Monitoring Your Blood Glucose Level

Your blood glucose level (BGL) is affected by a number of things including exercise, physical activity, medications, stress, illness, alcohol and in particular the food you eat. Checking and recording your BGL regularly will help you to see and monitor the effect of a healthy diet and lifestyle choices. It will also assist your doctor and your diabetes care team to make decisions when changes to how your diabetes is managed, need to be made.

Checking your BGL will help you develop the confidence needed to look after your diabetes. Monitoring will also let you know immediately if your glucose level is too high (hyperglycaemia) or too low (hypoglycaemia). It is important to know what your glucose level is so you can make decisions about sick day management, exercise and whether you need to treat a low glucose level. Knowing your glucose levels will also be a big help when you ask your team about dose adjustment for insulin, your diabetes tablets, planning your meals and if and when your blood glucose targets aren’t being met.

Your doctor or diabetes educator will advise you of your target BGL and let you know how often you should be checking your level. The number of BGL checks you’ll be asked to do generally depends on your diabetes management and the medications you take. Most glucose monitors have an inbuilt memory that records your BGL as you do them; however, your team may still ask you to keep a manual record. It’s best to take your monitor as well as your record diary with you to your appointments for review.

The ideal times to check your BGL are fasting (before your first meal of the day) and no sooner than two hours after food. These times will give your team a good idea of how your medications are working and where to make adjustments if necessary. Sometimes you may be asked to check your BGL more often. This can be because your level of activity has changed or your routine has changed, for example, when you go travelling or on holiday, or if adjustments have been made to your medications, or if your levels are unpredictably high or low.

For further information on blood glucose monitoring contact your local team or call Diabetes NSW on 1300 342 238 and ask to speak to one of our Credentialed Diabetes Educators.

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