Many people diagnosed with diabetes ask, "Why should I check my blood sugars?" Then say, "I feel great; I know when my numbers are high or low." These words usually come from people that don't test their blood sugars at home.
I often compare blood sugar meters to speedometers. When I am driving along with traffic on the interstate and feel like I am driving the right speed. However, when I look down, I notice that the speed of the traffic I am in is not the speed limit but usually 10+ miles an hour higher that what I should be driving. If I get pulled over for speeding, the officer usually won't cut me a break for driving the speed that I thought felt right. This is much like your blood sugar testing. It's not until we are in our provider's office and get the results of the A1C that we are confronted with how we felt doesn't match with our 3 month average blood sugar, ie. our A1C. There are speed limits for a reason. Your blood sugar meter is your speedometer. It helps you stay aware of where you really are, within target range or not. Testing helps to prevent surprises at your provider appointments and keeps you healthy longer.
Test Your Blood Sugar Levels Even When You are Feeling Fine
Over time, it may feel like testing isn't useful because the numbers may seem to always the same. Diabetes is a progressive illness and over time it may be harder to control your A1C and you may require different medications or treatments than when you were first diagnosed. By staying in tune with your body and keeping blood sugars under control, you can prevent or slow the progression of your illness and prevent complications. If you notice that your blood sugars are changing - your blood sugars are higher or lower than the target range - call your provider. They may want to see you in the office or could even make changes to your medications over the phone. That way, you are preventing complications and making changes sooner than waiting for your next A1C result.
What Will Have the Greatest Effect on Your Blood Sugars?
Living a healthy lifestyle will have the greatest effect on your blood sugars. Eating healthy foods in the correct portions, exercising and moving your body more can have a faster effect in bringing your blood sugars to target range than most medications. Your provider is there to help cover the gap if your numbers remain high even with diet and exercise. Your provider can step in and provide the medication you need to gain control of your diabetes.
What Should Blood Sugar Levels be After Eating?
For most people, your blood sugar before meals should be between 80-130 and 1-2 hours after meals the range should be between 80-180. These numbers may be different for people based on their age or other physical issues. Talk with your provider about what your blood sugar range should be. You are in the drivers seat when it comes to managing your diabetes. Good luck! You can do this!
If you would like to set up an appointment with a Certified Diabetes Educator, meet our CDE team here.