Blood Sugar Testing

Blood sugar testing is essential for all people with diabetes. Typically a person measures their own glucose level with a meter and strips at home. The goal is to reach a sugar level closest to the non-diabetic range as safely as possible. Testing is essential because the blood sugar level cannot be accurately determined by symptoms alone. See also, HbA1c.

For most people attempting to achieve good control, four or more tests a day are usually required. Readings should always be recorded, as well as the food or carbs are eaten and medications or insulin doses taken. This information received can then be used in adjust, insulin doses, medications, meal planning, and exercise to greatly improve blood sugar levels. Although testing can clarify unclear symptoms, the major reason to test is to improve your blood sugar results and to maintain excellent results once control targets are achieved.

Blood Glucose Level Targets:
Pre-meals 80-120 mg/dl
Post-meals–2 hours less than 180 mg/dl
Bedtime 100-140 mg/dl

How often should I test?

The frequency and timing of tests will vary depending on an individual’s therapy, goals, and resources. When any changes occur in food, exercise, medications, illness, or travel, more testing should occur.

  • Type 1: before meals and bedtime, 1-2 hours after meals and during the night as needed.
  • Type 2: before meals and/or bedtime, 1-2 hours after meals as needed.

Before you begin testing, have your health care provider show you the best techniques. When testing is sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions and these helpful suggestions:

  • Wash your hands (anything on your hands can change the reading).
  • Collect the amount of blood required.
  • Test again if reading seems incorrect. Use another meter to double-check.
  • Clean your meter as often as required.
  • Record and date/time your test results.

Here are some tips for accurate readings:

  • Be sure to match the code on the meter or the meter’s code chip with the code on the strip container.
  • Check the date on the strips for freshness.
  • Store strips so they don’t deteriorate (protect from heat, light, and humidity)
  • Check for low battery if results aren’t accurate

Be sure to keep a good record of all tests. Discuss blood glucose goal ranges with your health care provider. Discuss how and when to make changes to your diabetes care–food, exercise, medications, insulin doses. A hemoglobin A1c test is a simple lab test that shows the average blood sugar level for the past two to three months.