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Blood glucose monitoring

If you take certain medication, having knowledge of your blood glucose levels is an integral part of having diabetes. It helps you understand what your blood glucose levels in your body are doing in response to food, exercise and other factors that affect blood glucose.

There are a few ways to check your blood glucose levels, these include flash glucose monitoring, continuous glucose monitoring or traditional finger prick checking. It depends on your diabetes and your therapy but if you are on insulin, checking will be part of your day to day routine.

What should my target range be?

These can vary depending on your diabetes and the advice given by your healthcare professional but as a general rule:1

Adults with Type 1 diabetes

  • when you wake up and before you have eaten: 5 to 7mmol/l
  • before meals at other times of the day: 4 to 7mmol/l

Adults with Type 2 diabetes:

  • before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
  • two hours after meals: less than 8.5mmol/l

How often should I be checking?

couple on bench

The amount of factors that affect blood glucose levels are endless- food, exercise, stress, medications, hormones, sleep, temperature etc, so it’s safe to say no day with diabetes is ever the same. This is why checking your blood glucose regularly is so important - knowing where you are within your target range and logging potential factors (e.g. restaurant meals) can help you decide what action to take.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provide advice and publish guidelines that make evidence-based recommendations on health topics, including diabetes. Download the NICE to Know leaflet to find out more about setting HbA1c targets, individualised care plans, and when self-monitoring is recommended.

For adults with Type 1 diabetes, checking your blood glucose is recommended at least four times a day, before each meal and before you go to bed. However, you may need to check up to ten times a day or more depending on your lifestyle, especially if:2

  • you are having issues meeting your personal HbA1c target
  • experiencing hypoglygaemia more frequently
  • taking part in sport, exercise or other physical activity
  • if you are ill or feel unwell
  • driving
  • planning a pregnancy, pregnant or breastfeeding

What are the benefits of checking?

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that self-monitoring of blood glucose levels can help to lower HbA1c levels for both people with Type 13 (on insulin) and Type 2 diabetes4. Finding a routine that works for you in line with your healthcare professional’s recommendations will help you get the most out of your diabetes care.

If you drive, there is a legal requirement for you to frequently check your blood glucose levels, to find out more visit our page on driving with diabetes.

Checking your blood glucose and having a range of data to work from, can also help you have better conversions with your healthcare professional about your diabetes and therapy.

What should I do with my blood glucose results?

testing blood glucose

Remember one blood glucose check in isolation will not tell you the whole story. Getting the results is one thing, but knowing what to do with them is key. Making the most of your data can help you to make better decisions, about your health, such as dietary choices and insulin doses.

Things you could look out for:

  • low blood sugars (below your target range)
  • high blood sugars before meals (above your target range)
  • high blood sugars after meals (above your target range)

Logging your activity, food intake and other factors may help you spot patterns and give you a good basis to have a conversation with your healthcare professional about your therapy and lifestyle.

What can I use to help monitor and log my diabetes data?

There are a few tools that you can use to help you establish a checking routine and spot patterns. Using a structured way of checking blood glucose (for example, seven times a day for three consecutive days) can help you reduce your HbA1c and have more meaningful conversations with your healthcare professional during your diabetes appointments.5 You can do this by checking before and after each meal, and once before going to bed.

checking blood glucose on mysugr

The mySugr app

The mySugr logbook will be your best companion to monitor, control and manage your diabetes. All of your medical information is on your smartphone and ready to be used! Stay in charge of your health, monitor your diet, manage your insulin intake, avoid hypers/hypos and have control of your health every day. You can also download and share reports with your Healthcare Professional. Find out more about mySugr.

Accu-Chek 360° View tool

If you prefer a paper tool, Accu-Chek 360° View allows you to record your carb/meal size, insulin, energy levels, any activity and your blood glucose over a period of three days to spot patterns. Find out more about Accu-Chek 360° View tool.

Accu-Chek Testing in Pairs tool

This simple paper tool helps you see changes in your blood glucose before and after a specific meal, exercise or other event. Use it for seven days to see how one thing in your daily routine affects your blood glucose. Find out more about Accu-Chek Testing in Pairs.

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  1. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/managing-your-diabetes/testing
  2. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng17
  3. Karter AJ, Parker MM, Moffet HH, Spence MM, Chan J, Ettner SL, et al. Longitudinal study of new and prevalent use of self-monitoring of blood glucose. Diabetes Care. 2006;29(8):1757-63.
  4. Sarol Jr J, Nicodemus Jr N, M Tan K, B Grava M. Self-monitoring of blood glucose as part of a multi-component therapy among non-insulin requiring type 2 diabetes patients: A meta-analysis (1966-2004)2005. 173-84 p.
  5. Lalic N, Tankova T, Amann-Zalan I. Use of structured self-monitoring of blood glucose improves glycaemic control in real-world clinical practice: findings from a multinational and retrospectively controlled trial. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology. 2013;7(1):285-6.