone out and purchased an at-home device to monitor it. By now, you probably know that you shouldn’t check your blood pressure after a meal, after physical activity, or while standing up if you want it to be accurate. It’s important to note that there isn’t a single “best” time to check your blood pressure. In fact, your doctor will never make a diagnosis of high blood pressure from a single visit. Instead, consistent high blood pressure readings are required for an accurate diagnosis. Blood pressure is typically lowest right when you wake up and varies up to 30 percent throughout the day. This is the result of hormone changes, activity levels, and eating. What your blood pressure numbers mean There are two numbers involved in a blood pressure reading: systolic and diastolic. Systolic, the top number, refers to the amount of pressure in the arteries with every heartbeat. Diastolic, the bottom number, measures the pressure in arteries between heartbeats. Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80 mmHg, prehypertension is 120-139/80-90 mmHg, stage one hypertension is 140-159/90-99 mmHg, stage two hypertension is 160+/100+, and hypertensive crisis is a reading of over 180/110. What is the best time to check your blood pressure? Purchasing a blood pressure monitoring device is a great first step in taking control of your health. However, knowing when the best time is to collect this data and how to interpret it is key to understanding and effectively managing high blood pressure conditions. Blood pressure readings can fluctuate throughout the day, which makes it important to check readings several Continue reading >>
When To Test Blood Sugar In Type 2
One of the topics that comes up a lot in the email I get from visitors to my What They Don't Tell You About Diabetes web site is the question of when is the best time to test your blood sugar. A lot of doctors still tell people with Type 2 to test first thing in the morning and before meals. That was what I was told at diagnosis in 1998. People who test using this schedule may tell you their blood sugar is usually 120 mg/dl, which sounds pretty good, except that since this is a fasting number it usually hides the information that the person's blood sugar maybe going to 250 mg/dl or higher after every meal. Research has shown that for people with Type 2 diabetes--especially those who have been diagnosed recently and still retain some beta cell function--it is the high spikes after meals that contribute most heavily to raising the A1c and causing complications. If you only test your fasting blood sugar, you will not know anything about how high your blood sugar is spiking after meals, so you won't know which foods are toxic to you because they cause dangerous spikes. If you are like most people with Type 2 your access to the very expensive blood sugar testing strips is limited. You may have to pay for strips yourself or your insurance may pay for a single box each month. That means that you need to use each strip as efficiently as possible. Here are some strategies that you can use to get the information out of your blood tests that will let you drop your A1c back into the healthy zone. Keep a written log that matches what you eat with the test result you get. Even though your meter may keep a list of your readings, these readings are meaningless unless you know what food you ate that resulted in each particular reading. If you write down what portion size of which food y Continue reading >>
7 Blood Sugar Testing Mistakes To Avoid
1 / 8 Understand Diabetes Testing If you have diabetes, it's imperative that you learn to effectively self-test your blood sugar to keep your glucose levels in check. For example, results from a study of more than 5,000 people living with diabetes showed that even those people who don't take medication for diabetes have better blood sugar control if they test regularly. The study participants' risk of early kidney damage, strokes, and death from diabetes-related causes was also reduced by one-third. Of course, the accuracy of your results is tied to the accuracy of your checking — and to your understanding of what all the numbers mean. "The most important point to me is that people are learning something from checking their blood sugar," says Sacha Uelmen, RDN, CDE, director of nutrition for the American Diabetes Association. "Don't just look at those numbers, write them down, and move on. If you have diabetes, take an active role in your health." To get the most useful readings, learn these common blood sugar testing mistakes and how to avoid them. Continue reading >>
What Is The Best Time To Test Blood Sugar In The Morning?
How long is a piece of string? Unless your physician says otherwise (and sometimes they will have preferences) it really does not matter so long as you are consistent with it. So if you do it before morning insulin you need to do it before insulin every day. Otherwise you are comparing apples to oranges which is no good for ongoing tracking. I think generally it is considered best to do it before insulin and breakfast so you can then make an informed decision about how much to inject and how much to eat (if you are following a programme like Carbs and cals, for example, where you vary insulin dosage based on readings and the carb count of your intended food - ask your diabetic specialist about this, it works well for many people). These 2 times make particular sense for learning: Before breakfast/waking - how high was your BG - good for learning from what you did the night before that may have affected it. After breakfast - how much did that breakfast spike my BG - what was in the food that spiked it, etc. If you can get hold of a CGM, they help to see continuous blood glucose data - and then you can get an understanding of patterns, etc. There are three sugar test, Fasting blood sugar, Post prandial blood sugar, Random blood sugar, Do it anytime the reference range alter according to your diet time, so do any, better is fasting, but best is to perform 1st two. Continue reading >>
When To Test Your Blood Sugar
Checking your blood glucose as recommended can help you see how your meals, medications and activities affect your blood sugar. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you routinely test blood sugar levels to aid in managing your diabetes.1 Routine or daily testing For people using an insulin pump or insulin injections throughout the day, the ADA recommends testing multiple times daily.1 If you take another kind of medication, test your blood sugar level as often as your healthcare team recommends. You and your healthcare team will determine when you should check your blood sugar based on your current health, age and level of activity, as well as the time of day and other factors. They may suggest that you test your blood sugar at any of the following times:1,2,3 Before each meal 1 or 2 hours after a meal Before a bedtime snack In the middle of the night Before physical activity, to see if you need a snack During and after physical activity If you think your blood sugar might be too high, too low or falling When you're sick or under stress Structured testing Short-term, structured testing means checking your blood sugar at specific times over a few days. It can help you recognize patterns and problem-solve around how the things you do are connected to your blood sugar. You may want to consider structured testing, in addition to your routine or daily testing, if you: Adjust your insulin or oral medication Begin a new medication unrelated to diabetes Change your activity level, meal plan or schedule There are different ways to perform structured testing, depending on your goals. The Accu-Chek® 360° View tool is a simple paper tool that helps you track your blood sugar over 3 days, so you and your doctor can quickly identify patterns that can guide adjust Continue reading >>
How Soon After I Wake Up Should I Check My Blood Sugar?
You should check your blood sugar within one hour of waking up, says Holly Anderson, Outpatient Diabetes Coordinator at Reston Hospital Center. Watch this video to learn why. Work with your doctor to come up with a schedule for testing your blood sugar. Factors for you and your doctor to consider in developing your schedule include the medicines you take, when you eat and how well-controlled your blood sugar is. Many people with diabetes find that it works well for them to check blood sugar first thing in the morning, but talk with your doctor to find out what's best for you. The ADA’s answer is great, but I want add one thing to it. First thing in the morning, before your feet even hit the floor, is “low tide” for your blood sugar. Unless you were to overdose on diabetes medications or get a guest spot on Dancing with the Stars, this will be your lowest blood sugar of the day. For all the reasons the ADA listed, this is an important check, so long as you keep it in perspective. It is only one minute in a day with 1,440 minutes in it. What’s happening the other 1,339 minutes? Carrying our nautical theme to a nauseating extreme, if you only check low tide you’ll miss the boat. The point of diabetes control is too keep your blood sugar under a given target number. But if you never check when your blood sugar is likely to be high, such as several hours after a meal, you really won’t know if you are succeeding. Bottom line: checking only first thing in the morning can lead to a dangerous sense of false security. The only way to know if your diabetes therapy is effective for you and your diabetes is to test at various times on various days. If your insurance only covers one test strip per day you can shake things up by testing at a different time every day of the Continue reading >>
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Blood Sugar Monitoring: When To Check And Why
Managing diabetes is one part investigation and two parts action. Unlike some other diseases that rely primarily on professional medical treatment, diabetes treatment requires active participation by the person who has it. Monitoring your blood sugar level on a regular basis and analyzing the results is believed by many to be a crucial part of the treatment equation. When someone is first diagnosed with diabetes, he is usually given a blood sugar meter (or told to go buy one) and told how and when to use it, as well as what numbers to shoot for. However, the advice a person receives on when to monitor and what the results should be generally depend on his type of diabetes, age, and state of overall health. It can also depend on a health-care provider’s philosophy of care and which set of diabetes care guidelines he follows. At least three major health organizations have published slightly different recommendations regarding goals for blood sugar levels. There is some common ground when it comes to blood sugar monitoring practices. For example, most people take a fasting reading before breakfast every morning. Some people also monitor before lunch, dinner, and bedtime; some monitor after each meal; and some monitor both before and after all meals. However, when monitoring after meals, some people do it two hours after the first bite of the meal, while others prefer to check one hour after the start of a meal. To help sort out the whys and when of monitoring, three diabetes experts weigh in with their opinions. While they don’t agree on all the details, they do agree on one thing: Regular monitoring is critical in diabetes care. Why monitor? Self-monitoring is an integral part of diabetes management because it puts you in charge. Regardless of how you manage your diab Continue reading >>
When Should I Check My Blood Sugar?
Maybe you have diabetes. It is not too uncommon nowadays. After informing you of this diagnosis, someone in the doctor’s office probably reviewed how to check your blood sugar: They showed you how to put the unused strip into the meter and stick your finger for a small amount of blood— the basics are probably very clear. Sometimes the doctor’s assistant spends so much time talking about how to use the machine that they forget to tell the patient the correct time to check their sugar. We will cover some general rules about the correct timing of fingerstick blood sugar checks. These apply to most people with diabetes. There are two times that are the most valuable to test for blood sugar: Doctors often simplify this timing by instructing patients to check their sugar level in the blood before meals and at bed time. Why would your doctor prescribe these more simplified instructions? Checking before meals and at bedtime works well because: It is easier to remember. Most people stop what they are doing to eat a meal and are more likely to remember they need to check before than they are to remember 2 hours after eating. Bedtime is another time when things slow down and people tend to remember to check their sugar. The simplified meal and bedtime method offers the most information with the fewest number of fingerstick checks. The blood sugar check two hours after eating a meal is not really necessary because of the timing, occurring so closely to the next meal. For example: if a patient checks their blood sugar before breakfast at 9AM, the next check would be due two hours later, at 11AM. If they plan to have lunch at 12 PM and check it 15 minutes before this meal, these last two checks would be very close (within 45 minutes) to each other. The rule of ALTERNATING: Anot Continue reading >>
Blood Sugar: What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels In The Morning
There are two reasons why your blood sugar levels may be high in the morning – the dawn phenomenon and the Somogyi effect. The dawn phenomenon is the end result of a combination of natural body changes that occur during the sleep cycle and can be explained as follows: Your body has little need for insulin between about midnight and about 3:00 a.m. (a time when your body is sleeping most soundly). Any insulin taken in the evening causes blood sugar levels to drop sharply during this time. Then, between 3:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., your body starts churning out stored glucose (sugar) to prepare for the upcoming day as well as releases hormones that reduce the body's sensitivity to insulin. All of these events happen as your bedtime insulin dose is also wearing off. These events, taken together, cause your body's blood sugar levels to rise in the morning (at "dawn"). A second cause of high blood sugar levels in the morning might be due to the Somogyi effect (named after the doctor who first wrote about it). This condition is also called "rebound hyperglycemia." Although the cascade of events and end result – high blood sugar levels in the morning – is the same as in the dawn phenomenon, the cause is more "man-made" (a result of poor diabetes management) in the Somogyi effect. There are two potential causes. In one scenario, your blood sugar may drop too low in the middle of the night and then your body releases hormones to raise the sugar levels. This could happen if you took too much insulin earlier or if you did not have enough of a bedtime snack. The other scenario is when your dose of long-acting insulin at bedtime is not enough and you wake up with a high morning blood sugar. How is it determined if the dawn phenomenon or Somogyi effect is causing the high blood sug Continue reading >>