How Often You Need to Test Your Blood Sugar - Sugar.Fit
Metabolic Health

How Often You Need to Test Your Blood Sugar

Diabetes management and care plan is a lifelong aspect that one would have to take care of. This is simply because diabetes is a lifelong condition. At present, there is no known cure for this condition and it can affect people at any age and stage in life. Earlier, type 2 diabetes was more common and individuals above the age of 45 with certain comorbidities or genetic factors were more likely to be affected by diabetes. However, in today’s times, with the level of unhealthy diet and lifestyle people exhibit, it is a condition that is not restricted by age.

Individuals as young as newborn babies are known to get diagnosed with diabetes. This is saddening to see as they would not have even had a chance at a lifestyle that many children get otherwise. The reasons why diabetes can affect a person can be plenty – at times, when T1D is in question, one may not even have a fair chance to fight it and prevent the onset. Since diabetes is an autoimmune condition, the unhealthy cells of the body end up attacking the healthy cells, resulting in the pancreas’ beta cells not being able to produce enough insulin molecules as the body requires. Another factor affecting the onset of diabetes could be a genetic predisposition towards it. In case a close member of the family has diabetes – type 1 or type 2, the others in the house have an increased likelihood of getting it.

Taking into account all of these aspects and the challenges that diabetes poses in a person’s life, it is also equally important to acknowledge how difficult life becomes after the diagnosis. Diabetes management involves the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Checking sugar levels
  • Updating insulin regularly
  • Changing the insulin pump patch
  • Changing the needles of the injection
  • Having a set of lancets to change before pricking to test the blood sugars on the glucometer
  • Keeping chocolates/sweet foods handy in case of lows
  • Always carrying the supplies everywhere
  • Regular blood tests and HbA1c check-ups

These are not even half of the things as along with these, there are so many more major and minor points that are not included in the list. 

How Often You Need to Test Your Blood Sugar

One of the biggest factors that will affect the overall well-being of a person with diabetes and the prevention of any other health-related complications would be keeping the blood sugar levels in check. One of the first questions that a doctor addresses would be how often should I check my blood sugar? Keeping the daily sugar levels in check would promise an overall control over the final HbA1c count which would help in mitigating any other health issues. 

It is as important to avoid severe and erratic bouts of high sugars as it is important to avoid lows. Therefore, one needs to keep their sugars in check by using different apparatus and instruments like a glucometer, CGM device, blood tests, urine analysis (if needed), etc.

Factors that determine the frequency of checking blood sugars

A sugar checking meter, or a glucometer, is a must-have in the life of a person with diabetes. Even when the person steps out of the house, this instrument becomes essential in the bag, it is even more important than cash! This is because the need to check one’s sugar levels can arise at any point. In case you are out of the house and are feeling shaky with a fast heartbeat, you need to know if you are low or high in the levels to be able to treat it accordingly. 

Several factors come into play when one has to keep their blood sugar levels in check. People can and need to check their levels technically twice or thrice a day. The initial guideline to how often should you test your blood sugar is:

  1. Pre breakfast (fasting)
  2. Post breakfast (2 hours)
  3. Pre lunch
  4. Post lunch (2 hours)
  5. Pre dinner 
  6. Post dinner (2 hours)
  7. 3 am sugars
  8. Random checks.

However, it would not be possible to keep a check on the levels every single day at all of these times unless one is wearing a CGM device with the reader on them. So, there are a few factors that one can consider to determine how often they should be using their glucometers

Medication 

In case you are on any medication that is known to cause some side effects like dehydration, low sugar, kidney-related issues, etc., you would have to make your testing more frequent. Why the sugar checking meter would have to be used more often in this scenario would be to avoid multiple lows and the concerns associated with that. As you may know, low sugars can cause severe distress to different organs in the body. Any medication, even insulin, that creates the possibility of this phenomenon should be prevented.

Changes

A diagnosis of diabetes can be a huge change in one’s life. In case your diagnosis is recent and you are going through a series of changes regarding every aspect of your lifestyle, that would dictate how often you check your sugars. Other changes like a new kind of diet, beginning regular exercises, new medication, a new routine – school or job, a weight gain or loss, etc should also be followed with more frequent tests until the change becomes more normal.

Blood sugar during a random test

About checking sugars on a regular, daily basis, if you are looking to understand how often I should check my blood sugar, that answer would depend on what the sugar level is during a random test during the day. For example, if your blood sugar is higher than 250 mg/dL or lower than 80 mg/dL at any point during the day, you need to ensure that you are checking your sugars after taking the correct steps to decrease or increase the sugars.

Affordability 

Not all diabetes-related supplies are covered by insurance. Many of these supplies that a person with diabetes would require daily – lancets, testing strips, glucometer, etc are not covered by insurance. Therefore, it may not always be possible for a person to afford the supplies in the abundance that they are required. However, this does not mean that you do not maintain a regular check on the sugars, it means that you plan the budget accordingly to be able to afford the supplies that are essential for your future health. 

Illnesses

Another factor that would affect the frequency of testing blood sugars would be if you have any illnesses on a particular day. Seemingly normal things like – sore throat, cold, cough, fever, menses (pre and during), etc, or even the more serious ones like – gastrointestinal difficulties, pneumonia, COVID-19, etc can affect the blood sugar levels in the body. Testing and diabetes management becomes even more vital on these sick days to avoid further diabetes-related complications along with the illness. 

Bottomline

How often to test your blood sugars can be a subjective matter for most people, however, there are a few factors that do affect the frequency of testing. Slowly, as you understand the symptoms your body depicts during phases of highs and lows, you will be better accustomed to understanding what your body needs. However, that may not be the accurate way of going about things. Make sure to test your blood sugar levels as often as you can with the glucometer or with a CGM to have an optimal level of blood glucose throughout the day. Give your body what it needs in terms of the best care

How Often Should You Check Blood Sugar

How often should a non diabetic check their blood sugar?

A person who has not been diagnosed with diabetes need not check their sugars daily. Every year a fasting sugar or HbA1c test, however, should be conducted. In case there are risk factors that increase the likelihood of a person developing diabetes, then these tests can be conducted twice a year. 

Should Pre Diabetics check blood sugar daily?

A person on the borderline of diabetes should check their sugar levels frequently to make sure that the levels do not rise more than they should. They can opt to check their sugar levels daily until the threat of the development of diabetes is not eliminated.

How often should A1C be checked?

For a person with diabetes, HbA1c should be checked once every three months. 

For a person with pre-diabetes, HbA1c can be tested twice a year

A non-diabetic individual can check this once or twice a year. 

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References

  • https://www.health.com/condition/type-2-diabetes/5-factors-that-affect-how-often-you-need-to-test-your-blood-sugar

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