One of the most crucial parts of diabetes management is regular blood glucose monitoring. Patients need to understand how their blood sugar is impacted so that they can treat their condition appropriately. If they can test their blood glucose regularly, patients will know when their levels are too high or low to be healthy. This can prevent potential emergencies.
Tracking their blood glucose levels over time can help patients understand the different ways that diabetes medication and other medicines, food, and exercise impact them. Thankfully, there are easy ways to engage in blood glucose monitoring, such as using a glucometer, otherwise called a blood glucose meter. Some blood sugar monitors even offer continuous glucose monitoring. Of course, patients should still understand certain elements of blood glucose monitoring first.
Establish A Routine
One of the best things to do for blood glucose monitoring is to establish a routine. This will help patients determine how many times they need to test their levels per day. Individuals can talk to their doctor about their exact plan, including the most important times to test their levels. Some common times for patients to check their blood glucose levels include while fasting, before going to bed, before meals, and after eating. Different patients will have different concerns and needs. Thus, the plan should be tailored to each patient's situation.
Once a patient's schedule is taken care of, they can integrate monitoring into their daily routine. There are different meters that have timers and alarms, so they will tell patients when it is time to test their blood glucose. Setting alarms makes it easier to remember to take measurements. This also makes it easier for individuals to eat their meals at the same time each day, which is another key aspect of controlling their blood glucose.
Keep Supplies Handy
Individuals need to keep their glucose meter and monitoring supplies with them wherever they go. Whether they are out with friends, at home, or in the office, patients should be able to test their blood glucose. Even if individuals do not expect that they will need to check their levels, it is still essential to have the supplies with them. Sometimes unexpected situations can come up. In addition, individuals may need to check if they are experiencing symptoms of high or low blood glucose.
There are several tools that patients will need to keep track of their blood glucose. One is the glucose meter itself, which measures the amount of sugar in the blood. Individuals will also need test strips. These allow the meter to read the patient's blood glucose levels. Lancets are needles patients use to prick their finger to take a drop of blood from it. Individuals should take measures to prevent potential infections as well. For instance, patients must ensure that they do not share their supplies with anyone else and always dispose of used supplies rather than reusing them.
Maintain A Journal
Patients may also want to maintain a journal to keep track of each blood glucose reading. This allows individuals to track fluctuations in their blood glucose over time. They will learn how their levels respond to new medications, different foods, and different periods of fasting. Some patients may use paper journals to write down and chart this information. Others may prefer to keep a digital log. Individuals can also download certain applications to track their blood glucose levels. Applications have the advantage of giving individuals real-time information about their average blood glucose, and some can generate insights over time.
If patients are monitoring the impact of different lifestyle choices, they can take down additional information with each reading. For example, individuals may write down when they are taking the test, when their last meal was, and what they ate. If patients have recently begun any new medication regimens, they can note when they took their last pill. The more information individuals write down, the easier it will be for them and their doctor to manage their condition. Specifically, it will be easier for patients to identify the causes of blood glucose spikes.
Vary Testing Times
Another vital piece of advice for blood glucose monitoring is for individuals to vary their testing times in addition to having an established routine. The set times, such as before and after meals, are helpful. However, there are also benefits to random tests throughout the day. Random tests let patients monitor how well they are managing their diabetes overall. The random tests will tell patients about the stability of their blood glucose throughout the day. Individuals should always adhere to their regular schedule, though they can vary the testing times outside that.
When individuals have diabetes, their glucose levels can change significantly throughout the day. The levels are even less stable in patients who have not yet gotten their disease under control. If patients take random tests throughout the day and find that their levels are in the proper range, they can be more confident that they are managing their condition. However, suppose they notice that there are significant differences in their blood glucose with their random tests. In that case, they may need to talk to their doctor about changing their plan.
Pay Attention To Testing Strips
The testing strips are one of the key components in glucose monitoring kits. These essential pieces of technology help turn a patient's blood sample into readable data. If they are not calibrated correctly, the patient's blood glucose monitoring device will get incorrect data measurements. This makes it especially important for individuals to pay attention to their testing strips. The strips expire after a certain amount of time, and an expired strip may not calibrate the data correctly.
Patients need to use the right strips to make sure that they are getting accurate readings for their log. Readings from expired strips may show potential problems that do not actually exist. Another important thing is for patients to make sure their strips are not stored in direct sunlight. They should be kept in a dry place that is free of moisture. Keeping them in a cool or room temperature area is best. Individuals must make sure they do not overheat, but do not expose them to freezing temperatures.