Patients with diabetes need to try and keep their blood glucose (sugar) levels as close to the goal range as possible. It’s essential to monitor blood sugar levels regularly for several reasons, most notably to determine if your blood sugar level is too high or too low at any given time.

Testing frequently allows you to understand what causes your blood sugar levels to fluctuate. Another reason is to be aware of how your lifestyle and medications may affect your levels. Regular monitoring can also help you and your healthcare team determine if any medication changes need to be made.

The decisions are crucial to your care and can prevent diabetes complications like heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and amputation. The majority of blood sugar meters will allow you to save your reading results. You can also record your readings in a daily written record if you need to.

How to Check Your Levels

You can use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar when you are at home. These meters require you to take a blood sample onto a glucose strip. These meters are available at pharmacies, or you may get one directly from your diabetes counselor. Your counselor will also help you determine which meter is suitable for you.

Before using this type of meter, there are several things you will need to collect your sample and check your levels accurately. First, you will need to know how and where to collect a blood sample. You will also need lancets, which are devices that puncture your skin. You must know how to use and dispose of lancets properly. You will also need to determine the size of your blood sample required by your blood glucose meter. Not every meter takes the same type/size of blood glucose strips either.

Part of using your meter responsibly involves cleaning it, checking for accuracy, and knowing how to code your meter if needed. You also want to check the expiration date on all testing supplies regularly. Before collecting your sample, you should wash your hands thoroughly to remove any contaminants. Using the sides of your fingers is best since this is a less sensitive spot vs. the fingertips.

Female Hand Testing Blood Sugar Levels

Fortunately, finger prick meters are not the only option for diabetic patients. There are also flash glucose meters and continuous glucose meters. Flash glucose meters use sensors to measure your levels. A sensor is inserted right underneath your skin, usually in the arm. This meter also comes with a handheld scanner that you can move over your sensor to get your level reading.

A continuous glucose meter is another device that does not require a blood sample. It also uses a sensor that is placed under the skin. This monitor continuously displays blood sugar levels and provides alarms that alert low and high blood sugar and integrates with insulin pump devices.

One of the most popular continuous glucose meters is the Dexcom device. It is a small, wearable device that sends your glucose numbers to a smart device. This device will alert you if your levels start to get out of range.

How to Choose Your Monitoring System

To find the glucose monitoring system right for you, you first need to determine which is suitable for your specific needs. Always consider both the benefits and limitations of different devices and aim to find a system that meets your individual requirements and lifestyle.

There are three primary purposes for monitoring your glucose. The first is to ensure the safety of patients taking insulin or oral medications by detecting or preventing hypoglycemia. The second purpose is to help people with diabetes make decisions about their insulin dosage. The final objective is to determine how well your diet, medications, and activity are working to keep you in a healthy blood sugar level range.

How often diabetic patients must monitor their blood sugar levels depends on the type of diabetes. For example, people with type 1 diabetes who have severe low blood sugar or suffer from hypoglycemic unawareness would do best with a continuous glucose monitoring system. By using this consistent monitoring method, life-threatening emergencies like comas and seizures can be prevented through the alarms that provide early warnings. Also, these systems help patients spend more time within the target blood sugar range.

Flash glucose monitoring systems are offered to type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients. They have been shown to help patients decrease time spent in hypoglycemia. This monitoring system reveals patterns of glucose values and shows graphs of historical data, future data, and scan data.

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