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Diabetes Health Center

Checking Blood Sugar and Avoiding Diabetes Complications

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Checking your blood sugar throughout the day is a must when you have diabetes. It makes a big difference to your health by helping you make decisions about what to eat, or if you need to adjust your medication, and to avoid diabetes complications such as: 

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Blindness
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes-related skin problems

Ways to Check Your Blood Sugar

Here are some ways you can check your blood sugar levels and lower the risk of serious complications:

Self-Checking: You give yourself a blood glucose test several times a day. To do it, you put a drop of blood, usually from your finger, onto a special test strip. The strip goes into a handheld device that measures your blood glucose level.

Write down the test results, so you can share it with your doctor. Based on your results, you and your doctor may make adjustments to your diet, exercise, or medication.

A1c Test:  The A1c test is a blood test you'll get in your doctor's office at least twice a year, or as often as your doctor recommends.

The results show your average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months. You and your doctor need this test to see how well your diabetes treatment plan is working, so you can make any adjustments you need.

Think of it this way: Self-checking is like a daily snapshot of your blood sugar control. The A1c test gives you the big picture.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring System: When you get a continuous glucose monitoring system, your doctor  places a tiny sensor under your skin to check blood sugar levels in your body every 5 minutes. A transmitter sends the information from the sensor to a monitor that you wear like a pager for a few days. Some insulin pumps include continuous glucose monitoring systems.

You'll still need to check your blood sugar throughout the day. Continuous glucose monitoring doesn't replace that. It gives your doctor more information about trends that self-checking may not show.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on September 06, 2014

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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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