When Should I Check My Blood Sugar?
Why Checking Your Blood Sugar Is Important For Diabetics
Blood sugar can vary drastically from hour to hour. While a1c's can help give you an average blood sugar number, it's important that you know what your highs and lows are. The more stable you can get your blood sugar, the better control you have.
When blood sugar gets too high, you are at risk for complications. When it falls too low your life may be at risk.
When Should You Check Your Blood Sugar?
1. First Thing In The Morning
Even if your blood sugar was fine or low when you went to bed, it might be high in the morning. This is because the liver releases sugars that it stores into your blood stream while you are sleeping. A lot of diabetics struggle with morning blood sugar highs.
Even though you may be tempted to skip breakfast in the morning when this happens, you shouldn't do this. Your liver releases sugar during the night because it thinks your starving. When you "break" your "fast" in the morning, the liver will stop flooding your blood with sugar.
You may have to start taking medicine right before bed in order to remedy this problem.
2. Right Before You Eat
If your blood sugar is high, you might want to eat a lighter meal and if it's low, you can get away with a heavier one.
3. An Hour Or Two After Meals
Some people only take their blood sugar before meals, when it's the lowest. This will give you a false idea of your true fluctuations throughout the day and make you think you are in control of your diabetes, when you might not be.
You need to know when your blood sugar is at its highest during the day, so you can adjust your diet and medication to help lower that number (but still keep your blood sugar stable.)
Waiting an hour or two after you eat allows your body to digest the food completely.
4. Before And After You Exercise
It can be a huge motivator to see how much your blood sugar changes after you exercise, especially if you're struggling with lowering your blood sugar.
On some occasions, exercising, if you push yourself too hard, can actually raise blood sugar, but most of the time, it will lower it.
You need to keep track of this number in case your blood sugar drops too low. You may need a light snack after you exercise.
5. Before You Take Your Medicine
This is especially important if you take insulin. Blood sugar fluctuates from day to day. If you know your numbers, then you will be better able to predict how much insulin you should take every dose.
6. When You Feel Ill
When you don't feel well, it may be a sign that your blood sugar is too high or too low. You need to find this out right away, so you can fix it with medication or food.
Also, getting sick can raise blood sugar numbers drastically. It's good to keep track of this.
What Does My Blood Sugar Reading Mean?
In general, it's best to keep your blood sugar between the numbers of 70-160 throughout the day. You'll be on the higher range after a meal and the lower range before you eat or maybe after you exercise.
Looking For A Cheap Blood Sugar Machine?
I use this machine every day. I pay for my machine and test strips out of pocket and this machine has been the easiest to pay for, yet most accurate machine I've found.
Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
When most people get a sugar rush, they get energetic and hyper. Diabetics are the opposite. Our blood sugar gets so high that we get sick.
Symptoms To Look Out For:
- Mood Swings
- Just A General Feeling That Something Isn't Right
- Excessive Thirst
- Blurry Vision
- Frequent Urination
- Urine or Breath that smells sweet
- Dry Mouth
- Shortness Of Breath
- Chest Pain/Fast Heart Rate
- Loss Of Appetite
Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
Symptoms of low blood sugar are very similar to symptoms of being drunk. In fact, it's not uncommon for someone who is unaware that a person is diabetic to mix up the two. If you take medication or you have hypoglycemia, low blood sugar is a very serious medical problem you will have to look out for.
Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar:
- Slurring Words
- Feeling Shaky/Jittery
- Losing Balance
- Mood Swings
Don't Forget To Buy A Lancet
Lancet devices making drawing your blood easy whenever you need to check your blood sugar.
What To Do If Your Blood Sugar Is Off
If it's high, you can try drinking some water or exercising to help lower it. If you use insulin, you can also take an extra dose of that, but if you take pills, don't take any extra without talking to your doctor first.
If it's low, eat something sweet or drink some juice. Don't overdo it. Eat a little, wait fifteen minutes, test again, then repeat, until your blood sugar returns to normal.
How To Get Cheap Test Strips
There are a lot of companies who will give you blood sugar machines for free. At first, this may sound impressive and like a big deal, but it's not what you think. The reason these companies give you their machines for free is because they don't make money off the machines, they make it off the testing strips.
This is okay if your insurance covers it, but most people's insurances only cover a limited number of strips if any at all. If you buy them without insurance, they can cost $200 per package.
Instead, buy one of the over the counter blood sugar machines. Brands like ReliOn sell blood sugar machines and test strips at every walmart for much cheaper prices. They work just as good as any of the expensive brands. I use them all the time and I've compared them to my mother's more expensive brands. I've been told by other diabetics the same thing.
So if you have a more expensive machine and you are worried, try comparing the two. It helps to have extra testing strips around.
You'll Also Need Test Strips
While you may be able to get a blood sugar machine for "free" from some companies, those companies make up for giving out free machines by charging hundreds of dollars for test strips. The thing I love most about relion is you can get a large amount of test strips like this for only $25.