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How to Test Your Blood Sugar at Home or On the Go

Checking your blood sugar levels is a big part of taking care of diabetes. There are different methods to check your blood sugar, based on your kind of diabetes, how you treat it, and what you like. Here is a short explanation of how to check your blood sugar in about 400 words:

  • The most usual way to check your blood sugar is using a tool called a blood sugar meter. This tool shows how much glucose is in a tiny drop of blood that you get by poking your finger with a small needle. You put the blood drop on a piece of paper and put it into the meter, which shows your blood sugar level on a screen. You can buy blood sugar meters and papers at your nearby drugstore or online.
  • Another way to check your blood sugar is using a tool called a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). This tool has a small sensor that you put under your skin, usually on your belly or arm, and a sender that sends information to a device or a phone app. The sensor checks the glucose level in the liquid between your cells (interstitial fluid) every few minutes and shows your blood sugar changes and patterns over time. You can also set sounds to warn you when your blood sugar is too high or too low. You need to match your CGM with a blood sugar meter at least once a day.
  • How often and when you check your blood sugar depends on your kind of diabetes, how you treat it, and what you want. Your healthcare person can tell you how often and when to check your blood sugar. In general, people with type 1 diabetes need to check their blood sugar more often than people with type 2 diabetes, especially if they use insulin. Some usual times to check your blood sugar are before and after eating, before and after moving, before sleeping, and sometimes during the night. You may also need to check your blood sugar more often if you are sick, worried, or have changed your habits or medicine.
  • The results of your blood sugar checking can help you and your healthcare person change your diabetes care plan and avoid or delay problems. You can use a notebook, an app, or a computer program to write down your blood sugar results and other things, such as food, activity, and medicine. This can help you see patterns and trends in your blood sugar levels and see how different things affect them. You can also share your blood sugar information with your healthcare person to get advice and help. The goal range for your blood sugar levels may be different depending on your age, health, and other things, but a common aim is to keep your blood sugar between 70 and 130 mg/dL before eating and below 180 mg/dL after eating¹².

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