Monitoring Blood Sugar and Avoiding Diabetes Complications
Monitoring Your Blood Glucose
Monitoring your blood glucose is essential to decrease your risk for diabetes complications. Knowing your blood sugar level will help you make decisions about what to eat, or if you need to adjust your medication. These tests and strategies can help you monitor your blood sugar levels and lower the risk of serious complications:
Home Glucose Monitoring (Self-Monitoring). You can help control your blood glucose level by keeping track of it through self-monitoring. Self-monitoring involves using a handheld meter to measure the blood glucose in a drop of blood, usually taken from the side of a finger. The drop of blood is placed on a special test strip that is inserted into the meter. Self-monitoring allows you to check your blood glucose levels throughout the day.
To help track the results of your self-monitoring, record each test result in a log book, and share it with your doctor at each office visit. Based on your results, you and your doctor may make adjustments to your diet, exercise or medication.
A1c Test. If self-monitoring gives you a daily snapshot of your diabetes, the A1c gives you the big picture. An A1c test measures your average blood glucose control for the past two or three months, producing an overall picture of your blood glucose control history.
Your A1c results will help you and your doctor determine how well your diabetes treatment plan is working, and help you make any adjustments that may be needed. The American Diabetes Association recommends people with diabetes get an A1c test at least twice a year, or as often as recommended by their doctor.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGM). Continuous glucose monitoring systems place a tiny sensor under the skin to check blood sugar levels in the tissue fluid of your body. A transmitter sends the information from the sensor to a monitor that is worn like a pager.
This system does not replace standard glucose self-monitoring, but may provide additional information for your doctor by detecting subtle changes that can be missed by self-monitoring.