There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Both types affect the way that the body regulates blood sugar. The body’s cells need glucose. Insulin helps glucose enter the cells. The bodies of people with Type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin, whereas the bodies of people with Type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin as they should, and later do not make enough insulin.
Both types can lead to chronically high blood sugar levels, which if not managed with food, exercise and blood glucose monitoring, can lead to symptoms such as urinating frequently, feeling very hungry and thirsty, feeling fatigued, and having cuts or sores that don’t heal properly. People with both types of diabetes can also experience irritability, mood swings, and unintentional weight loss.
For both types of diabetes, blood glucose monitoring is an important way of managingyour diabetes. You can test your blood sugar at home using a traditional blood sugar monitor or a continuous blood sugar monitor, like FreeStyle Libre. Blood glucose monitoring identifies whether blood glucose levels are high or low, monitors the effect of diabetes medication, and helps you understand how other factors such as illness or stress affect blood sugar levels.
How many times a day you should use your blood glucose monitor and when you should test depends on the type of diabetes you have, your medications, and your risk for having low blood glucose levels.
For Type 1 diabetes, it is recommended people use their blood sugar monitor to check every 4 hours at the least. If they are exercising or partaking in any activity that can fluctuate their blood pressure, they must check blood sugar levels more frequently. If you’re travelling, especially if you are driving, you should use your blood glucose monitor every 2 hours.
You should conduct blood glucose monitoring before breastfeeding and every hour if you are experiencing hypoglycemia episodes. Daily, you should use your blood sugar monitor before meals and snacks, before and after exercise, and before sleeping. If you’re ill, starting a new medication, or your daily routine has changed, you should use your blood sugar monitor even more often.
If you have Type 2 diabetes and take insulin to manage your diabetes, your doctor may prescribe using your blood glucose monitor several times a day. You should check before meals, 1-2 hours after a meal, at night before sleeping, and late at night/early in the morning if required. Although it’s inconvenient to check your glucose levels at 2 AM, checks are sometimes necessary to screen for hypoglycemia as it’s common to not feel the low blood sugar and sleep through a hypoglycemia event.
You should also use your blood glucose monitor during, and after exercise and beforedriving, and when blood glucose levels can be higher, such as after consuming alcohol or during an illness. If you are taking multiple daily insulin injections, testing is extremely important. If you manage Type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise alone, you may not need to test your blood glucose levels as often.
For both Type 1 and Type 2, testing your glucose levels will become easier if you have a continuous blood sugar monitor, as they allow you to check your glucose levels several times a day, as well as while eating, exercising, sleeping, showering, and swimming. Rather than prick yourself to test your glucose levels with a blood sugar monitor, you can simply take a painless scan and get your current glucose levels and more information with a continuous blood sugar monitor.
For more on blood glucose monitoring and continuous blood sugar monitor, check out our other blogs and website.