Why Tracking Matters
Checking blood sugar and keeping track of the numbers is a very important part of a diabetes care plan. It can help lead to better management of type 1 diabetes.
Checking blood sugar
Checking blood sugar helps people with type 1 diabetes and their caregivers:
- Make good choices about what the person with diabetes should eat and how much physical activity they need
- Better understand how well their diabetes care plan is working
- Recognize and avoid low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and the health problems they can cause
- See changes in blood sugar levels throughout the day and better understand how physical activity, food, insulin, and stress can affect them
- Understand how to manage taking insulin on a daily basis
- Provide valuable information to the diabetes care team, so they can help make necessary adjustments to the care plan
How often should blood sugar be checked?
The health care provider and diabetes care team will determine when and how often blood sugar should be checked, based on the details and goals of the treatment plan. For instance, common goals for people with type 1 diabetes are to help:
- Keep blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible
- Prevent high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
To meet these goals, most people with type 1 diabetes will need to do several blood sugar checks per day, including:
- Before meals, to calculate mealtime doses
- Before bedtime, to protect against nighttime low blood sugar
- After meals, to periodically adjust future mealtime doses
- Before, during, and/or after exercise, to help avoid serious low blood sugar
People with type 1 diabetes may also need to check blood sugar at other times, depending on their treatment plans and individual needs. For example, those who are aiming for near-normal blood sugar levels, who have unexplained fasting high blood sugar, have just done intense physical activity, or who are ill may also need to check blood sugar in the middle of the night. Varying the testing times throughout the day can help people with type 1 diabetes learn more about their daily blood sugar patterns.
The Blood Sugar Tracker
Testing blood sugar regularly and keeping track of the times and results can help you and the diabetes care team see what makes the numbers go up and down. You can use a simple notebook and pencil to write down numbers and testing times. Then enter them online with the Blood Sugar Tracker, available when you sign up for Cornerstones4Care®. Make sure to read the instructions that came with the blood sugar meter you are using. Some keep a digital log of blood sugar readings that can be downloaded to a computer.