Best Time To Test For Blood Sugar After Eating
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What Causes High Morning Blood Sugars
Two main culprits prompt morning highs: the dawn phenomenon and waning insulin. A third, much rarer cause, known as the Somogyi effect, may also be to blame.
The occasional morning high will have little impact on your A1C, a measure of your average blood sugar levels over time that indicates how well managed your diabetes is. But if those highs become consistent, they could push your A1C up into dangerous territory.
How Can I Measure My Blood Sugar Levels
You can measure your blood glucose levels with a glucometer. First, you prick your finger with a small device called a lancet to get a drop of blood. Your blood goes on a test strip which you put into the glucometer. Then, the device tells you your blood sugar levels.
You can also use a continuous glucose monitoring device, which uses a sensor that’s placed under your skin to automatically check your levels every few minutes.
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The Best Time To Check Blood Glucose After A Meal
Diabetes affects more than 1 in 10 Americans, yet it can still feel like an unclear and complicated illness to manage. One of the best ways to better understand your diabetes is by regularly checking your blood glucose levels. But what makes your blood glucose levels change? And when is the best time to check it especially around mealtimes? Here we answer those questions and more.
Checking Your Blood Sugar
Your meals, medicine, and exercise all revolve around your blood sugar. So youâll need to test it regularly.
Your doctor will tell you how many times to do it each day. Itll depend on the kind of diabetes you have and how much insulin or other medicine youâre taking.
If youâre taking insulin several times a day, you may need to do a test before each meal and before you go to bed.
If youâre taking long-acting insulin, you may only need to test before breakfast and before dinner.
If youâre taking other medicine but not insulin, you may not need a test every day.
Keep extra-close watch on your blood sugar if you do vigorous exercise. Physical activity can affect your level for hours even the next day. You may need to check your blood sugar before, during, and after each workout.
Joslin Diabetes Center: âDiabetes and Scheduling: Starting a Routine,â âOral Diabetes Medications Summary Chart.â
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: âManaging Diabetes,â âDiabetes Diet, Eating, and Physical Activity.â
Kaiser Permanente: âWhat to Eat, How Much, and When,â âAction Plan for Healthy Eating.â
Mayo Clinic: âDiabetes management: How lifestyle, daily routine affect blood sugar,â âDiabetes,â âBlood sugar testing: Why, when and how.â
Food & Nutrition: âMeal Times and Diabetes: Whatâs the Connection?â
Medicare.gov: âYour Medicare Coverage: Nutrition therapy services .â
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New Day Time To Check
The best time to check blood sugar is in the morning, and in particular with morning blood sugar levels as it is a very important measurement for diabetics to evaluate each day. Although you shouldnt do it immediately after you wake up, but you do need to do it before you eat. The body needs some time get up to speed after it slows down while you sleep although it does come around quite quickly. 15 minutes should be fine for having you up to speed metabolically, so after that time check your blood sugar and then have breakfast.
Speaking of the most important meal of the day, there are options that can be better for people with diabetes. Even some of the foods that you might think are healthier choices are the types that can contribute to blood sugar levels being too high. Bran muffins are a great example. Theyre healthier for sure but a lot of the ingredients in the most delicious bran muffins molasses most notably can really spike morning blood sugar levels. Eating foods with these types of ingredients means it is recommended to cut back on carbs to compensate along with what is the best time to check blood sugar.
Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
The American Diabetes Association advises becoming familiar with responding to your symptoms of low glucose levels since every person is different. Common low blood sugar symptoms to keep an eye out for include:
A tingling or numb sensation in your tongue, lips, or cheeks
It is also possible for hypoglycemia symptoms to go unnoticed: This is Hypoglycemia unawareness. It prevents many people with diabetes from identifying the early signs of hypoglycemia, so theyre less likely to receive treatment in time.
Research suggests that older adults are at a higher risk of this complication than younger generations. Regular blood sugar testing is vital.
The only way to truly know if your glucose is low is to check your blood sugar never just assume. If you are struggling or unfamiliar with the process, consult your healthcare provider.
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How To Test Your Blood Sugar
Blood sugar vacillates throughout the day due to many factors, says Megan Wolf, a registered dietitian and diabetes care and education specialist at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. The preferred way to keep track of your blood sugar test results? Whatever works best for you. This may include journaling numbers into a logbook or typing blood sugar readings into an app, says Wolf. Try MySugr or OneTouch Reveal.
Regardless of whether you use a CGM, youll likely need to use a blood sugar meter to confirm that your CGM readings are accurate. Its important to follow your blood sugar meters instructions . Heres how the process generally works:
Gather all of your testing supplies. That includes your glucometer, test strips, and lancet. Having everything in one place saves time and makes the process faster and easier.
Wash your hands with soap and water. Not only can it prevent infection, but it also prevents food residue or sugars on your skin from skewing the results, Palinski-Wade says.
Insert a new testing strip into your meter. Strips should be made for your specific glucometer and stored in a sealed container before use.
Use a needle or lancet to prick the side of your finger. Fingertip readings are more accurate than readings taken from the palm or forearm. Sticking the side of your fingertip will help you avoid sore spots.
Wait for the result. The meter screen will display your blood glucose result in a few seconds.
What Should Your Blood Sugar Be When You Wake Up
Whenever possible, aim to keep your glucose levels in range between 70 and 130 mg/dL in the morning before you eat breakfast, and between 70 and 180 mg/dL at other times. For some people, including older adults or pregnant women, a slightly looser or tighter glucose range might be best, and you should discuss with your healthcare provider what your goals may be.
Managing your glucose levels is key to preventing short and long-term complications. Though the occasional high blood glucose wont put you in immediate danger consistently high glucose levels over a long period of time are associated with complications of diabetes such as heart disease and stroke, chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, eye disease and more.
Additionally, high glucose levels especially in people with type 1 diabetes can put you in immediate danger. These high levels, if combined with high blood ketone levels, can cause diabetic ketoacidosis , a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when a person has high blood ketones and not enough insulin. Symptoms of DKA include shortness of breath, fruity-smelling breath, nausea and vomiting, confusion, or loss of consciousness.
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What Are The Recommended Targets For Blood Glucose Levels
Many people with diabetes aim to keep their blood glucose at these normal levels:
- Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL
- About 2 hours after a meal starts: less than 180 mg/dL
Talk with your health care team about the best target range for you. Be sure to tell your health care professional if your glucose levels often go above or below your target range.
/8the Right Way To Test Your Blood Sugar Levels
– Wash your hands and dry them properly with the help of a clean cotton towel .
– Do not put too little or too much blood on the test strip.
– Try to prick the side of the fingertip.
– Follow a consistent schedule to test your blood sugar levels.
Read here: Factors that can give you an inaccurate blood sugar reading
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Please consult your treating physician for more details.
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Blood Sugar In The Diagnosis Of Diabetes
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If You Start Stop Or Change Any Medications
Different medications can have an effect on your blood sugar, for example, steroids and anti-psychotic medications increase your blood sugar levels according to the American Diabetes Association. Several medications, such as beta-blockers, bactrim, MAO inhibitors, and metformin can cause low blood sugar according to MedLinePlus. Whenever you start, stop or change medication, it is a good idea to frequently test your blood sugar until you understand how the medication affects your glucose levels.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
Different people may feel low blood sugar levels differently. People with low blood sugar may:
- feel hungry or have hunger pains in their stomach
- feel shaky or like theyre trembling
- have a rapid heart rate
- feel sweaty or have cold, clammy skin
- have pale, gray skin color
- have a headache
- have seizures or convulsions
- lose consciousness
If you have diabetes, try to remember how your body reacts when your blood sugar levels are low. It may help you figure out when youre having a low blood sugar level more quickly the next time.
How To Reduce Blood Sugar
You can take steps to reach your blood sugar goals as soon as you find out that it is high. This is how to reduce blood sugar if you have a single high reading that may be dangerous:
- Ask your doctor what to do if you missed a dose of insulin or another diabetes medication
- Ask your doctor if your medication types and doses are still appropriate for you
- Drink water to dilute the sugar
- Exercise for 15 minutes
- Eat a small protein snack, such as a hard-boiled egg, ½ ounce of peanuts or pistachios or other nuts, ½ cup of beans, or ½ cup of plain yogurt or cottage cheese
If you have chronically high blood sugar in prediabetes or diabetes, you can follow this treatment plan:
- Exercise regularly, assuming your doctor approves it
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
- Eat a higher proportion of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruit
- Limit sugary foods and beverages, fried foods, refined starches, and processed and fatty red meats
- Beware of starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, which can spike your blood sugar. Check out our guide of which veggies to avoid!
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What Do My Results Mean
When you finish the blood sugar check, write down your results and note what factors may have affected them, such as food, activity, and stress. Take a close look at your blood glucose record to see if your level is too high or too low several days in a row at about the same time. If the same thing keeps happening, it might be time to change your diabetes care plan. Work with your doctor or diabetes educator to learn what your results mean for you. It can take time to make adjustments and get things just right. And do ask your doctor if you should report results out of a certain range right away by phone.
Keep in mind that blood glucose results often trigger strong feelings. Blood sugar numbers can leave you upset, confused, frustrated, angry, or down. Itâs easy to use the numbers to judge yourself. Remind yourself that tracking your blood sugar level is simply a way to know how well your diabetes care plan is working, and whether that plan may need to change.
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Recommended Target Blood Glucose Level Ranges
The NICE recommended target blood glucose levels are stated below for adults with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and children with type 1 diabetes.
In addition, the International Diabetes Federations target ranges for people without diabetes is stated.
The table provides general guidance. An individual target set by your healthcare team is the one you should aim for.
*The non-diabetic figures are provided for information but are not part of NICE guidelines.
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Foods That Fight Diabetes
Pritikin eating means focusing on whole foods that are naturally rich in fiber and naturally low in fats, sugars, and industrial refinement. Pritikin foods are vegetables, whole fruits , whole grains, legumes such as beans and peas, nonfat dairy foods, and moderate servings of lean meat such as fish, skinless chicken breast, and game meat like bison and venison.
How Can I Treat Low Blood Sugar
If youve had low blood sugar without feeling or noticing symptoms , you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low and treat it. Driving with low blood sugar can be dangerous, so be sure to check your blood sugar before you get behind the wheel.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry or have other symptoms, check your blood sugar. Even if you dont have symptoms but think you may have low blood sugar, check it. If your blood sugar is lower than 70 mg/dL, do one of the following immediately:
- Take four glucose tablets.
- Drink four ounces of fruit juice.
- Drink four ounces of regular soda, not diet soda.
- Eat four pieces of hard candy.
Wait for 15 minutes and then check your blood sugar again. Do one of the above treatments again until your blood sugar is 70 mg/dL or above and eat a snack if your next meal is an hour or more away. If you have problems with low blood sugar, ask your doctor if your treatment plan needs to be changed.
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Levels In The Morning
The best time to check blood sugar levels in the morning is right when you wake up and before you eat anything. This gives you a glimpse of what may be happening overnight, and it gives you a baseline for the day.
These are goal levels, according to The Joslin Diabetes Center:
- Under 70 mg/dl if you do not have diabetes.
- 70 to 130 mg/dl if you have diabetes.
The dawn effect can often lead to a high morning measurement in diabetes. This is your bodys tendency to get ready for the day by raising blood sugar by increasing levels of counter-regulatory hormones the ones that counteract insulin as in normal blood sugar. For people with diabetes, you do not have the capacity to counterbalance this rise in blood sugar, so levels can be dangerously high.
Ways to lower your morning blood sugar value include:
- Eating dinner earlier
- Checking your medications making sure you are taking them properly and asking your doctor if they are correct
- Going for a walk after dinner
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