Knowing your blood glucose levels is the first step towards your glucose level control. Blood glucose levels keep changing as one goes through their daily routine. Your diet, activity level, emotional and physical stress level and the medication you are under – impact your glucose levels.

Given that the objective is to maintain the blood glucose (blood sugar) levels within acceptable limits – knowing one’s actual levels is a key information. This information can help you make decisions about diet, activities, and medications on a day-to-day basis. Keeping the blood glucose ‘in check’, in a target range, helps prevent some potentially serious health issues that can come with diabetes.

Why is monitoring blood glucose level important?

While one can visit diagnostic labs from time to time, getting to know the impact different food items and intake quantities are having on their blood glucose levels requires testing several times a day – particularly when one is experimenting or adjusting with a new diet, exercise routine, or medication. In such a case, self-monitoring comes across as the most effective way to track blood glucose level. For instance, certain food items like plain white bread lead to high post-prandial glucose level whereas, taking 1 or 2 slices of a multi-grain, well toasted bread does not impact the blood sugar levels as much. Regular monitoring of your blood glucose level might also lead to early detection of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Other than the above listed factors, keeping a check on your blood glucose levels would ascertain whether a certain treatment is working out for you or not. Regular monitoring indicates whether you should continue with the present medication, diet, exercise regimen or switch to something else. 

How often do you require to check your blood glucose level?

Checking your blood glucose (sugar) level at different times throughout the day can be very useful and important – particularly, if there are any changes being made to your medication or lifestyle. Some of the most common times to check are – first thing in the morning (this is called a fasting blood glucose), hours after breakfast, just before lunch or supper and 2 hours after the start of the meal. Some people check at bedtime or even in the middle of the night, especially if they are concerned about their blood glucose level dropping, which may happen while they are asleep. When and how often you check your blood glucose (sugar) is a decision for you and your doctor to take – based on what you are going through. The more information you have, the more you will be able to figure out how food, activity, medications, illness and stress affect your numbers. You should check more often based on an increase or decrease in your activities, food intake, stress level, or if you are going through a change in treatment.

Remember - feeling okay does not necessarily mean your blood glucose (sugar) is in an acceptable range. The only way to know your blood glucose is to ‘test’.