Skip to content

    Diabetes Health Center

    Font Size

    Check Your Blood Sugar to Avoid Complications

    When you have diabetes, you need to check your blood sugar throughout the day. It can help you decide what to eat and whether you need to adjust your medication. It can also help you steer clear of diabetes-related problems like:

    • Heart disease
    • Stroke
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Blindness
    • Kidney disease
    • Skin problems

    Ways to Check Your Blood Sugar

    Self-Checking: Give yourself a blood sugar test several times a day. To do it, you use a gadget that pricks your finger with a tiny needle. You’ll put a drop of blood onto a test strip. The strip goes into a handheld device that measures your blood sugar level.

    Record the test results, so you can share it with your doctor. Based on your results, the two of you may adjust your diet, exercise, or medication.

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

    The results show your average blood sugar 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 changes if you need to.

    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: If you choose this method, your doctor will place a tiny sensor under your skin to check blood sugar levels every 5 minutes. It sends data to a monitor that you wear like a pager for a few days.

    You'll still need to check your levels throughout the day; continuous glucose monitoring doesn't replace that. It gives your doctor more information about trends that self-checking might not show.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on May 14, 2015

    Today on WebMD

    Diabetic tools
    Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
    woman flexing muscles
    10 strength training exercises.
    Blood sugar test
    12 practical tips.
    Tom Hanks
    Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
    kenneth fujioka, md
    Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
    Middle aged person
    jennie brand miller

    Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
    type 2 diabetes
    food fitness planner