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How To Check Fasting Blood Sugar At Home

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Blood Sugar Testing At Home

Diabetes: How to check your blood glucose level | NHS

A person can test their blood sugar levels at home.

In most cases, doctors ask people to measure fasting blood sugar immediately upon waking and before they have anything to eat or drink. It may also be appropriate to test blood sugar before eating or 2 hours after a meal, which is when blood sugar returns to normal levels.

The right time to test depends on treatment goals and other factors. For example, most people with diabetes do not need to test between meals unless they are using a diabetes drug that can lower blood sugar. Other people may test between meals if they feel their sugar levels may be low.

Since people with type 1 diabetes do not make any insulin, they need to test their blood sugar levels several times a day so they can adjust their insulin doses.

A person will test blood sugar levels by:

  • preparing the testing strip and glucose monitor to be ready for the blood sample
  • using an alcohol swab to clean the testing area, which is usually the side of a fingertip
  • lancing the testing area and bracing against a firm surface to help resist the impulse to pull away
  • squeezing the testing area around the wound to maximize blood flow
  • squeezing a drop of blood onto the test strip
  • putting the strip into the monitor
  • recording the time, blood sugar reading, and recent food intake in a log

Understanding & Recording The Results

Once youve received results from your glucose testing method of choice, youll need to know what to do next. If your results are in range, of course, you dont need to worry. But youll need to talk to your healthcare provider to create a plan for readings outside of this range, whether theyre too high or too low.

Not all out-of-range readings are the result of problems with your blood glucose in some cases, the issue may lie in the meter itself. If youre seeing readings out of range more often than would be expected, check your test strips and recalibrate your meter. Also, make sure you always wash your hands before doing a finger stick.

Youll also want to track your glucose levels, since long-term test results can inform you of issues and help you make changes in your diabetes treatment regimen. Most blood glucose meters on the market today are capable of tracking test results. Be sure to bring these results with you whenever you meet with your healthcare provider!

When Should Testing Occur

A doctor might recommend testing at three different times, and often over the course of several days:

  • Morning fasting reading: This provides information about blood glucose levels before a person eats or drinks anything. Taking blood glucose readings before eating provides a baseline number. This number offers clues about glucose processes during the day.
  • Before a meal: Blood glucose before a meal tends to be low, so a high blood glucose reading at this time suggests difficulties managing blood sugar.
  • After a meal: Post-meal testing gives a good idea about how the body reacts to food, and if sugar can reach the cells efficiently. Blood glucose readings after a meal can help diagnose gestational diabetes, which happens during pregnancy. Most doctors recommend testing about 2 hours after a meal.

The doctor will personalize the glucose monitoring schedule for the individual.

  • Fasting : 80â130 milligrams per deciliter
  • Before meals: 70â130 mg/dl
  • Two hours after starting meals: Below 180 mg/dl
  • At bedtime: Under 120 mg/dl
  • HbA1c: 7.0 percent or lower

Before beginning home testing, it is important that people get clear, target figures from their doctor.

Target numbers may vary from person to person and may change over time, depending on an individualâs health, age, weight, and other factors.

For people who do not have diabetes, blood sugar levels should be within the following ranges:

Recommended Reading: What Are The Best Times To Do Intermittent Fasting

What A Fasting Blood Sugar Test Doesnt Show

A fasting blood sugar test taken at home with a blood glucose meter should not be used to diagnose diabetes. If a healthcare professional is trying to determine whether a person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, they will perform other panels of tests that will be sent to a lab to get a clearer picture of your overall health.

Fasting blood sugar levels alone cannot tell you how your body handles food throughout the day. To get the best understanding of how food affects blood sugar, people with diabetes should also test throughout the day, before meals, and two hours after meals.

Gaining Insights From Routine Blood Glucose Testing

All About A Fasting Blood Sugar Test (Clinic &  At

Day-to-day blood sugar checks can give you a good idea of how you’re doing at this moment, and they can be reviewed overall to see trends. They can help answer questions such as:

  • Are your medications working as they should?
  • How does the type or amount of food you eat affect your blood sugar?
  • How does activity or stress affect your blood sugar?

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What Does The Test Result Mean

Screening and Diagnosis

High levels of glucose most frequently indicate diabetes, but many other diseases and conditions can also cause elevated blood glucose.

A random glucose level in a person with signs and symptoms of diabetes and hyperglycemia that is equal to or greater than 200 mg/dL indicates diabetes.

The following table summarizes the meaning of fasting glucose results.

Visiting Your Healthcare Provider

  • 1Discuss the reasons for your blood test with your doctor. There are many reasons your doctor might suggest you take a test to measure fasting blood sugar. A family history of diabetes, any symptoms of diabetes, or just regular screening for diabetes are all valid reasons for the test. He or she will discuss your risk factors with you, and schedule another appointment at which to perform the test.
  • If youre unsure why you need the test, just ask! Say something like, “Can you please explain your rationale for ordering this test?” Your provider can then elaborate: “Because your mother got diabetes at age 40, we want to check to make sure you dont have it, too,” or, “You mentioned youve been using the restroom a lot more frequently in the last two months. This can be a sign of diabetes, so we just want to check.”
  • Anyone over the age of 45 should be screened every three years. You should be screened more often if you are overweight , have high cholesterol or blood pressure, are a member of a high-risk ethnic group, or have certain medical conditions.XTrustworthy SourceMedlinePlusCollection of medical information sourced from the US National Library of MedicineGo to source
  • Symptoms of diabetes include the need to urinate more often, vision changes, lightheadedness or fainting, confusion, and having a seizure for the first time.XTrustworthy SourceMedlinePlusCollection of medical information sourced from the US National Library of MedicineGo to source
  • Recommended Reading: What Can You Have When Intermittent Fasting

    Tips For Accurate Testing

    The fingers traditionally offer the most accurate results. Some tests allow you to prick your thigh or arm, but you should check with your doctor before doing so. Ask your doctor if and how often you should test yourself if you dont take insulin.

    You may consider testing before and after meals to see how your diet affects blood glucose. Its especially important to test after eating simple carbohydrates or sugary foods to make sure your glucose isnt too high.

    Its also important to test whenever you make a change to your treatment plan or if you feel youre getting sick.

    A blood glucose chart is essential for tracking your results. Whether you keep track of your readings on paper or electronically, having this information can help you identify patterns and potential problems.

    You should save your charts and take them to your next visit with the doctor. When writing down your results, also be sure to log:

    • the date and time of the test
    • any medications youre taking, as well as the dosage
    • whether the test was before or after a meal
    • foods you ate and their carbohydrate contents
    • any workouts you did that day and when you did them

    Inconsistent Highs & Lows

    How to test your blood glucose (sugar) levels

    Sometimes you may get a lower or higher blood glucose reading than usual and you may not be able to figure out the reason. When you are sick with a virus or flu, your blood glucose levels will nearly always go up and you may need to contact your doctor. There are a number of other common causes for blood glucose levels to increase or decrease. These include:

    • Food time eaten, type and amount of carbohydrate for example: bread, pasta, cereals, vegetables, fruit and milk
    • Exercise or physical activity
    • Other medications
    • Blood glucose checking techniques.

    Contact your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator if you notice that your blood glucose patters change or are consistently higher or lower than usual.

    Read Also: What Are The Advantages Of Intermittent Fasting

    Are There Devices That Can Help Manage Diabetes

    There are many new tools that can help people with diabetes manage this disease just as they manage other facets of their lives. For instance, increasingly sophisticated software programs are available that allow you to track and analyze trends in blood sugar levels over a period of time. These programs allow you to download and store data from a blood glucose meter directly onto a computer or cell phone and then view charts that show what percentage of time your glucose levels were within normal ranges. You will also be able to see what percentage of time they were above or below normal. These programs do more than just help you understand when glucose levels change and when they stay stable. They also let your doctor review the same data in order to make recommendations that help you stay well.

    Another way you can help manage diabetes is by using a continuous glucose monitoring system . A CGMS is an FDA-approved device that records blood sugar levels throughout the day and night. This technology allows you to use the results of glucose monitoring to make informed decisions about nutrition, activity level, and medication.

    Other tools include smaller, disposable glucose monitors that can be worn directly on the skin and concealed under clothing. And there are combination tools that let you monitor blood glucose and administer insulin therapy with one piece of equipment.

    Take The Medication Unless Your Doctor Tells You Otherwise

    Your doctor isnt medicating you for the sake of it. There are certain health problems that will require medication to help you control your levels. This is the case with diabetes.

    Its important to visit your doctor regularly. Arranged for morning appointments when you have your checks to get your morning levels recorded on a regular basis. This way your doctor can see if your medication is still needed and whether there are other things you can do instead.

    Only stop taking your medication if your doctor tells you so. Youll get a good idea by your glucose levels. Track them yourself to see if theyre getting lower one week to the next. If you see a significant drop, talk to your doctor about your options for cutting back or out your medication and trying more holistic options.

    If you believe you need a second opinion, dont be afraid to get one from someone reputable. Just follow the advice from those who have the degrees!

    Also Check: Carb Cycling Vs Intermittent Fasting

    Read Also: What Should I Eat When Doing Intermittent Fasting

    Drink Water And Stay Hydrated

    Drinking enough water could help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy ranges.

    In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out any excess sugar through urine.

    One review of observational studies showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels (

    34 ).

    You can do so at home using a portable blood glucose meter, which is known as a glucometer. You can discuss this option with your doctor.

    Keeping track allows you to determine whether you need to adjust your meals or medications. It also helps you learn how your body reacts to certain foods .

    Try measuring your levels regularly every day and keeping track of the numbers in a log. Also, it may be more helpful to track your blood sugar in pairs for example, before and after exercise or before and 2 hours after a meal.

    This can show you whether you need to make small changes to a meal if it spikes your blood sugar, rather than avoiding your favorite meals altogether. Some adjustments include swapping a starchy side for non-starchy veggies or limiting them to a handful.


    Checking your blood glucose and maintaining a daily log enables you to adjust foods and medications when necessary to better manage your blood sugar levels.

    Why Should You Test Blood Glucose Levels

    11 Easy Ways to Manage High Blood Sugar

    Like its name suggests, a blood glucose test is used to determine how much glucose is in your bloodstream. Blood glucose also commonly known as blood sugar is the primary fuel of the human body, which enters cells with the help of insulin. People who have diabetes are either unable to produce insulin or are not able to produce sufficient insulin or have developed insulin resistance .

    In both types of diabetes, insulin-related problems can lead to a buildup of glucose in a persons blood. That, in turn, may eventually result in organ damage and other complications. Testing a persons blood glucose as soon as diabetes symptoms are observed can help medical professionals determine whether or not that person actually has diabetes people with diabetes should also test their own glucose levels regularly.

    Fasting blood glucose tests are important because a hormone known as glucagon is stimulated when a person is fasting. This hormone boosts blood glucose levels, and in most cases, the body will respond by generating insulin. On the other hand, people with diabetes will either be unable to produce insulin or be unable to use it to balance their blood sugar either way, this means they will have a high blood sugar level when fasting. That makes fasting blood glucose tests helpful to diagnose diabetes, along with determining the efficacy of dietary/medication changes in people known to have this disease.

    Also Check: How To Begin Fasting And Praying

    The Best Time To Check Blood Glucose After A Meal

    Most of the food you consume will be digested and raises blood glucose in one to two hours. To capture the peak level of your blood glucose, it is best to test one to two hours after you start eating.

    Q: I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Should I check my blood glucose two hours from when I start eating or after I finish eating my meal?

    A: Most of the food you consume will be digested and raises blood glucose in one to two hours. To capture the peak level of your blood glucose, it is best to test one to two hours after you start eating.

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    The American Diabetes Association recommends a target of below 180 mg/dl two hours after a meal. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends a lower target: below 140 mg/dl two hours after a meal.

    Ask your doctor which target is right for you. Postmeal blood glucose monitoring is important because it helps you see how your body responds to carbohydrates in general and particular foods. Managing postmeal blood glucose can help reduce your risk of developing heart and circulation problems.

    Virginia Zamudio Lange, a member of Diabetic Livings editorial advisory board, is a founding partner of Alamo Diabetes Team, LLP in San Antonio.

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    How Can I Remember To Use My Diabetes Supplies

    The American Diabetes Association suggests trying memory aids. Here are some that may work for you:

    • Connect diabetes blood glucose testing and taking medications to other daily hygiene habits. For example, connect it to taking your morning shower, brushing your teeth, or washing your face.
    • Always keep your insulin and blood glucose monitor nearby. Store them in the same location so you can use them immediately at the proper times.
    • Create a daily blood testing and medication habit by taking the same medication and doing the testing regimen in the same manner and at the same time each day. The longer you continue to test and treat diabetes as a part of a daily routine, the greater the chances of avoiding serious diabetes complications.
    • Set a timer each morning when you first awaken to remind you of the next blood test and medication dose.
    • Make a reminder chart of various tasks you must do daily. Mark off each task — whether it’s taking medication or doing a blood glucose test — as you finish it.

    Recommended Reading: Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy For Women

    Easy Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally

    High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, is associated with diabetes and prediabetes. Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

    Your body usually manages your blood sugar levels by producing insulin, a hormone that allows your cells to use the circulating sugar in your blood. As such, insulin is the most important regulator of blood sugar levels .

    However, multiple factors can impair blood sugar management and lead to hyperglycemia.

    Internal causes for high blood sugar include when your liver produces too much glucose, your body makes too little insulin, or your body cant effectively use insulin. The latter is known as insulin resistance (

    2 ).

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 13% of U.S. adults live with diabetes and that another 34.5% have prediabetes. This means that close to 50% of all U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes .

    Blood sugar management is especially important for people with diabetes, as chronically high blood sugar levels can lead to limb and life threatening complications (

    Increased insulin sensitivity means your cells can more effectively use the available sugar in your bloodstream.

    Exercise also helps your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction .

    Whats more, researchers recommend doing so-called exercise snacks to lower blood sugar and prevent the damage that sitting all day can do .

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