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How to Test Your Blood Sugar With Diabetes

When Should I Test My Blood Sugar? continued...

For people who take multiple insulin injections daily or who use an insulin pump, experts recommend checking the blood sugar level several times a day. Suggested times may include before meals, before exercise, at bedtime, before tasks like driving, as well as when low blood sugar levels are suspected.

Frequency and timing of blood sugar measurements should be individualized. Your health care provider will tell you when and how often you should check your blood sugar.

Note: Acute or chronic illnesses or changes in medications may affect your blood sugar level. You may need to test your blood sugar more frequently when you are ill.

Conditions That Affect Your Blood Sugar

Certain conditions may interfere with an accurate reading of blood sugar and include:

  • Anemia
  • Gout
  • High air temperature
  • Humidity
  • Altitude

If you are consistently seeing abnormal results, recalibrate your meter and check the strips.

The chart below gives you an idea of where your blood sugar level should be throughout the day. Your ideal blood sugar range may be different from another person's and will change throughout the day.

Time of TestIdeal for Adults With Diabetes
Before meals70-130 mg/dL
After mealsLess than 180 mg/dL
*Source: American Diabetes Association, 2013

Home Blood Glucose Monitoring and HbA1c

Monitoring your HbA1c level is also important for diabetes control. Many home glucose monitors have the capacity to display an average blood glucose reading, which correlates with the HbA1c.

Learn more about HbA1c.

Average Blood Glucose Level (mg/dL)HbA1c (%)
126mg/ dL6
154mg/ dL7
183mg/ dL8
212mg/ dL9
240mg/ dL10
269mg/ dL11
298mg/ dl12

When Should I Call My Doctor About my Blood Sugar?

Ask your doctor about your target blood sugar range, and draw up a plan for how to handle blood sugar readings that are either too high or too low and when to call your doctor. Learn about the symptoms of high or low blood sugar and know what you can do if you begin to have symptoms.

How Do I Record My Blood Sugar Test Results?

Keep good records of any blood, urine, or ketone tests you do. Most glucose monitors also have a memory. Your records can help alert you to any problems or trends. Also, these test records help your health care provider make any needed changes in your meal plan, medicine, or exercise program. Bring these records with you every time you visit your health care provider.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on May 27, 2013

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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