Monitoring blood glucose for the diabetic is a regularly-performed and essential ritual that involves measuring blood glucose (sugar) levels with a portable blood glucose meter.
A blood glucose meter is used with lancets, test strips and a logbook. A lancet is a small needle that is generally used to produce a drop of blood with a prick of the finger. Some monitors can be used with other parts of your body than your fingers.
After you've washed the area that is to be tested with soap and water, or after swabbing the area with alcohol, it's time for the lancet. A drop of blood goes on a test strip with a chemical which helps measure how much sugar or glucose is in your blood.
Insert your test strip into the glucose meter. You can read the digital number that will then appear on its monitor.
Desired numbers when using your blood glucose meter before meals fall between 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and 130 mg/dL. After eating, healthy blood sugar levels are under 180 mg/dL.
When your number is too low, your blood sugar is also too low. This is known as hypoglycemia. You'll know it's time to eat something. This may also affect the amount that you will be needing in your next dose of insulin.
When your number is too high, so is your blood glucose. This is called hyperglycemia. This lets you know that you need to take more insulin.
The frequency with which you should be testing your blood sugar levels will depend on how well-regulated your blood glucose levels are in general,. It will also depend on what type of medication you use.
During times of illness or extra stress, you may find this necessitates more frequent testing. If you are pregnant, you will need to check blood sugar levels more often as well.
Your logbook will help you keep track of when you've taken insulin and any other medications. You can record what food you've eaten, and your activity level for the day. Writing these things in your logbook on a regular basis will help you to recognize any patterns that have been playing a part in your need for insulin.