Tips for monitoring blood sugar levels
Here are some tips to help you easily maintain the routine of checking your blood glucose levels regularly.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes it can be hard to get into the habit checking your blood glucose levels. But there are some simple ways that can help you establish a good routine.
It may be tempting to ignore or skip monitoring your blood glucose, particularly if you’re busy and stressed, or when you’re feeling absolutely fine. That’s a common mistake, says Bupa Medical Director, Dr Tim Ross.
“Having to prick a finger to monitor blood glucose is not a fun process,” he admits. “It also takes time and equipment. The problem is that blood glucose can get high or low without the person necessarily feeling any symptoms.”
Depending on the type of diabetes you have, your management plan, and your lifestyle habits, how regularly you need to monitor your blood glucose may be anything from four times a day to a few times a week.
“The more often it is needed, the more likely people are to miss readings,” says Ross. “Also, when doing readings less regularly, it can be possible to forget when exactly you last did a reading.”
Why is regular monitoring important?
Variable blood glucose levels – whether too high or too low – can have adverse effects on or cause damage the body. The hormone insulin regulates blood glucose within a target range. Diabetes is a condition where this regulation is affected but you can’t always tell whether your blood glucose is too high or too low just by how you feel. So the only way of knowing whether your blood glucose is within the acceptable range is to regularly monitor it.
It’s important to remember that not checking your blood glucose can have a serious impact on your health and wellbeing. Not knowing if your blood glucose is too high or too low means you miss the opportunity to get it back within a target range, which can lead to serious complications and in extreme cases even death.
"Monitoring your blood glucose levels assists you to manage any variation and keep your body as healthy as you possibly can.”
Tips for making monitoring easier
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Keep your equipment in an obvious place and carry out your checks around the same times (or time) each day in order to establish a regular routine, unless you’re advised by your doctor or diabetes educator to do otherwise. It can help if you associate your regular checks with activities at specific times of the day – like putting your equipment next to the toaster if you’re meant to check first thing in the morning before breakfast, or on your bedside table if you need to check right before bed.
How frequently and regularly you need to monitor your blood glucose may vary due to illness, changes to your exercise or diet, or even other changes in your routine like being on holiday.
There are many different measuring machines available, so it’s important to be familiar with your own equipment. However, most blood glucose meters work in a similar way and your diabetes educator or pharmacist can help you get the hang of a simple process so you can do it the same way every time.
“Managing your condition involves regular monitoring of your blood glucose, so that you can learn how they vary according to your diet and lifestyle,” says Ross. Over time, this can help you put in place measures that help you maintain healthy habits to keep your blood glucose levels stable, no matter what situation you find yourself in.