The Diabetes Doctor Series - Part 3- The Importance of Testing Blood Glucose Levels
Blood Glucose Testing
Checking your blood glucose levels should be a routine part of managing your diabtes.
By checking your level on a regular basis you can see how your blood glucose levels are affected by food, drink and exercise. You can also check on how well your diabetes is controlled.
Blood glucose levels that are properly controlled prevents you experiencing hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) or hypoglycemia (low BGL)
Why Test Blood Glucose
Because diabetes increases your risk of developing a number of serious medical conditions it is imperative that you test your blood glucose levels regularly. Having diabetes means you are prone to:
- Nerve damage
- Poor blood circulation
- Heart, kidney and eye disease
But keeping your level as close to normal as possible reduces the risk of developing the aforementioned problems.
Blood testing is by far the best method of being healthy and in control of your diabetes as it informs you what is happening immediately. It can show you if you are at risk of going into a hypo (low blood glucose) or a hyper (High BGL)orif your control is stable, so you can take the correct form of action.
You should remember that blood glucose levels can vary throughout the day and it may prove difficult to maintain it within the recommended rage.
However, do not panicif you get the occasional high. It is something that happens to everyone at some time in their life.
Tracking Blood Glucose Levels
It is important to keep track of your blood glucose levels in a diary. It will be helpful to have a record of your readings because they could reveal a pattern. It is a good idea to take your diary to appointment with your diabetes team. They could look at what's happening and make any necessary changes to your treatment regime.
When To Test
Blood glucose level are monitored using a blood glucose meter and strips.
Test your blood glucose:
- Befire each main meal and at bedtime
- Before and after exercise
- If you think you may be having a hypo
- More often if you are ill (every 2 to 4 hours)
- More often if you are pregnant (every 2 hours)
- On occasions you may have to test between 3 and 4.a.m. to make sure you are not having a hypo during the night
- Sometimes you have be asked to test your glucose level 2 hours after a meal
How to Test
The first thing to do is to wash your hands. Use a site on the side, rather than the tip of your finger. To get blood from the sides are the fingers is less sensitive. There are some meters which allow you to test your blood from other parts of the body. Your diabetes team will explain how these work.
Ensure that you follow the intructions on the testing strip container, as the results can be affected by timings and the amount of blood used. Store strips at room temperature.
Testing meters read teststrips digitally and display the results in the meter's window. Make sure you keep your meter clean and always check the battery and accuracy as recommended, plus remember to change the code on your meter when using a new container of strips.
Always carry your blood testing kit with you wherever your go.
How Often Do You Test Your Blood Sugar?
Next: Series 4 - Insulin