People with diabetes administer insulin and test their blood sugar to regulate their glucose levels and prevent diabetes complications. Blood sugar testing helps people with diabetes to identify when their levels are too high or too low and allows them to monitor the effectiveness of their medication and track their general progress.
Individuals will also test their blood sugar to provide better context for how diet, exercise, illness, and stress impacts these levels in different ways. At a high level, testing blood sugar levels plays an essential role in diabetes management.
That said, there are various ways and times that people with diabetes do this testing.
Why Test Your Blood Sugar?
Diabetes occurs when you either produce no insulin to regulate your glucose levels (Type 1), or you don’t produce enough (Type 2.). People with diabetes get prescribed insulin analogs to regulate these levels and do regular tests to monitor their progress. Insulin can be very pricy in America but is roughly three times cheaper in Canada. If you’re wondering how to buy insulin from Canada, you can utilize an online prescription referral service and get your insulin at Canadian prices.
How to Test Your Blood Sugar
People with diabetes test their blood sugar with a blood sugar meter that will measure the sugar in your blood with a small fingerprint prick. Your medical professional will be able to identify the best device for you.
Before testing your levels, thoroughly wash and dry your hands to prevent an inaccurate reading. After inserting a test strip into your device, you prick your fingertip and apply the blood to the test strip to get your levels displayed on the screen.
When to Test Your Blood Sugar
Your doctor will be able to tell you the best times (and how often) to test your blood sugar levels. Generally speaking, professionals recommend that people with type 1 diabetes check their blood sugar levels four to 10 times a day. Conversely, people with type 2 diabetes are to test their levels a few times a day.
These are the times when people with type 1 diabetes should typically check their insulin levels:
Before Meals & Snacks: When you test your sugar levels before and after eating, you can identify the effect that the food has on your glucose levels. This way, you can better identify the right foods to avoid and integrate into your diet.
Before & After Exercise: According to Mayo Clinic, you will want to test your blood sugar 15 to 30 minutes before exercising. You want to ensure your levels are regulated before any physical activity. If your levels are too low or too high, it will not be safe to exercise.
Too Low: 5.6 mmol/L (100 mg/dL)
Target: 5.6 to 13.9 mmol/L (100 to 250 mg/dL)
Too High: 3.9 mmol/L+ (250 mg/dL+)
You will want to check your glucose levels more often when you are sick, change your routine, or start a new medication.
Check your levels before bed to help you identify and monitor how successfully your insulin is managing your blood sugar overnight. Your target blood sugar level should be between 90 and 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) at nighttime.
When you test your blood sugar, you are looking to hit a specific level that is not too low or too high. According to The American Diabetes Association (ADA), you typically want your blood sugar level to be between 80 and 130 mg/dL before meals and under 180 mg/dL two hours after meals.
Your medical professional may ask you to record your test results to help you establish a management plan and set goals.