Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

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
Home Healthcare

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