Monitoring Your Glucose Levels
Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose inside the body to use for fuel. When there is too much glucose circulating in the blood, you can develop a condition called diabetes. One way to manage your diabetes is to keep a close eye on your glucose levels, also known as your blood sugar levels.
It is important for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes sufferers to know their blood sugar levels throughout the day. With Type 1, the body may not produce any insulin to control the levels of sugar in the blood. With Type 2, what you eat may raise your blood sugar to a higher level than the insulin your pancreas produces can process it.
Your blood sugar number determines how well your body is processing glucose and will be an indication of how you feel throughout the day. At first, you will probably have to monitor your blood sugar levels several times until you get the hang of what your ideal glucose numbers should be.
Reasons to Monitor your Glucose Levels
There are several good reasons to monitor your blood sugar. Here are just a few:
Prevent hypoglycemia, low blood sugar
Prevent hyperglycemia, high blood sugar
Keep diabetes under control and avoid any complications
Prevent heart disease
Do those sound like good enough reasons to monitor your blood sugar? I see you’re nodding. So now we will talk about how to monitor your blood sugar.
Using a Glucose Meter
People with diabetes check their blood sugar with a device called a glucose meter. It uses a small sample of blood to assess your blood sugar at the moment. This is helpful before and after meals to help you know a) how long is too long to go between meals and b) if you are eating the right foods to control your sugar levels.
There are many different glucose meters on the market these days so read the instructions for each before using it. The sample of blood is obtained by the finger stick method. Many meters have a spring-loaded needle to make it easier to prick your finger. It may seem awkward the first few times until you get used to the process. Many people avoid getting sensitive fingertips by taking blood from the side of the finger.
Here?s a quick rundown of some important steps when using a meter:
1.Clean your hands with soap and water. Swab alcohol on the area of your finger that you will be sticking.
2.Carefully prick your finger with the needle. Gently massage your finger to get the drop of blood to form. You may want to warm your hands slightly before you test. This will make the blood flow easier.
3.Place the drop of blood on the end of the testing strip.
4.Turn on your meter and slide the test strip in, then wait for the device to calculate your glucose level.
5.Reapply alcohol on a cotton ball to your finger to clean up.
Recommended blood sugar levels vary depending on who you ask. As a general guide, optimum level before meals should be between 90 and 130mg/dl. After meals, it will rise a bit to about 180mg/dl. Blood sugar levels higher than that need to be evaluated and discussed with your doctor or dietitian. It could mean you are eating too many of the wrong carbohydrates, sugary foods, or processed foods.
Monitor your blood sugar levels in the proper manner so you have the information you need to keep your diabetes controlled. Your healthy diet, regular monitoring, and routine visits to your doctor will go a long way to fighting back against the effects and complications of diabetes.
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