Monitoring blood glucose
Regular monitoring is key to becoming your own diabetes expert.
WHAT DO BLOOD GLUCOSE METERS DO?
Like a speedometer helps you control your driving speed, blood glucose meters help you control your blood glucose. Blood glucose readings let you know what your blood glucose level is at the moment you take it. They help you understand how the food you eat, the activities you do and the medications you take affect your glucose level. A glucose meter is a small, portable machine that comes with a lancing device specially designed to draw a small sample of blood from your fingertip as painlessly as possible. Once you have a small drop of blood on your fingertip, you place it on a test strip, which is then inserted into and read by the meter.
There are many models of blood glucose meters available in Canada. Each model offers its own combination of features. It is helpful to discuss which meter is best for you with your diabetes educator or pharmacist.
Meters are usually obtained at retail pharmacies or diabetes education centres. If you are going to purchase a meter for the first time, ask for training from the pharmacist or diabetes educator. Call ahead and schedule an appointment to learn the best technique for accurate results.
Track your results
When you monitor your blood glucose levels, track them in a diary or blood glucose log. Talk with your diabetes team about interpreting your results. When looking at glucose readings, patterns and trends are important – not an occasional reading that is out of the ordinary.
With the information from your blood glucose patterns, adjustments to your food, activity or medications can be made to make sure you are achieving the healthiest glucose control as possible. Discuss your individual goals with your diabetes team. The target range for most individuals according to the Canadian Diabetes Association 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes, is noted at right.
Test your blood glucose at a variety of times during the day, both before and after meals. It is possible for your pre-breakfast glucose to be in the target range, and your two-hour post lunch reading to be high. Patterned glucose readings, such as several pre-supper readings in a week, provide a more complete picture than one individual reading. More frequent testing may be necessary if the blood glucose is not well controlled, if hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) occurs, or in situations such as travel, illness or exercise. Ask your educator which kind of monitoring will work best for you.