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How Do I Test My Blood Sugar Levels?

Why Tracking Matters

Why Tracking Matters

Checking your blood sugar and tracking your numbers is an important part of your diabetes care plan. Can help you make good day-to-day choices about what to eat, how much physical activity to engage in, and over time, can help you better understand how well your diabetes medicine is working Helps you avoid low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) Helps you see the changes in your blood sugar and can help you better understand how physical activity, what you eat, and stress affect your blood sugar levels Can help you and your diabetes care team make your care plan How often should you check your blood sugar? You and your health care provider will decide when and how often you should check your blood sugar. How diabetes affects the body is different for each person and changes over time. So, depending on what medicines you’re taking and your health care provider's direction, your blood sugar testing schedule may change. If you are taking non-insulin injections, you may not need to test your blood sugar every day. If you are taking insulin injections or using an insulin pump, you may need to check your blood sugar more often than if you were taking pills. Speak with your health care provider to find out when to check your blood sugar. You might be asked to check your blood sugar: Before and after you eat Before and after you are physically active Before bed If you think you have low blood sugar After you treat your low blood sugar Before you drive a car If you take insulin, your health care provider may ask you to check your blood sugar: Before you go to bed, in the middle of the night (2 or 3 AM), or when you wake up Before or after you eat meals or large snacks to see how the food you eat changes your blood sugar Even if you don’t take insu Continue reading >>

Type 2 Diabetes: Value Of Home Blood Sugar Monitoring Unclear

Type 2 Diabetes: Value Of Home Blood Sugar Monitoring Unclear

Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling It’s a central tenet of diabetes treatment: monitor the blood sugar closely, then adjust your diet, exercise, and medications to keep it in a good range. And that makes sense. Poorly controlled blood sugar is a major risk factor for diabetic complications, including kidney disease, vision loss, and nerve damage. While efforts to carefully monitor and control the blood sugar in diabetes are worthwhile, “tight control” is not always helpful — and it may even cause harm. For example, in studies of people with longstanding type 2 diabetes, the type that usually begins in adulthood and is highly linked with obesity, those with the tightest control either had no benefit or had higher rates of cardiovascular disease and death. Meanwhile, studies of people with type 1 diabetes — the type that tends to start during childhood due to an immune attack against the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas — suggest that tight control may help protect against cardiovascular disease. So, it seems the benefits and risks of tight control depend on the situation. Home blood sugar monitoring for type 2 diabetes People with diabetes are often advised to check their blood sugar levels at home by pricking a finger and testing the blood with a glucose meter. They can review the results with their doctors over the phone, online, or at the next office appointment. The value of this for people with type 2 diabetes is uncertain. In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers enrolled 450 people with Type 2 diabetes, none of whom were taking insulin. They were randomly assigned to one of three groups: no self-monitoring of blood sugar once daily self-monitoring of blood sugar once-daily self-monitoring of blood sugar with “enhanced feedba Continue reading >>

Glucola Pregnancy Glucose Test: What I Do

Glucola Pregnancy Glucose Test: What I Do

In my post about the pregnancy and prenatal care options I chose, I mention that I don’t take the pregnancy glucose test that requires drinking glucola (that syrupy orange or grape drink) and that I use an alternate method of testing. I’ve gotten so many questions about this that I decided it deserved its own post, especially while I am still pregnant and the topic is fresh on my mind. IMPORTANT: Please note that I am only writing about my own personal experience with this and the decisions I made after consulting with my OB or midwife (depending on which pregnancy it was). The information in this post (or any post I write) is not medical advice in any way… I’m just sharing my experience. Always consult with your own medical providers before making health decisions, especially during pregnancy, and make sure that you find providers who are willing to work with you to make the best decision for your pregnancy. All that being said, here’s what I do when it comes to the pregnancy glucose test. What is the Pregnancy Glucose Test? This was one of the sections I found in all of the many pregnancy books I read when pregnant with my first child. Current guidelines call for a glucose challenge test somewhere between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy to test for gestational diabetes. This test typically involves drinking a sweetened drink called Glucola that contains 50, 75, or 100 grams of sugar in different forms. In most cases, the first part of this test is an Oral Glucose Challenge Test (OGCT) that involves drinking the 50 gram solution and having a blood test exactly one hour later to measure blood sugar. If a woman passes this test, she typically won’t be given further testing for gestational diabetes. If a woman does not pass the test, a longer test involving a higher Continue reading >>

Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them To Manage Your Diabetes

Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them To Manage Your Diabetes

Checking your blood sugar, also called blood glucose, is an important part of diabetes care. This tip sheet tells you: why it helps you to know your blood sugar numbers how to check your blood sugar levels what are target blood sugar levels what to do if your levels are too low or too high how to pay for these tests Why do I need to know my blood sugar numbers? Your blood sugar numbers show how well your diabetes is managed. And managing your diabetes means that you have less chance of having serious health problems, such as kidney disease and vision loss. As you check your blood sugar, you can see what makes your numbers go up and down. For example, you may see that when you are stressed or eat certain foods, your numbers go up. And, you may see that when you take your medicine and are active, your numbers go down. This information lets you know what is working for you and what needs to change. How is blood sugar measured? There are two ways to measure blood sugar. Blood sugar checks that you do yourself. These tell you what your blood sugar level is at the time you test. The A1C (A-one-C) is a test done in a lab or at your provider’s office. This test tells you your average blood sugar level over the past 2 to 3 months. How do I check my blood sugar? You use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar. This device uses a small drop of blood from your finger to measure your blood sugar level. You can get the meter and supplies in a drug store or by mail. Read the directions that come with your meter to learn how to check your blood sugar. Your health care team also can show you how to use your meter. Write the date, time, and result of the test in your blood sugar record. Take your blood sugar record and meter to each visit and talk about your results with your h Continue reading >>

Learn About Blood Sugar

Learn About Blood Sugar

Blood sugar is your body’s main source of energy. Your doctor probably told you that you have type 2 diabetes because you had too much sugar in your blood. Fortunately, there are ways to help keep your blood sugar levels under control. Want to know what makes blood sugar levels rise and fall? Need more information about the tests that measure your blood sugar levels? You’ve come to the right place. Do you know what causes blood sugar levels to rise and fall when you have type 2 diabetes? Do you want to learn what may help keep your levels under control? Here’s a little background. Insulin is a hormone that your pancreas makes. It helps sugar move out of the bloodstream and into many cells of the body, where it’s used for energy. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make enough insulin, and the insulin that your body produces does not work as well as it should. Both of these situations may lead to too much sugar in your blood. Help get back on track with the right treatment plan. Blood sugar levels may be controlled with the help of medicine and lifestyle changes. Talk to your doctor. By working together, you can come up with a plan to help you control your blood sugar. Why is it important to measure your blood sugar levels every day with a glucose meter? What do the results of your A1C test mean? What numbers should you aim for? Here are some answers. The results of your daily self-tests with a glucose meter and the A1C test are important. They may help you and your doctor understand how well your type 2 diabetes treatment plan is working. Find out more about each test now. And to help make it easier to track your numbers, download a Daily Glucose Tracker. Why is it important to measure your blood sugar levels every day with a glucose meter? What do Continue reading >>

How To Test Your Blood Glucose

How To Test Your Blood Glucose

Tweet Testing your blood glucose with a blood glucose meter allows you manage your diabetes. Watch a video guide on how to test your blood glucose (sugar) levels. For people new to diabetes, this guide to testing your blood glucose levels should get you started. Testing your blood sugar levels helps you to make informed decisions about your diet, activity and, if self-adjusting insulin, dosing requirements. Bear in mind that not all blood glucose meters are the same, so you may need to slightly the modify the method here. What do I need to test my blood sugar? In order to test your blood sugar levels, you will need: a blood glucose meter a test strip and a lancing device Some blood glucose meters may come with test strips and/or lancing devices. If in doubt, ask your healthcare professional. How to test your blood glucose Prepare your kit ready for testing. This should include: your meter, a test strip to hand (it may be advisable to have a spare strip to hand too), the finger pricker (lancing device), cotton wool (optional) and a monitoring diary to record the results Ensure that the finger pricking device has been loaded with a new lancet. Wash and dry your hands - to ensure that the result is not influenced by any sugars that may be present on your fingers A fuller drop of blood will be obtained if your fingers are warm, so it’s worth warming your hands up if you can. Be careful not to overheat your fingers so as not to hurt yourself. Put a test strip into your meter Prick your finger with the lancing device at the sides of the finger as there are less nerve ending here than at the tips or the ‘pads’. Recommended finger: the World Health Organisation recommends the middle or ring fingers are used for blood glucose tests (second and third fingers). You may want Continue reading >>

Glucose Tolerance Test (gtt)

Glucose Tolerance Test (gtt)

What is a glucose tolerance test? A glucose tolerance test (GTT) diagnoses diabetes in pregnancy by checking how well your body regulates your blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes, or GD, is a common pregnancy complication. It's thought to affect one pregnant woman in six. Although GD is common, testing for it is not routine. Your midwife will offer you the test only if she thinks there's a chance you could develop GD. Usually, you'll have the test when you’re between 24 weeks and 28 weeks pregnant. You could have the test earlier than this, usually at 16 weeks, depending on your medical history and where you live in the UK. For example, your midwife will offer the GTT sooner if you’ve had GD before. Why do I need a GTT? GD doesn’t often cause obvious symptoms, which is why testing is important. If GD isn’t recognised and treated it may put your health and your baby's health at risk. GD happens when your body fails to make enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that keeps your blood sugar levels stable. It also helps your body to store sugar for when you need it later. During pregnancy, your body has to produce extra insulin to meet your baby’s needs, especially when he's growing rapidly. If your body can't make enough insulin, you may end up with too much sugar in your blood, resulting in GD. Having too much sugar in your blood may mean that your baby grows large. This increases your chances of having an induced labour, and a caesarean birth. GD, especially if it's not controlled, even raises the risk of a baby being stillborn. That's why it's so important to follow the advice of your midwife or doctor if you're diagnosed with GD. Am I at risk of developing GD? You’re more likely to develop GD if: Your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or above. You have previo Continue reading >>

Blood Sugar Level

Blood Sugar Level

The fluctuation of blood sugar (red) and the sugar-lowering hormone insulin (blue) in humans during the course of a day with three meals. One of the effects of a sugar-rich vs a starch-rich meal is highlighted.[1] The blood sugar level, blood sugar concentration, or blood glucose level is the amount of glucose present in the blood of humans and other animals. Glucose is a simple sugar and approximately 4 grams of glucose are present in the blood of humans at all times.[2] The body tightly regulates blood glucose levels as a part of metabolic homeostasis.[2] Glucose is stored in skeletal muscle and liver cells in the form of glycogen;[2] in fasted individuals, blood glucose is maintained at a constant level at the expense of glycogen stores in the liver and skeletal muscle.[2] In humans, glucose is the primary source of energy, and is critical for normal function, in a number of tissues,[2] particularly the human brain which consumes approximately 60% of blood glucose in fasted, sedentary individuals.[2] Glucose can be transported from the intestines or liver to other tissues in the body via the bloodstream.[2] Cellular glucose uptake is primarily regulated by insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas.[2] Glucose levels are usually lowest in the morning, before the first meal of the day, and rise after meals for an hour or two by a few millimoles. Blood sugar levels outside the normal range may be an indicator of a medical condition. A persistently high level is referred to as hyperglycemia; low levels are referred to as hypoglycemia. Diabetes mellitus is characterized by persistent hyperglycemia from any of several causes, and is the most prominent disease related to failure of blood sugar regulation. There are different methods of testing and measuring blood sugar le Continue reading >>

Tests For Blood Sugar (glucose) And Hba1c

Tests For Blood Sugar (glucose) And Hba1c

Blood sugar (glucose) measurements are used to diagnose diabetes. They are also used to monitor glucose control for those people who are already known to have diabetes. Play VideoPlayMute0:00/0:00Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE0:00Playback Rate1xChapters Chapters Descriptions descriptions off, selected Subtitles undefined settings, opens undefined settings dialog captions and subtitles off, selected Audio TrackFullscreen This is a modal window. Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window. TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal Dialog End of dialog window. If your glucose level remains high then you have diabetes. If the level goes too low then it is called hypoglycaemia. The main tests for measuring the amount of glucose in the blood are: Random blood glucose level. Fasting blood glucose level. The HbA1c blood test. Oral glucose tolerance test. Capillary blood glucose (home monitoring). Urine test for blood sugar (glucose). Blood tests for blood sugar (glucose) Random blood glucose level A sample of blood taken at any time can be a useful test if diabetes is suspected. A level of 11.1 mmol/L or more in the blood sample indicates that you have diabetes. A fasting blood glucose test may be done to confirm the diagnosis. Fasting blood glucose level Continue reading >>

If You Have Prediabetes, Should You Test Your Blood Sugar Level At Home?

If You Have Prediabetes, Should You Test Your Blood Sugar Level At Home?

If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, you may be wondering whether you should test your blood sugar level at home. You do want to have your blood sugar levels tested by a lab at least twice a year. A hemoglobin A1c test is a simple lab test that shows your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you discuss whether glucose testing is right for you with your doctor. You may benefit from checking your blood sugar levels at home if you are: taking insulin pregnant having trouble controlling blood sugar levels having low blood sugar having low blood sugar levels without the usual warning signs have ketones (substances usually made from fat) from high blood sugar levels What are the benefits? Tracking your blood sugar test results daily in a log will enable you to spot any major changes. By also tracking your food, diabetes medications, supplements and exercise you will see how they impact your blood glucose levels. For example, you can track which carbohydrates spike your blood sugar so you can avoid eating that food in the future. You want to eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of high-quality protein (organic), healthy fats and unprocessed carbs such as fresh veggies and fruit. Since carbs have a direct impact on your blood sugar levels, you want to eat those carbs that rank low on the Glycemic Load scale. How accurate are the test results? The current standards set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require 95 percent of all glucometer test results to be within 20 percent of the actual blood glucose level for results greater than 75 mg/dl and within 15 mg/dl for values below 75 mg/dl. So a blood glucose that in reality is 100 mg/dl could show on a meter as being between 80 and 1 Continue reading >>

Everyone Should Track Their Blood Sugar — Not Just People With Diabetes Like Me

Everyone Should Track Their Blood Sugar — Not Just People With Diabetes Like Me

This is a perspective from Cyrus Khambatta, a person with Type 1 Diabetes and the founder of Mangoman Nutrition and Fitness Continuous glucose monitoring, which uses tiny sensors under the skin to check blood sugar levels, is going to be a very big deal — and not just for people with diabetes. I have personal experience with monitoring my glucose levels, having been living with diabetes now for 12 years. The insights that I have gained from understanding my blood glucose patterns 24/7 have been transformative. I’ve learned how my body responds to various types of food, exercise, stress, viruses, altitude, dehydration and extreme temperatures. And with years of historic data, I can now predict how my blood glucose readings will be in the current moment. Here are the population groups that I believe can benefit most from continuous glucose monitoring, otherwise known as CGM. People With Diabetes and Prediabetes Continuous glucose monitoring was originally developed specifically for people with type 1 diabetes, in order to monitor their glucose levels at all times — not just periodically with a prick of a fingertip. This population is obviously the most in need, given that inadequate production of insulin results in highly variable blood sugar values. Continuous glucose monitors have proven to be extremely useful for this patient population. The technology has given both people with diabetes and their doctors an ability to fine-tune an insulin-dosing strategy to minimize blood sugar fluctuations. Some individuals with type 2 diabetes are given CGMs as well. On occasion, they are used only temporarily in order to gain some immediate insight into daily blood sugar fluctuations. Others use such continuous monitors in the long-term to support a blood glucose management p Continue reading >>

Understanding Gestational Diabetes: Glucose Monitoring

Understanding Gestational Diabetes: Glucose Monitoring

Fetal Monitoring, Gestational Diabetes, Integrative Medicine, Pregnancy and Birth, Weight Management What is self blood glucose monitoring? Once you are diagnosed as having gestational diabetes, you and your health care providers will want to know more about your day-to-day blood sugar levels. It is important to know how your exercise habits and eating patterns affect your blood sugars. Also, as your pregnancy progresses, the placenta will release more of the hormones that work against insulin. Testing your blood sugar level at important times during the day will help determine if proper diet and weight gain have kept blood sugar levels normal or if extra insulin is needed to help keep the fetus protected. Self blood glucose monitoring is done by using a special device to obtain a drop of your blood and test it for your blood sugar level. Your doctor or other health care provider will explain the procedure to you. Make sure that you are shown how to do the testing before attempting it on your own. Some items you may use to monitor your blood sugar levels are: Lancet–a disposable, sharp needle-like sticker for pricking the finger to obtain a drop of blood. Lancet device–a springloaded finger sticking device. Test strip–a chemically treated strip to which a drop of blood is applied. Color chart–a chart used to compare against the color on the test strip for blood sugar level. Glucose meter–a device which “reads” the test strip and gives you a digital number value. Your health care provider can advise you where to obtain the self-monitoring equipment in your area. You may want to inquire if any places rent or loan glucose meters, since it is likely you won't be needing it after your baby is born. How often and when should I test? You may need to test your blo Continue reading >>

Things That Impact A Fasting Glucose Blood Test

Things That Impact A Fasting Glucose Blood Test

A fasting blood sugar level is usually ordered by a physician either to check for a new diagnosis of diabetes or to monitor a person who is known to have diabetes. Ideally fasting blood sugar is tested shortly after you get up in the morning, 8 to 12 hours after eating or drinking anything other than water. The normal range is from 70 to 99 mg/dL. Levels above 100 mg/dL may indicate impaired glucose metabolism. Various factors can affect fasting blood sugar levels. Any foods eaten within 8 hours of the test may cause glucose levels to be elevated. After food is digested, higher levels of glucose remain in the blood for some time. Alcoholic beverages consumed even the night before the test may cause a drop in blood sugar. Medications such as corticosteroids, estrogen -- present in birth control pills, some diuretics, certain antidepressants, anti-seizure medication and even plain aspirin can increase glucose levels. Glucose levels can be decreased by medications that include insulin, oral hypoglycemic agents, anabolic steroids and even acetaminophen. Exercise can cause an increase or a decrease in blood sugar levels. During exercise, insulin becomes more efficient. This effect can persist, lowering blood sugar levels for hours afterward. An hour of afternoon exercise may lower glucose levels until the next morning, affecting the fasting blood sugar test. Exercise can also affect glucose levels by releasing adrenaline. This raises blood sugar temporarily. Physical exertion or other activities that cause excitement may increase fasting sugar levels if performed shortly before the test. Many medical conditions can affect blood sugar levels, such as liver disease, disorders of the pancreas and disorders of the thyroid gland. Acute and severe trauma -- such as major surgery, Continue reading >>

8 Sneaky Things That Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels

8 Sneaky Things That Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels

Skipping breakfast iStock/Thinkstock Overweight women who didn’t eat breakfast had higher insulin and blood sugar levels after they ate lunch a few hours later than they did on another day when they ate breakfast, a 2013 study found. Another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men who regularly skipped breakfast had a 21 percent higher chance of developing diabetes than those who didn’t. A morning meal—especially one that is rich in protein and healthy fat—seems to stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day. Your breakfast is not one of the many foods that raise blood sugar. Here are some other things that happen to your body when you skip breakfast. Artificial sweeteners iStock/Thinkstock They have to be better for your blood sugar than, well, sugar, right? An interesting new Israeli study suggests that artificial sweeteners can still take a negative toll and are one of the foods that raise blood sugar. When researchers gave mice artificial sweeteners, they had higher blood sugar levels than mice who drank plain water—or even water with sugar! The researchers were able to bring the animals’ blood sugar levels down by treating them with antibiotics, which indicates that these fake sweeteners may alter gut bacteria, which in turn seems to affect how the body processes glucose. In a follow-up study of 400 people, the research team found that long-term users of artificial sweeteners were more likely to have higher fasting blood sugar levels, reported HealthDay. While study authors are by no means saying that sugary beverages are healthier, these findings do suggest that people who drink artificially sweetened beverages should do so in moderation as part of a healthy diet. Here's what else happens when you cut artificial sweetener Continue reading >>

What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level?

What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level?

The aim of diabetes treatment is to bring blood sugar (“glucose”) as close to normal as possible. What is a normal blood sugar level? And how can you achieve normal blood sugar? First, what is the difference between “sugar” and “glucose”? Sugar is the general name for sweet carbohydrates that dissolve in water. “Carbohydrate” means a food made only of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. There are various different kinds of sugars. The one our body uses most is called “glucose.” Other sugars we eat, like fructose from fruit or lactose from milk, are converted into glucose in our bodies. Then we can use them for energy. Our bodies also break down starches, which are sugars stuck together, into glucose. When people talk about “blood sugar,” they mean “blood glucose.” The two terms mean the same thing. In the U.S., blood sugar is normally measured in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (mg/dl). A milligram is very little, about 0.00018 of a teaspoon. A deciliter is about 3 1/3 ounces. In Canada and the United Kingdom, blood sugar is reported in millimoles/liter (mmol/L). You can convert Canadian or British glucose levels to American numbers if you multiply them by 18. This is useful to know if you’re reading comments or studies from England or Canada. If someone reports that their fasting blood glucose was 7, you can multiply that by 18 and get their U.S. glucose level of 126 mg/dl. What are normal glucose numbers? They vary throughout the day. (Click here for a blood sugar chart.) For someone without diabetes, a fasting blood sugar on awakening should be under 100 mg/dl. Before-meal normal sugars are 70–99 mg/dl. “Postprandial” sugars taken two hours after meals should be less than 140 mg/dl. Those are the normal numbers for someone w Continue reading >>

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