Tips for making blood glucose monitoring easier
Whether you check your blood glucose level once a week, once a day or 6 times a day, learning how to make checking easy and less painful may inspire you to monitor more often.
For people living with diabetes, the knowledge that you gain from checking your blood sugar is the key to staying in management of your health. It helps you make informed decisions about medicine, food and exercise. It helps you cope with the day-to-day demands of living with diabetes; you’ll feel better each day and you’ll lower your risk for future diabetes complications. Here are some tips for getting the best results possible.
A guide: when to check
The standard times to measure your blood sugar level include:
- Before breakfast (fasting)
- Before lunch/dinner
- Two hours after a meal
- Before bed
- Before and after rigorous exercise
- When you don’t feel well
Other events that could require more frequent measures:
- Changes to your routine while travelling
- Changing or adjusting your insulin or your medication
- When you’re experiencing either high or low blood sugar symptoms
- When you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- Before and after surgical procedures
- After dental procedures
- Times of stress
The best place to check your blood glucose
Wash and dry your hands before checking your blood glucose on the side of a fingertip. Alternate fingers and sides so that you don’t develop calluses, which could make it more difficult to get a good blood sample. You can also monitor on other parts of your body, like your forearm or your palm, if your healthcare professional agrees that checking from other sites is right for you.
Afraid of needles?
Does the sight of a needle cause you to feel anxious, nauseated, or faint? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, the stress of this phobia can interfere with your health, and your fears can give you what feels like a good reason to avoid your treatments or regular blood checks. Since avoiding your medicine is not an option, here are a few ways to get comfortable with needles.
- Ask your doctor or your pharmacist to show you the quickest, least painful way to lance your finger.
- Use a lancing device. The needles are especially thin and coated for easier lancing.
- If you’re getting blood drawn by a phlebotomist, let them know if technicians have had trouble finding a vein in the past.
Take care of your strips
Although Accu-Chek strips are easy to handle, you do need to take some care with them to get the most accurate result possible. Use a new lancet with every check-ins. The tip of a used needle can become dull or bent if used repeatedly. Make sure to keep them at room temperature (not too hot or too cold) and in their original container. The container cap should be sealed as much as possible to keep humidity from affecting the strips. They can expire as well. The strip container label will list the expiration date.
Discover what works and what doesn’t
Over days and weeks, compare your readings to previous ones. Make a note if you were ill, drank alcohol, experienced something stressful, or if you had just exercised, or anything that can affect your blood sugar.
On Accu-Chek's website, there are several and simple diabetes management tools that help you understand your blood sugar results. Try the Testing in Pairs tool. It can help you and your healthcare provider identify patterns for how things like stress, food or exercise affect your results. Bring these worksheets to your healthcare provider and discuss with them to make sure you are monitoring and treating correctly.
Diabetes Canada (n.d). Monitoring glycemic control. Retrieved from: https://guidelines.diabetes.ca/cpg/chapter9#sec2. Accessed August 4 2021.
Diabetes Canada (n.d). Targets for glycemic control. Retrieved from: https://guidelines.diabetes.ca/cpg/chapter8. Accessed August 4 2021.
Diabetes Québec (2018). Target blood glucose levels. Retrieved from: https://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/living-with-diabetes/care-and-treatment/sel.... Accessed August 4 2021.
Diabetes UK (2019). Blood glucose testing. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/blood-glucose/blood-glucose-testing.html. Accessed August 4 2021.
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