Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


Be Blood Sugar Savvy


Here’s why and when you should monitor your blood glucose numbers on your own

Testing your blood sugar on your own using a home blood glucose monitor can be very informative. 

Why should I do self‐tests?

Self‐tests can help you learn how being active, having stress, taking medicine and eating food can make your blood sugar go up or down. They give you the facts you need to make wise choices as you go through the day. Keep a record of your results. Look for times when your blood sugar is often too high or too low. Talk about your results with your healthcare team at each visit. Ask what you can do when your sugar is out of your target range.

What is a good target range for my self‐tests?

Many people with diabetes aim to keep their blood sugar between 70 and 130 before meals. About 2 hours after a meal starts, they aim for less than 180. Your target ranges may be different if you are an older adult (over 65), have other health problems like heart disease, or your blood sugar often gets too low. Talk with your healthcare team about the best target range for you.

How often should I check my blood sugar?

Self‐tests are often done before meals, after meals, and at bedtime. People who take insulin need to check more often than those who do not take insulin. Discuss your self‐test schedule with your healthcare team.

Are there other numbers I need to know?

Yes, you need tests of your blood pressure and cholesterol (a blood fat). You and your healthcare team need to decide the best targets for these too. Keeping them in your target range can help lower your chances for having a heart attack or stroke.

How do I pay for these tests? 

Medicare and most insurance pay for the A1C, cholesterol, and some self‐test supplies. Check with your insurance plan or ask your healthcare team for help. 

For more on Medicare visit www.medicare.gov/health/diabetes.asp.

What is in it for me?

Finding the time to check your blood sugar can be a struggle. It is also hard when your sugar levels do not seem to match your efforts to manage your diabetes. Keep in mind that your self‐test and A1C results are numbers to help you, not to judge you. Many people find that self‐testing and using the results to manage their diabetes pays off. They are more able to take charge of their diabetes so that they can feel good today and stay healthy in the future.

Published on March 16, 2015. 

Source: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. April 23, 2014.

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