How Often Should You Check Your Blood Sugar with Type II Diabetes

How Often Should You Check Your Blood Sugar

Source
Blood Glucose Variation During the Day
Blood Glucose Variation During the Day
Graph of Daily Fasting Blood Sugar Levels
Graph of Daily Fasting Blood Sugar Levels | Source

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How Often Should You Check Your Blood Sugar with Type II Diabetes?

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When I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 1979, the only blood sugar testing that you could do at home was with test tape using your urine. It didn’t tell you if your blood sugar was low and the tape only started to turn from yellow to green when your blood sugar level approached 200 mg/dl.

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For the most part, I didn’t bother to use it. Some years later, blood-testing meters became available, but they were bulky, not very reproducible and needed to be re-calibrated often. I didn’t use them either.

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Now that the meters are small, reliable and don’t require a lot of blood, I test my blood sugar once a day when I first get up before I eat anything. This is often referred to as a fasting blood sugar and is the most reliable measure of how well your diabetes is being controlled.

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The American Diabetes Association recommends that you should try to maintain this measurement between 80 and 120 when tested on your fingers for example. (Intervenes blood tests should run between 70 and 110.)

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I only occasionally run an additional test when I am feeling faint and sweaty, which is normally a sign of low blood sugar. Keep in mind that I am a Type II diabetic which indicates that my pancreas still produces insulin. I use medication to assist in controlling my blood sugar, but my body will stop producing blood sugar if the level gets too low.

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Type I diabetics do not produce any insulin at all so they have to exactly match the amount of insulin that they inject in themselves to the amount of food that they eat over very short periods of time. Since they take insulin at least three times a day, they have to test their blood sugar at least that often.

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How often should a Type II diabetic check his blood Sugar?

If you are not using insulin, you should only test your blood sugar once a day, in the morning, before you eat anything unless you have symptoms of low blood sugar.

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Why do TV ads say that "You should test your blood sugar and you should test it often"?

They say that because blood sugar testing is a very profitable business and the more often that you check it, the more money they make.

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Why should you strive to test your blood sugar only once a day?

I can think of at least three good reasons:

  1. Blood sugar testing is expensive.
  2. The more you poke your fingers with needles, the more likely they are to get sore and infected.
  3. The most important reason is to avoid what is called "over control". Studies have proven that adjusting a process for every small variation that you observe actually increases the variability in that process rather than reducing it. The more often that you test, the more likely that you are to over control your blood sugar and that can be dangerous.

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What if you are supplementing your medications with small to moderate doses of insulin?

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About a year ago I had to add a daily dose of Lantus insulin to my other medications. Lantus is a slow time release insulin which supposedly releases insulin at a steady rate over 24 hours. Actually, it has a slight peak after about 6 hours. I started out checking my blood sugar four times a day:

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  1. Fasting blood sugar
  2. About 9:00 AM just before breakfast
  3. About 5:00 PM just before supper
  4. At 10:00 PM just before going to bed

2 and 3 were always high and 1 and 4 were the lowest. Surprisingly, the test result at 10:00 PM was normally the lowest of all and that was when I was most likely to have a low blood sugar reaction. By adjusting when I took the insulin (I switched from before supper to before breakfast) and adjusting when I took my other medications, I am now back to testing only once a day in the morning.

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You can do the same thing but you need to record the daily readings and the times that they were taken. Do not rely on looking at a bunch of readings on your meter because they will only confuse you. In my next hub I will explain how to construct a fasting blood sugar chart in excel that will tell you all that you need to know to keep your blood glucose level under control.

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To learn more about Type II Diabetes, visit the following hubs:

Living with Type II Diabetes

Medications for Type II Diabetes

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How to test your blood glucose level

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Comments 2 comments

jhunpaler profile image

jhunpaler 4 years ago from Philippines

informative hub. Checking blood one's blood sugar usually depends on your medications, previous A1c and FBS, and if your sugars are controlled you could even check it every other day. Thanks for the hub.


dr stephen chan profile image

dr stephen chan 4 years ago from U.S.A

Great info .. however .. if you simply change your diet and get more exercise, you might not have to be checking your blood sugar levels at all. That is what type 2 diabetics should be focusing on.. healing.

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