If you have diabetes, your doctor has probably asked you to monitor and record your blood sugar levels on a daily basis. So you do your finger pricks, record your blood sugar levels, and bring the chart to your doctor at the next visit. But do you know what all those numbers really mean?
Testing your blood sugar levels periodically throughout the day will give you an idea of how your glucose levels change based on what you do and what you eat. Exercise should help lower your blood sugar levels. Your food choices can send your blood sugar level skyrocketing or can help you stay within a normal range.
Most people have a mix of high, low, and normal readings. Your blood sugar readings shouldn’t be all high or all low! You should also make note of the time of day, the amount of medicine taken, the time medicine is taken, and any exercise you do during the day. It doesn’t hurt to also keep track of what you eat and when you eat it.
If you are receiving multiple insulin injections every day or use an insulin pump, you should be checking your blood sugar levels at least four times each day: when you wake up, before lunch, before dinner, and before bed. Even if you aren’t taking insulin four times per day, the four readings will help you know when your levels are rising and falling.
If you only get insulin once per day or use only medicine to control your diabetes, you should be checking your blood sugar levels twice per day: take readings at two meals in a row. One day, take readings at lunch and dinner. The next, take readings at dinner and bedtime. This will give you an idea of whether your blood sugar is rising or falling during the day.
You may start to notice certain trends — lower blood sugar after exercising, or higher blood sugar late in the day — that will help you and your doctor manage your diabetes better.