HomeDiabetesWhen Should You Check Your Blood Sugar?

When Should You Check Your Blood Sugar?

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Individuals with diabetes are inspired to verify their blood sugars typically, and with the most recent know-how like steady glucose displays (CGMs), the frequency of checking has elevated greater than ever.

However what should you’re utilizing a glucometer, lancet system, and take a look at strips? How typically, and possibly extra importantly, precisely when do you have to verify your blood sugar? 

This text will define the significance of checking your blood sugar, how typically, and while you actually ought to verify for higher diabetes administration. 

Hands testing blood sugar with a glucometerHands testing blood sugar with a glucometer

Why is blood sugar checking necessary? 

In the event you reside with diabetes, a blood sugar verify is paramount to good management. With out realizing your blood glucose numbers, you can not appropriately dose insulin, deal with a low blood sugar, eat a meal, or train with ease. 

Consider a blood sugar verify as a litmus take a look at: the quantity isn’t good or unhealthy, it simply provides an individual with diabetes suggestions on what they should do subsequent. 

If a quantity is simply too excessive (and at all times seek the advice of together with your physician a few goal vary that matches you and your way of life greatest), it’s telling you to take some insulin or get some train, whereas if a quantity is simply too low, you’ll have to deal with with sugar or another type of glucose. 

In case your quantity is passable, then you possibly can proceed on together with your day as deliberate. 

Checking your blood sugar can be necessary to trace long-term targets, like an hba1c take a look at, and to see should you’re reaching and even exceeding these targets. 

Repeatedly checking your blood sugar additionally can provide you suggestions on what’s working and what’s not: possibly a specific meals isn’t working on your administration targets, or a sort of train, like yoga, has actually helped to mellow out your blood sugar ranges. 

It’s time to verify in with your self and calibrate your administration to seek out what is going to work greatest for you, realizing that this could and can change over time. 

How typically do you have to verify your blood sugar? 

As with most issues coping with diabetes, this all will depend on your explicit physique and way of life. Work together with your care group and physician to find out the suitable variety of occasions per day that you need to be checking your blood sugars. 

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Know that not solely is everybody completely different, however individuals’s wants for kind of frequent checking can change over their lifetime. 

For example, when somebody is pregnant, their want for checking goes up immensely, and conversely, if somebody with sort 2 diabetes weans their method off of insulin, they could have to verify much less often as their probability of hypoglycemia is decrease with out exogenous insulin of their system. 

In response to the Mayo Clinic, individuals with sort 1 diabetes ought to at a minimal verify between 4 and 10 occasions per day, and folks with sort 2 diabetes might solely have to verify a couple of occasions a day (if on insulin), and possibly in no way if they don’t seem to be on insulin. 

However let’s be clear: you possibly can verify as many occasions as you might want to, and nonetheless typically you’d like (barring costly take a look at strips or limitations set by your medical health insurance firm). There’s nothing flawed with checking extra typically or everytime you like. 

When do you have to verify your blood sugar? 

Whereas everybody’s diabetes expertise might range, there are some good tips that most individuals ought to observe:

Upon waking 

The easiest way for an individual with diabetes to begin their day is by checking their blood sugar. This can assist you course-correct any highs or lows earlier than any meals is eaten, train is finished, or work is began, and can assist to get you heading in the right direction for the day. 

Beginning a brand new day with out realizing your blood sugar is much like driving with a blindfold on! 

Maintaining a meter, take a look at strips, lancet system, and an alcohol swab at your bedside can act as reminder to verify your blood sugar the second you get up. 

Earlier than and after meals and snacks 

In the event you eat very first thing within the morning, your first blood sugar verify of the day can even depend as your pre-meal verify, however should you don’t, you’ll have to verify once more earlier than breakfast. 

This will inform you as to how a lot insulin you’ll want on your meal (should you’re insulin-dependent). In the event you’re working somewhat excessive, you’ll have to bolus further, but when your blood sugar is on the decrease finish, you possibly can take rather less insulin for any carbohydrates eaten. 

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Checking earlier than each meal and snack can assist curb postprandial glucose excursions, in any other case often called the cussed excessive blood sugars you generally can expertise after consuming a meal and never adequately bolusing for stated meal. 

Ideally, you must also be checking 2 hours in spite of everything meals as properly, to find out in case your meal bolus was enough, should you took an excessive amount of insulin, or if you might want to regulate and take extra insulin. 

Two hours is the beneficial timeframe, as a result of by then most carbohydrates have been absorbed into the physique and most fast-acting insulin has already peaked. 

When checking earlier than snacks (between meals), ensure you’re calculating any lively insulin on board so that you don’t overtreat a excessive and find yourself going low. 

Earlier than and after train 

That is essential, as a result of exercising with a low and even in-range blood sugar degree may be harmful, relying on the size and depth of the train you intend to do. 

Be sure that to work together with your physician to find out an applicable pre-exercise blood sugar degree, however individuals normally prefer to have their ranges sit somewhat larger than regular earlier than beginning any vigorous cardiovascular train to forestall extreme hypoglycemia. 

Alternatively, some individuals’s blood sugars are likely to rise throughout train, particularly if they’re doing weightlifting or forms of train that spike adrenaline ranges within the physique. It’s necessary to ensure your blood sugar is at an applicable degree in case it would rise throughout your exercise. 

You additionally don’t need your blood sugar to be too excessive earlier than train, both. The Mayo Clinic really advises towards individuals with diabetes exercising if their beginning blood sugar is above 250 mg/dL. 

This is because of the truth that if a physique is exercising with out sufficient insulin within the bloodstream, the liver and kidneys will inadvertently launch extra sugar into the physique, rising your quantity much more and placing you in danger for dehydration, ketones, and even elevated threat of spiraling into diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). 

All the time verify your blood sugar after train as properly, as some individuals require a post-exercise bolus to fight spikes attributable to momentary pump settings that had decreased their basal charges. 

Others want a post-exercise snack to deliver up their blood sugars, particularly after a very lengthy or rigorous exercise. 

Earlier than mattress

It’s essential to verify your blood sugar earlier than mattress as properly. Going to sleep with a low or lower-than-normal blood sugar (whereas having lively insulin on board) is harmful, whereas going to mattress with a higher-than-normal blood sugar can set you up for a really lengthy, uncomfortable night time of unquenchable thirst and frequent journeys to the lavatory. 

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It’s useful to not eat at the least 2 hours earlier than bedtime to just be sure you’ve appropriately dosed on your night meal and that your lively insulin on board is low sufficient that your pre-bedtime blood sugar is secure and isn’t prone to spike or crash. 

Suggestions range, however lots of people desire to have a night blood sugar degree of at the least 100 mg/dL. 

In the event you’re basal testing, fasting for a blood take a look at, or your blood sugars have been erratic, you may additionally have to set an alarm and verify a number of occasions all through the night time as properly. 

That is when steady glucose displays (CGMs) may be helpful, as a result of they alarm at sure excessive and low blood sugar ranges, waking you as much as regulate insulin or deal with a hypoglycemic occasion as wanted.

If you find yourself sick

Blood sugars are harder to handle while you’re sick, so it’s extra necessary than ever to verify your blood sugar often should you’re beneath the climate with something from the widespread chilly, to a nasty flu, to even preventing off an an infection. 

It’s typically beneficial to verify as typically as each 4 hours when sick, and to name the physician instantly/search emergency medical consideration if: 

  • Your blood sugar has been over 250 mg/dL for a number of hours and you’ve got gentle or average ketones 
  • You can not get your blood sugar above 70 mg/dL for a number of hours 
  • You can not maintain liquids down 
  • You may have a temperature above 101 F 
  • You may have diarrhea and/or vomiting 

Different necessary occasions to verify your blood sugar 

Another necessary occasions in your life that you need to pay particular consideration to your blood sugar and verify extra often could also be:

  • When there’s a change to your medicine routine, together with insulin 
  • If you’re on trip or touring (particularly while you change time zones) 
  • Throughout being pregnant (and postpartum) 
  • If there’s been a change to your every day routine (as an illustration a brand new job) 
  • You’ve been identified with a brand new well being situation 
  • There’s been a drastic change to your weight loss plan (otherwise you’ve gained or misplaced a variety of weight not too long ago)
  • You’ve been beneath a variety of stress (like a transfer, breakup, or different stressor) 


For individuals residing with diabetes, it’s normally at all times time to verify your blood sugar, however specializing in these necessary occasions all through the day and all through your life can vastly enhance your diabetes administration, decrease your blood sugars and A1c, enhance your power, and improve your well being and well-being! 

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