Once diagnosed with diabetes, checking your blood sugar levels at the recommended intervals is a paradigm of prudence required in managing the status of your health. Any lagging of enthusiasm in monitoring your blood sugar levels and you risk paving the way for serious health complications, including kidney disease, heart attacks, diabetic coma, among several other illnesses.
As you religiously measure your blood glucose level, you may take notice of how your numbers fluctuate. Thus, you know what works for you and what you should avoid to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. For instance, if you notice that your numbers surge after taking particular kinds of food, you learn to avoid those foods in your subsequent meals.
Ways to measure blood sugar levels
There are several options for testing blood glucose levels. These can be categorized into do-it-yourself blood sugar tests and laboratory-based blood sugar tests.
The most common self-administered blood sugar tests include:
- Tests from the fingertip: This is achieved through pricking your finger with a lancet. Lancets, such as PipLancets, are fine, sharp-pointed needles used for piercing the skin in a swift and painless way. Test strips and blood sugar meters accompany lancets.
Upon pricking your fingertip, you put a drop of blood on a test strip. The test strip is then placed in a blood sugar meter which detects and displays the blood sugar level.
- Blood sugar meters that test other sites than the fingertip
Other than the finger, you can monitor blood glucose on different sections of the body, such as the thigh, upper air, and forearm. Such sites may provide slightly varying results compared to those obtained from the fingertips.
However, if you have high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), test results from other sites of the body are likely to be less accurate compared to those obtained from the fingertips.
- Continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGM)
If you want dynamic data, indicating your blood glucose patterns and trends over time, then CGM systems are the best go-to option. Continuous glucose monitoring systems have a tiny sensor wire that is automatically inserted under the skin. The sensor wire is connected to a transmitter, which sends wireless signals to a receiver for real-time interpretation that is displayed on a screen.
Some CGM systems are compatible with smart devices. Hence their readings can be accessed and alarms issues via smartphones, smartwatches, among a series of other compatible gadgets.
On a different note, laboratory lab-based test is referred to as A1C (A-one-C). The test is usually conducted by healthcare providers and registers a patient’s blood sugar levels of the past 2 to 3 months. Your medical team leveraged A1C numbers in deciding the amount and type of medicine you need for managing your blood glucose levels.
How often should you check your blood sugar level?
The number of times you confirm your blood glucose levels is determined by the type of diabetes you have and the medication you are taking. However, the universally acceptable times for checking blood sugar level are before meals, two hours after meals, and before bedtime. For more precise instructions on when to measure your blood glucose levels, kindly consult with your doctor.