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When to Check Blood Sugar

Blood glucose monitoring is a way of life for the diabetic. When you are first diagnosed, it is very important that you get a glucometer as soon as possible.
How often should I check? At first, pretty much all the time. The only way to come to grips with your diabetes is to learn, as soon as possible, how well your medications are working and what effect various foods have on your blood sugar. If you are a Type 2 Diabetic, your doctor may only write a prescription for testing 2 times a day. I’d recommend more, at least at first. If you have to, pay cash for extra strips.
A good plan for someone recently diagnosed would be to check your blood glucose:

  1. First thing in the morning – Before you brush your teeth or have anything to drink, preferably.

  2. Two hours after you took your first bite of food for the day.

  3. Immediately before lunch.

  4. Two hours after your first bite of lunch

  5. Immediately before your evening meal

  6. Two hours after your first bite of your evening meal

  7. Last thing you do before you go to bed

Why test so much?
Testing before your meals will give you a baseline from which to judge how the food you eat affects your blood sugar. I’d recommend eating simple meals of only a few items at first. This will allow you to pinpoint which foods are creating the increase in blood glucose.
Testing 2 hours after your meal (called postprandial testing) will show you how your body is reacting to food.
Blood sugar spikes in everyone immediately after eating a meal, it’s the way we’re designed. In a normal person, insulin kicks in and delivers the glucose to your muscles and tissues, so after the immediate spike, blood glucose drops quickly. A normal person’s blood glucose might spike up to 180 (or even higher) an hour after a meal, but then falls quickly to under 140 at two hours. A second stage release of insulin “mops up” whatever is left and the normal person’s blood glucose falls back into a range of 80 to 120 (or so) after the meal.
A Type 2 diabetic will spike just like everyone else. In most Type 2′s, those who have a fully functioning pancreas, insulin will also be released to deliver all that glucose. Here’s where things go awry for the Type 2 Diabetic. Insulin resistance causes the insulin to struggle to deliver the glucose. Glucose remains in the bloodstream and levels will remain high for hours. In general, the higher the number of carbohydrates consumed, the greater the release of glucose and the higher your blood glucose will stay.
Testing prior to bed will give you a good baseline to determine what’s going on in your body overnight. Most people’s blood glucose will fall throughout the night or remain steady. Your body, specifically your liver, will attempt to produce glucose over the course of the evening to keep your blood sugar somewhat stable throughout the night.
Toward morning, our bodies tend to gear up just prior to waking. Hormones begin kicking in to prepare the body for the coming day. The liver will dump its store of glucose to get things started. That’s a normal process in most people.
Many Type 2 Diabetics will notice very high fasting (morning) blood glucose numbers. This is the result of the liver producing/dumping glucose into their system at some point in the night. Once again, the insulin resistance works against you, so that glucose remains hanging out in your bloodstream in the morning instead of feeding your body’s cells. This high morning, fasting blood glucose is referred to as the Dawn Phenomenon, and can be very frustrating.
Normally when you go to the doctor to have blood work done, they have you do it first thing in the morning in a fasted state. For many Type 2 Diabetics, fasting blood sugar is the last thing “to go”. An undiagnosed Type 2 Diabetic might have extremely high post meal numbers for years, but if their fasting blood glucose remains steady, they will go undiagnosed.
By following this testing schedule, you will begin to see patterns. I’d recommend charting your glucose numbers along with what you ate. This will allow you to see how various foods affect your blood sugar. Over time, you’ll learn which foods will cause unacceptable spikes and learn to avoid those things. Or, you will learn that a “little bit” of certain foods will be OK, but no more than that.
It’s a lot to track, it takes time, its an annoyance, and it’s very, very important that you take the time to do it. Everyone reacts differently to different kinds of foods. I could tell you what foods I have to avoid, but it might be very different from the list you come up with by testing your body’s reaction to foods.
Once you get a grip on your numbers and your diet, you can probably begin to scale back your testing. I pretty much always do a fasting (first thing in the morning) test. I’ll test again once or twice throughout the day, varying the tests from before and after meals, sometimes testing at lunch, sometimes before or after dinner and occassionally before bed.
Before you can scale back to this “old timer’s” schedule however, you have to put in the work and learn how food affects your blood glucose, and the only way to do that is to test, test, test and record the results.
Personally, I use the Life Scan One Touch Ultra 2 glucometer. Results are fast, accurate and the strips are easy to find. You can purchase one from Amazon below, or it may be covered by your medical insurance.
You can also order extra strips from for this meter from Amazon, which is handy if your doctor won’t write you a prescription for more than a couple of tests a day. I’ll order an extra box once a quarter or so just so I have extra on hand. ONE TOUCH Ultra Fast Draw Test Strips-100CT by Lifescan

Source: http://www.t2faq.com/type-2-diabetes/monitoring/when-to-check-blood-sugar.html »


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