I am NOT a doctor, dietician or expert. Do I know everything there is to know about diabetes? Heck no, but I do know what it’s like to live with it.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
I’ve checked my blood sugar, now what?
As a follow up to my last post
about how the establishment is beginning to spout more realistic guidelines for
people with diabetes, I want to talk about blood sugar testing.No one enjoys poking their fingers and
bleeding.No one.However, just like watching what we eat and
adding more regular exercise to our day, checking our blood sugar levels at
different times of the day is an important step toward controlling our
I wrote here about why I test and it pretty
much covers it all.I still fail to
understand why people with diabetes don’t test!Denial?Fear?Economics?Part of the reason people with type 2 (who don’t use insulin) don’t test
is because they aren’t encouraged by their healthcare team to do so.Insurance companies (including Medicare) don’t
generally allow T2s to have test strips.Ludicrous!This has to
change.Studies have shown that checking
our blood sugar when we don’t use insulin doesn’t do any good.Instead of just railing about that, I looked
into the why of that statement.The
reason is because T2s often don’t do anything with the information they receive
from testing.If you test, and don’t
make changes in what you’re eating or how much you’re exercising, then your blood sugar will likely
not improve.Your diabetes will likely progress much faster.
The important thing to remember
when you’re dealing with a life with diabetes is that you do have some level of
control.Yes you do!YOU control what you eat.YOU control how much you move.YOU are in charge!Checking your blood sugar, and doing something with that
information, is a basic
tool for improving your health.USE IT!
Here are some basic things to
know about checking your blood sugar and what to do with the information.
·Checking your fasting blood sugar every morning will give your healthcare
provider valuable information about how your body is doing overnight. If your
numbers are consistently high, then a change in medication might be in order.
It will also give you information about how many carbs you can safely eat for
·Checking before and after certain meals will help you to understand how
your body is handling those foods.Check
before your first bite and then again approx. 90 minutes after your first bite.
“They” recommend checking 1-2 hours after eating.Everyone is different and you need to
determine for yourself when your peak sugar point is.Mine is 90 minutes.How do I know?Because I took the time long ago to test at
1, 1.5 and 2 hours after a few meals.Lots of pokes; worth the effort.
What should you do if your blood
sugar rises too high?You have several
options: Stop eating that food, reduce your portions or tweak the meal, ie: add
more protein and/or fat and reduce the carbs.
·Want a snack?If you check your
blood sugar level before snacking you can avoid serious spikes.Testing before snacking can help to guide you
to a better food option.Blood sugar
high?Drink water and munch on veggies/pickles/nuts.Blood sugar lower?Go ahead and have a few carbs if you want.
Do you have to test all the
time?Heck no.I test, on average, three times per day.I’ve been known to test 10 times in one day
but that’s only when things are out of whack and I’m trying to regain some
control.I’ve also had many days when my
fasting reading is the only one I do.
Now that you’re testing, be sure
to write down
your results.You need a record of your results to share
with your healthcare team and to remind you of what your body does in certain
situations.Personally, I have an Excel
spreadsheet that I use, because I’m a geek.Dates down the side, columns for fasting, breakfast/lunch/dinner, 1.5
hours after each meal and bedtime.Again, I don’t use them all every day.I also have a column for notes where I can explain something wonky.“I was sick”.“Today sucked.” “I don’t freakin care!!!!” "Dang, I'm good!" Stuff like that.You can use whatever works for you; paper and
pencil, computer or even a fancy tracker app on your smart phone.Whatever method you use, be sure there’s an
option to print out/email/show your doctor.
That’s about it.I cannot stress enough how important this
is.Testing can enable you to better
control your diabetes.Information is
essential.Don’t fly blind!Also remember that it’s just a number; a
number that can help you make informed decisions about your health.It isn’t a judgment or a “test”.It’s just a smart way for you to be in