Self-testing your blood glucose levels is an important component to help you take charge of your diabetes.

What is blood sugar testing?

For use by known diabetics, a blood sugar (glucose) test tells you how much sugar is in your blood at the time it is tested. To determine how much glucose is in your blood, you can self-test using a blood glucose monitor (BGM). Testing your blood sugar with an accurate BGM can give you the information you’ll need to know if your meal plan, exercise schedule and medications are working to help you manage your diabetes.

How can blood sugar testing help me?

Self-testing can be an important component in helping you learn what makes your blood sugar too high or too low. When your blood sugar is maintained in a normal range, the risk of potentially developing diabetes-related problems with your heart, eyes, kidneys, brain, feet and nerves is lowered.

When should I test my blood sugar?

Your health care team will help you decide when to test your blood sugar and explain how to interpret the results. The number of tests you’ll need to conduct each day is different for everyone. Since things such as eating, exercise, medications and stress can affect your blood sugar, testing at different times during the day is a good idea. One approach to checking blood sugar levels that account for these different actions is called paired testing. The idea behind paired testing is to test your blood sugar before and after an event. It’s all about home experiments, each one lasting a few days in a row. Each experiment should focus on one specific action; for example, you can check how your favorite breakfast affects your blood sugar. The more you know about how daily actions affect your levels, the better you can take charge of your diabetes.

Shelby Foral, R.N., B.S.N., currently serves as a Scientific Affairs Liaison engaging key health care professionals, diabetes thought leaders and leading academic centers on the science and technology behind blood glucose and A1c monitoring. As a registered nurse, Foral specialized in rehabilitation of patients with head and spinal cord injuries, diabetes and stroke at Alegent Health System in Omaha, Neb., for nearly a decade. She graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center with a B.S. in Nursing.