If you are a sea voyager, the nautical compass guides you by telling the right direction and guiding you to the shore. Similarly, if you are a person living with diabetes, blood sugar monitoring helps you to know how your blood glucose values are fluctuating and alter your treatment regimen accordingly.
Blood sugar monitoring is one of the important pillars of diabetes management. It can help you understand the link between blood glucose, food, exercise and insulin. While people on insulin are encouraged to check their glucose values daily, people who are not on insulin are also encouraged to check their glucose values in a structured manner.
Structured self-monitoring involves checking your blood glucose levels at certain times of the day (for instance after meals) for a given period (i.e. two weeks) and then working with your diabetes healthcare team to figure out how food, physical activity and medications are impacting your blood glucose levels.
Different types of glucose monitoring methods are available:
The SMBG meter or the glucometer is the most common and popular method to check your blood sugar.
You require the following to check your blood sugar using the Self-monitored blood glucose (SMBG) meter
To test your blood glucose levels, you prick your finger with the lancet and add a small drop of blood onto a testing strip. This strip is then inserted into the meter, which reads the strip and displays a number – your blood glucose level.
Blood glucose levels are measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dl).
Keeping a record of your blood glucose levels can be very helpful for you and your doctor. You can keep a diary or use a mobile phone app or website to record your levels.
When you should test your blood glucose levels and how often you should test varies depending on each individual, the type of diabetes and the tablets and/or insulin being used. Your doctor will help you decide how many tests are needed and the levels to aim for. Possible times to test are:
•Before breakfast (fasting)
•Two hours after a meal
•Before rigorous exercise
•When you are feeling unwell
The American Diabetes Association suggests the following targets for most non-pregnant adults with diabetes. A1C targets differ based on age and health. Also, more or less stringent glycemic goals may be appropriate for each individual with diabetes.
1. Your personal blood glucose targets
2. Over what period of time and how many times a day you should check your blood glucose levels?
3. How will you report your blood glucose values? – logbook, app, website etc
4. How often will you share the blood glucose values with your doctor?
Remember, regular blood glucose monitoring is an essential tool to help you take control of your diabetes. By identifying and recording changes in your blood sugar levels, you’ll have more information about how food, exercise, stress, and other factors affect your diabetes. Right glucose monitoring is all about Right time, Right frequency & Right Reporting.